On Wednesday night in Houston, Matt Wieters homered for the first time since May 22. Despite a two-hit night, the Orioles catcher has struggled at the plate, hitting a cool .237/.298/.433. I often congratulate myself for my preseason predictions about Chris Davis and Manny Machado, but I should also point out that I expected 2013 to be Wieters’ break out year.
I swung and missed on that one like Wieters has against right handed pitching.
Perhaps it’s time to stop thinking Wieters will be that three or four hitter we expected him to be when he was drafted fifth overall in 2007. Maybe he won’t be Buster Posey after all.
Heading into Wednesday’s game, Wieters was 3 for his last 22 with no extra base-hits, three strikeouts and zero walks. He continues to hit poorly from the left side of the plate with a .214/.269/.393 slashline in 157 plate appearances compared to his .280/.351/.480 totals as a right handed batter.
Power pitchers (pitchers in the top third of the league in strikeouts plus walks) are dominating Wieters this season. He’s hitting .158/.205/.263 against them in 45 plate appearances. During his slump, we’ve seen Wieters roll over on pitches and hit weak ground balls in the infield. He’s hitting .040/.040/.053 in 76 plate appearances in which he’s hit balls to the infield. That’s no surprise given his speed — or lack thereof.
As with any hitter, patience at the plate is critical. He’s hitting .278/.458/.574 when ahead in the count compared to .213/.210/.311 when behind.
Wieters has hit into a bit of bad luck. His .077 BABIP over the last week and .243 on the season suggests that his overall numbers are bound to increase.