Matt Wieters

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Matt Wieters
Matt Wieters (August 2009).jpg
Wieters as a rookie with the Orioles when he wore #15
Baltimore Orioles – No. 32
Catcher
Born: (1986-05-21) May 21, 1986 (age 28)
Goose Creek, South Carolina
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 29, 2009 for the Baltimore Orioles
Career statistics
(through July 15, 2014)
Batting average .257
Hits 630
Home runs 92
Runs batted in 346
Runs 283
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Matthew Richard "Matt" Wieters (born May 21, 1986) is an American professional baseball player. He plays as a catcher in Major League Baseball for the Baltimore Orioles. Wieters was drafted fifth overall in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft.[1] Wieters played college baseball for Georgia Tech, and his agent is Scott Boras.[2][3] Wieters is a tall athletic hitter, standing 6 feet 5 inches tall. His ability to hit for power from both sides of the plate has drawn comparisons to Jorge Posada and Jason Varitek.[4]

Early life[edit]

Wieters was born on May 21, 1986 in Goose Creek, South Carolina. He played high school baseball at Stratford High School in Goose Creek. He played under Coach John Chalus, where he and the Knights made it to the AAAA state championship series. Wieters' high school team also featured future Major League Baseball player Justin Smoak.

College[edit]

MattWietersClose.jpg

Wieters was a multi-talented star who earned numerous honors throughout his college career. He is one of just three players in Georgia Tech history to earn first-team All-America honors on at least two occasions.[5] He was named a first-team All-America by Rivals.com and first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference in 2007, first-team All-America by Baseball America and second-team All-ACC in 2006, and the ACC Rookie of the Year, Freshman All-America and first-team All-ACC in 2005.[citation needed]

A switch-hitting catcher who hits in the middle of the lineup, Wieters has a good eye at the plate and has great power to all fields.[5] Wieters finished his junior season ranked tied for sixth in the Yellow Jacket record books with 54 career doubles with 198 runs batted in along with 16 saves in his three years on the Flats. He also ranked 13th with a .359 career batting average and 418 total bases, tying for 16th with 35 home runs and 18th with 253 hits in his college career. He finished 2007 having played in 169 consecutive games.[5] Wieters served as Tech's primary closer for his first two years and as one of two closers his junior season.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Wieters was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles with the 5th overall pick of the 2007 amateur draft and signed a contract with a $6 million signing bonus on August 15, 2007.[3][6] That winter, he played for the Honolulu Sharks, hitting .283 in 31 games with one home run, 17 runs batted in, nine doubles, one triple, 44 total bases, and 12 walks.[citation needed]

Minor leagues[edit]

Going into the 2008 season, he was ranked 12th by Baseball America on their 2008 Top 100 Prospects List and was the highest ranked catcher on the list. He attended 2008 spring training with the Orioles, starting the season with their Class A affiliate the Frederick Keys. He gained a midseason promotion to the Double-A Bowie Baysox.

In 130 games for the Keys and Baysox, hit a combined .355 BA/.454 OBP/.600 SLG with 27 home runs and 91 RBI.[7] Wieters earned the 2008 Minor League Player of the Year honors from Baseball America.[8] According to Clay Davenport's measure EqA, Wieters had one of the single best seasons in recorded minor league history. His EqAs of .301 and .349 were the highest marks in their respective leagues in the last 40 years [9] (although this would later turn out to be partially a result of inflated league difficulty factors [10]).

Wieters made his Major League Baseball debut on May 29, 2009.

Wieters participated in the 2008 Arizona Fall League season, playing for the Surprise Rafters. He was also selected to play in the Fall League's Rising Stars game.[citation needed] Wieters hit .343 in 35 spring training at bats for the Orioles in 2009, but was sent down to Triple-A Norfolk to delay the start of his service time and extend the time until he becomes eligible for salary arbitration and free agency.[11]

He was named the No. 2 prospect in MiLB by Minor League News in the MLN FAB50 Baseball 2009 rankings.[citation needed]

Baltimore Orioles[edit]

Wieters played his first Major League game on Friday May 29, 2009, against the Detroit Tigers. Wieters' first major league hit came the next night, a triple, off of Detroit's Justin Verlander. Wieters hit his first career home run June 17, 2009 against the Mets, a two-run home run off of Mets starter Tim Redding. Wieters changed his jersey number after his rookie season from 15 to 32, which was what he wore in college at Georgia Tech.[citation needed]

Although Wieters disappointed some observers because of his difficulties handling the Baltimore pitching staff, he established himself as a solid defensive catcher in 2010, throwing out many runners, while also hitting for power and a fairly good average at the plate.[citation needed] Wieters earned a Fielding Bible Award and a Gold Glove in 2011 as the best defensive catcher in MLB, and American League, respectively.[12] He was also elected to the AL All-Star team that year. Wieters has such a good reputation defensively that most players are ridiculed for even attempting to steal against him, often in humiliating fashion such as Carl Crawford.

On April 16, 2012, Wieters helped the Orioles rally to beat the Chicago White Sox in 10 innings by hitting his first career grand slam. On May 29, Wieters was ejected for the first time in his career for arguing that two pitches thrown by Miguel Gonzalez were strikes, not balls, as ruled by home plate umpire Doug Eddings. The Orioles lost the game against the Blue Jays, 8–6.

On July 1, 2012, Wieters was selected to represent the Orioles in the All Star Game for the second consecutive year.[13] On October 30 it was announced that he had won his second consecutive Gold Glove.

On Opening Day, April 2, 2013, Wieters became the first Oriole to ever hit a home run against Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price, a two run shot in the top of the first. On April 18, Wieters helped to beat the Rays again by hitting a walk off grand slam in the bottom of the 10th. Wieters was the first Oriole to hit a walk off grand slam since Harold Baines in 1999.[14]

While Wieters did finish 2013 with a career-low batting average of .235, he also hit 22 home runs and a career-high 29 doubles, as well as leading all MLB hitters with 12 sacrifice flies.

On May 11, 2014, Wieters was hitting over .300 when an elbow injury of his throwing arm put him on the 15-day disabled list. He was still on the disabled list on June 11, when he was the leading American League catcher in the vote to determine the All Star Game starters. Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne reported that Wieters was unlikely to play in the All Star Game even if he won the vote.[15] On June 16, the Orioles announced that Wieters would undergo Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery the next day, ending his 2014 campaign.[16] The surgery was successful.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MLB.com 2007 Draft Tracker". MLB.com. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  2. ^ Kubatko, Roch (2007-06-07). "Boras might hear name called when O's draft 5th". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 2007-06-09. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c Ginsburg, David (2007-06-07). "Orioles Draft Georgia Tech Catcher With 5th Pick". wjz.com. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-06-09. 
  4. ^ Schlabach, Mark (2007-06-07). "GaTech's Wieters a rare talent in the MLB draft". ESPN. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  5. ^ a b c "Player Bio: Matt Wieters". RamblinWreck.com. Georgia Tech Athletic Association. Retrieved 2007-06-10. 
  6. ^ Kubatko, Roch (2007-06-08). "O's catch a good one in Wieters". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 2007-06-09. [dead link]
  7. ^ "2008 Batting statistics". minors.Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  8. ^ "Taking Flight". Baseball-America.com. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  9. ^ "The Best At Being Young And An Oriole". Baseball Prospectus.com. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  10. ^ "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?". Baseballprospectus.com. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  11. ^ Fantasy Implications of Matt Wieters Being Sent to Norfolk, fantasybaseball.fanhouse.com, 27 March 2009, accessed 28 April 2009.
  12. ^ "The 2011 Awards". The Fielding Bible. Archived from the original on November 1, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Orioles trio tabbed for AL All-Star squad", Ghiroli, Brittany, Sunday, July 1, 2012.
  14. ^ "Understanding the Value of Baltimore Orioles Catcher Matt Wieters", Michael, Josh, Wednesday, August 7, 2013.
  15. ^ [MASN network broadcast of Orioles versus Red Sox on June 9, 2014.]
  16. ^ Ghiroli, Brittany (June 16, 2014). "Wieters to have season-ending Tommy John surgery". mlb.com. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  17. ^ Encina, Eduardo A. (June 17, 2014). "After successful surgery, Matt Wieters to begin rehab 'right away'". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 

External links[edit]