David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Although it is only November and Orioles fans are more concerned about buying the turkeys and vegetables for their Thanksgiving meals than they are about baseball season, the Orioles organization is making moves early in this offseason.
Just this past week, the Orioles have added pitchers Edgmer Escalona, Tim Berry and Eddie Gamboa to the 40 man roster. In addition to this much-needed, added depth in the bullpen, the team has also brought up catcher Michael Olhman to the team. The team now has 36 spots filled on their 40 man roster. This last addition has raised eyebrows of Orioles fans and now has people asking the question: Is Wieters’ time up in Baltimore?
Matt Wieters has been a part of the Orioles organization since 2009. And since then he has proven to be one of the best defensive catchers in the game of baseball. Winning two Gold Gloves and being selected to the American League All Star Team twice can attest to that fact. However with this being said, his batting average has been depleting with each year and this past season he hit his career low, rounding out the year with a .235 batting average.
Although his defensive efforts are impeccable, what the team needs most is a catcher who can hit and hit consistently. Especially in the lower part of the lineup where this past season it was made obvious that the hitting was somewhat lacking, the Orioles need someone who can step in the batter’s box and deliver a hit to drive in players like Machado, Davis, and Jones when they are on base.
Olhman, although he may not be the most popular choice, deserves a chance to compete for the starting catcher position. Hitting for a .313 batting average in just 100 games with the Frederick Keys in 2013, he shows he can be that consistent hitter for the Orioles. Olhman won the Carolina League batting title and proved he can drive in runs with 53 RBIs as well.
This young player has risen in the ranks as far as players to watch out for in the Orioles’ farm system with the stellar performance in 2013 and in the 2014 season, he will have his chance to compete for the starting catcher position for the Baltimore Orioles.
I do not believe it is time to say goodbye to Wieters just yet because he does exhibit leadership within the clubhouse and that sort of thing is vital especially with such a young ball club as the Orioles. Still, this might as very well be his make or break year and if he does not show strong signs of improvement during spring training, look for Olhman to be the guy behind the plate calling the signs for the O’s this upcoming season.
Olhman may not be the fan favorite just yet, but exhibiting his ability to score runners and get on base will make him the favorite in this upcoming season.