Matt Wieters: The Latest Victim Of The Tommy John Epidemic
Another victim has fallen due to the Tommy John epidemic, although this casualty is not of the same variety as the others. Unlike the recent barrage of young power pitchers going under the knife for Tommy John surgery, now Baltimore Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters will undergo the procedure and miss the remainder of the 2014 season.
While Matt Wieters is always a defensive stud behind the plate, he is also a strong middle of the order bat. At the time of the injury, he was slashing .308/.339/.500 with 5 home runs and 18 RBI’s in 26 games. The Orioles’ pitchers will definitely miss Wieters great game management and leadership from behind the dish.
In his stead, recently acquired from the Padres, Nick Hundley will take over the starting gig with Caleb Joseph backing him up. As both Hundley and Joseph are very good defensive catchers, the Orioles will not lose anything on that front. The two catchers have only one error between the two on the season. The area of concern for these two catchers is their lack of skill with the lumber. On the season, Hundley and Joseph are hitting .147 and .131 respectively. Hundley is a career .237 hitter in the major leagues, while Joseph, a rookie, hit .268 over the course of his minor league career.
While this duo does not exude confidence on the offensive side of the ball, they are more then capable of controlling the pitching staff and playing solid defence behind the plate. With other big bats such as Nelson Cruz and Chris ‘Crush’ Davis in the lineup, they will not be expected to carry the team offensively anyways.
Sitting only 3.5 games back of the first place Toronto Blue Jays, the injury to Matt Wieters certainly hampers their chances, but certainly does not remove them from the race. Should the Orioles still be within striking distance of the division lead come July 1st, expect them to be buyers and make a run for the division title.