On Wednesday, before the Orioles' game against the Tigers, Buck Showalter said that Matt Wieters "impacts our game whether he gets a hit or not." While the O's catcher is putting up some numbers at the plate, (.385 batting average coming into Wednesday), it's obvious his work behind the plate is more valuable to the team.
It's early in the season, but Wieters' growth as a catcher is obvious. He's making some very gutsy calls more indicative of a veteran catcher than a player who has been in the big leagues less than two seasons.
In Wednesday's game against Detroit, Brad Bergesen was facing Austin Jackson at the plate. On a 3-2 count - a fastball count - Wieters laid down the signal for a breaking ball. The result was Jackson froze right in his cleats for a called strike three.
Those are the types of decisions Wieters is beginning to make, and make several times a game. Yes, we saw Bergesen go just 3 2/3 innings in tonight's game and yes, Josh Rupe gave up back-to-back homers to the Tigers in that same game. It's fair to say those performances were more lack of execution than poor pitch selection.
As far as Wieters is concerned, it goes without saying that every team wants offense out of its catcher. I believe Wieters will be the Orioles' first since catcher since Chris Hoiles to put up some legitimate numbers, but what do you as a fan put more stock in? Offense, or defense behind the plate?
Is it more important for Wieters to call great games and play great defense, or put up numbers swinging the stick?
My vote: Keep calling great games and throwing runners out. As Showalter said, it has more impact on the overall game.