FanPost

Will Wieters stick at catcher?



I know this is a SSS situation, but Baseball Tonight did an 'in-depth" analysis of Weiters D last night - specifically his fundamentals during steal attempts. What they showed was shockingly bad.

First, he stands up straight, then he moves his feet and cocks his arm, then he throws. The whole thing takes an amazing amount of time. They did a side-by-side comparison with Ivan Rodriguez. You could see how Pudge starts to shift his feet and weight while the pitch is still coming to him. By the time he catches the ball, his feet are almost fully set in the throwing position, so he can quickly stride forward and get the throw off with power behind it. And, as all good catchers do, he never fully stands up until after he releases the ball. I know that Pudge has a million Gold Gloves, so this isn't a totally fair comparison, but I've seen better form in most college catchers than Weiters exhibits. I also noticed that he's so tall and stiff that he has trouble getting down into a deep squat position in general. I looked up his stats and he has only thrown out 11% of his runners (2 out of 18) in 22 games. As the BT analyst said, teams are really going to start running wild on him when the word gets around.

BTW, he's not tearing up the league in his first 81 ABs. Yes I know this is a very SSS, but he has been rated the #1 prospect in all of baseball for the past 12 months. His .235/.287/.383 (avg/obp/slg) line makes Burriss and Ishikawa look quite good in comparison - and Benji look like a HOFer. I have no doubt his hitting will come around, but I'm wondering if they'll eventually have to move him to 1B because of his D? He is 6'5" - which is very much on the tall side for a catcher, but perfect for 1B. At the very least, it appears that the O's brought him up much too quickly. Those basic defensive fundamentals appear to me to be something that can only truly be straightened out in the minors, if ever. I have a strong feeling he won't be a starting catcher in a few years. If he has to move this makes his offensive numbers not as big as an advantage as they would be at catcher, and he'll have a hard time even breaking into the AL All-Star lineup with all the young studs they have at 1B.

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