16. Matt Wieters
Before writing nasty emails or comments explaining how absurd it is to include a two-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove catcher among the top 16 players in franchise history who didn’t live up to great expectations, take a trip down memory lane by visiting MattWietersFacts.com and exploring the Internet to find as much reading as you can on the Orioles catcher from 2008 through 2010.
The switch-hitting Wieters is an excellent defensive backstop with solid power and doesn’t qualify as a draft bust by any stretch of the imagination, but a .255 career average and .739 career OPS — almost 100 points lower than former Oriole Chris Hoiles’ .833 lifetime mark — doesn’t scream “Mauer with power” or “Piazza with better defense” as many so-called experts and fans proclaimed before the 2007 first-round pick had made his major league debut. Truthfully, his appearance on this list is the fault of everyone but Wieters himself as the hype quotient spiraled out of control with comparisons to Hall of Famer Johnny Bench and declarations from some baseball writers of him being the best catcher in baseball in the winter of 2009 — a few months before he debuted in Baltimore. Wieters’ arrival was the most-anticipated major league call-up since Bo Jackson, according to Joe Posnanski and Bill James.
To Wieters’ credit, scouting reports vastly underrated his defense despite failing to detect his weakness against right-handed pitching (a .244 career average), but the 27-year-old was the victim of the Internet age and bloated media coverage that created expectations that were all but impossible to meet. As he’s set to turn 28 in May and has seen his average and OPS dip in each of the last two years, it’s probably safe to say Wieters will never reach the great offensive potential once laid out for him but remains one of the better catchers in baseball. Once again, Wieters is a good player; he just isn’t the messiah he was hyped to be.
Continue to next page for No. 15