NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Matt Wieters’ batting average may not have sky-rocketed a season ago, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter doesn’t want to hear it.
“I actually thought he had a good year, (but I guess) it depends on what stats you choose to look at,” said Showalter on Saturday before his Orioles met the Tides for a spring exhibition.
Wieters, who played in 39 games for the Norfolk Tides in 2009, only batted .235 in 2013 and struck out 104 times, but Showalter says Wieters value as a catcher goes far beyond his power at the plate. “Matt probably caught as well as any catcher in baseball last year.
“He has over four at-bats a night, and makes over 450 decisions behind the plate every night. I’ll take that math,” said Showatler. Wieters will take the numbers he’s shown in the spring so far. Wieters, heading into his fifth season with Baltimore, is batting .313 over Spring training and has only struck out three times.
Playing against his former minor league club Tides on Saturday, Wieters showed how much power he can produce, belting a home run over the right field wall into the bull pen and giving the Orioles a 3-0 lead in the second inning.
Baltimore eventually won a rain-shortened, 6-inning affair 4-3.
The Orioles will open up their season Mar. 31 against the reigning World Series champion Boston Red Sox.