Can Matt Wieters make a push in this year's American League All-Star voting? Right now, Yankees catcher Russell Martin is winning the catcher's race, and despite only playing nine games this season, Joe Mauer of the Twins is right behind him.
Considering Wieters leads all of baseball in runners caught stealing (16) and is batting .512 with runners in scoring position, I tend to think he could at least pass a guy who has barely played all season.
I sat down with the Orioles catcher Tuesday at the Yard. Wieters was candid when I fired some rapid questions at him. The rule was he had to answer with his first instinct in one or two words. Here's an excerpt:
Q: On the O's staff who has the best stuff?
A: Jake Arrieta
Q: Who is mentally the toughest on the mound?
A: Brian Matusz
Q: In the heat of battle I'm glad ____ is on my team?
A: I'll go with Adam Jones. He's a guy who is a competitor at the top of his game.
Q: As a manager Buck Showalter is____?
Q: My best tool is my_____.
This is the year Wieters has pulled it all together, and he says the aspects of the game he takes the most pride in are his defense and leading the O's young pitching staff.
"I get a quicker joy throwing a runner out at second than hitting a home run," Wieters said. "Hitting home runs are accidental. They are things that just sort of happen. Throwing out a runner is something that you put a lot of work into being as quick and as accurate as you can.
"I know that you win World Series in this game because of your starting pitching and that's one thing I take a lot of pride in, is if we can get these starting pitchers to where they can be, then hopefully we can bring some championships to this city."
I personally really like Wieters. He is one of those rare athletes who remains grounded, and doesn't feel as if the Orioles are lucky to have him. If anything it's the other way around.
Whether Wieters makes the All Star game or not this year, the O's are finally getting some return on their first-round draft pick. His work ethic is proving dividends that will only multiply in years to come.
You can catch the full interview Thursday on MASN during the Mid Atlantic Sports Report at 5:30 p.m.