The Best Catcher In The AL East
Today, we had a caller on “Sound-off with Sinkoff” ask who I thought the best catcher in the American League East was.
Although I might seem like a homer, I’m going with the Orioles’ Matt Wieters.
The “can’t miss kid” was labelled as “Joe Mauer with power” when he came up a couple of years ago. As a rookie in 2009, he hit .288 with 9 HR’s and 43 RBI’s in just 96 games. Expectations were extrememly high as he headed into the 2010 campaign.
But after a down year (his first full season in the Big Leagues), most people have jumped off the Wieters bandwagon. There’s reason for that – as he hit just .249 with 11 HR and 55 RBI in 130 games last season.
But I firmly believe that Wieters is the real deal. Keep in mind, expectations were unrealistic early on. A 23-year old was essentially labelled as a savior of a franchise that hasn’t been to the MLB playoffs since 1997. What most people fail to realize is that he had virtually no protection in a lineup that had problems scoring runs last season. Because of that, his numbers suffered.
This year, Wieters will likely be the Orioles #8 hitter. He’ll have lots of protection in a revamped line-up. With the addition of Mark Reynolds (32 HR’s in 2010), Derrick Lee (19 HR’s in ’10), Vladimir Guerrero (29 HR’s last year) and JJ Hardy (a lifetime .270 hitter) – to go along with guys like Luke Scott (27 HR in ’10) and a rejuvenated Nick Markakis – the Baltimore catcher isn’t expected to shoulder the load.
Throw in the fact he’s a great defensive catcher already and this could be the year of Wieters.