Matt Wieters: Built To Last

By Alexander Hangland
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Imagine squatting in scorching temperatures while baseballs zoom your way at speeds well over 90 miles per hour. Or holding ground in front of the plate as a 200-pound base runner is heading your way for a full speed collision. Not to mention every pitch you have have to decide what pitch is going to work in a given situation, or decipher an arsenal of signals given by the pitching coach. That’s only one half of your day, because you also have to turn your focus to hitting. It’s one of the toughest positions to play in all of professional sports, a catcher at the Major League level.

One would imagine that going through grueling routines like the ones big league catchers go through day after day, they would be often injured or need quite a few off days. Well most of them do, unless you’re a catcher named Matt Wieters. Wieters has been a horse behind the dish for the Baltimore Orioles  since he was called up to the big team in 2009.

The 6’5 catcher has had over 500 plate appearances in the past three seasons and has improved his power numbers each season, including a career high 83 runs batted in last season. Wieters is also one of the best defensive catchers in the league, ranking first in put outs by a catcher last season and has won the last two American League Gold Glove awards at his position.

Most important is his durability. A players as valuable as Matt Wieters needs to be in the lineup as much as possible. The Orioles have certainly been fortunate to have this player on their team, as he also led all of Major League Baseball in games played as a catcher with 134. Manager Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles definitely have a key element returning for the 2013 season.

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