Matt Wieters Stepping Up
By Mike Franz
Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Tonight the Orioles square off against the Blue Jays in Baltimore’s second home series of the season. The Orioles look to extend this winning streak they are on to three games, and, in the process, climb up the standings of the American League East. To say that the Orioles’ bats came around this past series against New York would be an understatement.
Although it was nice seeing players like Flaherty and Schoop start to find their swing and make solid contact with the ball, there was one player who has been extraordinarily consistent at the plate this year: Matt Wieters. Not only has he recorded a hit in the eight games he played so far this season, but he has also hit with power. He is currently tied with Nelson Cruz for the most home runs (2) on the Orioles’ roster.
Going into the season, I admittedly had my doubts about Wieters’ ability to hit with consistency. I, along with many other critics, thought he was a player who would bat somewhere around .230-.240 with over 100 strikeouts and about 20 round-trippers. His numbers this year “tell a different story.”
Going into the game tonight, he is leading the team in hits (11) and RBIs (6). He also has the third highest batting average (.367) and on base percentage (.394) behind Delmon Young and Steve Clevenger who played four games and three games, respectively.
His defensive numbers speak for themselves. With a 1.000 fielding percentage and only allowing three stolen bases, he is certainly one of the most important players the Orioles have when the team goes onto the field to play defense. This is definitely the year that Wieters will have to prove himself to Showalter, Duquette, and fans themselves. So far, he is doing an excellent job with this and time will tell if he can keep these numbers up.