After throwing out two more would-be base stealers Sunday against the Nationals, Matt Wieters now ranks second in the American League, throwing out 50 percent of runners.
He has caught 14-of-28 on the season, second only to Kelly Shoppach of Tampa Bay, who is at .538 nailing 7-of-13.
The AL average for a catcher is 29 percent. As team the Orioles have thrown out 42.4 percent, second in the league to Oakland.
O’s manager Buck Showalter knew going into the season he had a catcher with a strong and accurate arm. So the club has emphasized getting the ball quickly to the plate by its pitchers and not just in Baltimore.
“I think the pitchers have given him a chance,” Showalter said of Wieters and his caught stealing percentage. “When I first got here last year we had some issues with some of the times to the plate with some of our young guys. One of things we stressed in spring training with all our pitching coaches down below is you cannot send a guy up here with 1.6, 1.5 (seconds) to the plate.
“We have to evaluate can pitchers get their pitches to the plate in 1.3 or less. If you can’t, you can’t pitch up here consistently. We had a pitcher early in the year in Triple-A that came across 1.6, 1.7 to the plate. Can’t pitch up here, simple as that. If they give him (Wieters) a chance he’ll get some cheap outs.
“I won’t say cheap. That’s a breaking ball thrown in that situation (Sunday by Kevin Gregg) getting to the plate in 1.3 and Matty was 1.88 to second which is way above average. And accurate.
“Go out there and do it with full equipment on. I kind of chuckle sometimes where guys throw for scouts without full gear on.
“Matty has done a great job. I can’t imagine anyone catching at a higher level than he is,” Showalter said.
AL leaders in caught stealing percentage:
.538 - Kelly Shoppach of Tampa (7-for-13)
.500 - Matt Wieters of Orioles (14-for-28)
.474 - Kurt Suzuki of Oakland (18-for-38)
Best percentage caught stealing by team:
.463 - Oakland
.424 - Orioles
.421 - Texas