Baltimore Orioles: 2014 Season Grades – Catchers

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May 8, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (32) watches from the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A. . Catcher. Baltimore Orioles. MATT WIETERS

There is no doubt that Wieters has been in the first handful of outstanding defensive catchers in the game in recent years. He totally controlled the basepaths and beautifully handled the pitching staff.

But after watching his offensive production numbers drop year after year, one began to wonder if he was ever going to live up to the potential and expectations with which he arrived in Baltimore. Perhaps that was all too high and unrealistic. The big catcher did continue to hit at the top of the position relative to other MLB catchers in terms of home runs, but the dropping average and on-base percentage was becoming a legitimate concern.

And so it was such a heartening thing to see Wieters get off to a truly fantastic start on his season. Other than Nelson Cruz, Wieters was the Oriole most stroking the ball. But then came the disheartening news that the elbow pain he was experiencing was going to lead to ligament reconstructive surgery.

In only 26 games (22 as catcher and his final four at DH), Wieters batted .308 with five home runs, five doubles, and 18 RBIs. Truly he was on pace to have his best year ever.

The next question to be answered is if he can fully recover for 2015 in what will be his final season before free agency.

The grade of “A” reflects the excellence displayed for the games played. Honestly, the final grade should likely be an “incomplete.”