Few Oriole debuts in recent years have been more highly touted than that of Matt Wieters. From the day he was drafted out of Georgia Tech to the Sports Illustrated coverwhere writer Tom Verducci dubbed him “the next [Joe] Mauer,” visions of Hall of Fame talent has been dancing in the collective heads of Oriole Township.
Obviously Wieters has yet to reach Mauer level, or that of Brian McCann, who is 1A to Mauer’s #1 on the list of elite catchers in the game today. But can it be fairly said that he’s on his way? That is, has Wieters performed substantially the same as the M&M Boys of his position did at this point in their careers?
In a word: nope.
Through parts of 3 seasons (271 games, as of this writing), Wieters has posted a 95 OPS+. It is only that high because in 45 games this year, his OPS+ is an excellent 105.
At comparable points in their careers, McCann (112 OPS+) and Mauer (129 OPS+) were better. He’s closer to McCann levels than Mauer, but we can’t go too far in that comparison because the games played do not line up precisely, and also because McCann debuted about two years earlier than college boy Wieters.
All of this isn’t to say that Wieters isn’t on his way to becoming an elite catcher in Major League Baseball. I happen to think that he is, particularly given how fine of a start he’s off to this year. But for the forseeable future, it looks like he’s playing for third place, and there’s no shame in that when the two gents ahead of you are potential Hall of Famers.