This is my first Fanpost, so please don't eat me alive.
My favorite thing to watch about the Orioles right now (there aren't too many to begin with) is watching the young players. We all know Matt Wieters isn't hitting too well, but I still enjoy seeing him at the plate, just knowing that he's a crucial part of this team's future. But I thought I noticed something: he's been playing a lot. The first time I noticed this was the first Sunday in the Orioles season, when Trembley still started him in a day game following a night game. But I wasn't sure if it was just me or if Wieters really was playing a lot for a catcher. Then Fangraphs answered that.
Fangraphs has a short paragraph on Wieters there, saying that it's a concern, but I wanted to say more for Orioles fans, as all this makes me wonder: Why exactly is Matt Wieters playing so much?
It's common knowledge that of all the position players, catchers need the most rest. Everybody knows how much wear the position has on a player's body. A catchers' need for rest is even higher when he's young, and even higher when he's tall. Wieters fits both categories. It's important that Wieters gets his at-bats, but the Orioles can't afford putting him behind the plate so much. As much as we all want to win, this year was never expected to be a competitive one for Baltimore. The Orioles need to find a balance between getting Wieters both the experience and rest he needs.
Look at those players again. As Fangraphs notes, Wieters is the youngest. The next youngest is Russell Martin. A few years ago Martin was one of the better hitting catchers in the Majors. The Dodgers overplayed him, and though we can't be sure this is the reason why, Martin has lost his power and is now in the lower half of catchers in terms of batting.
Wieters still hasn't developed into the hitter analysts think he's capable of becoming. He's not yet at the point Martin was at. Yes, playing him this much might not prevent him from becoming a good player. But playing him so much surely won't do any good for his career. It could shorten his career, or at least the time when he's in his prime. As I've said, the Orioles need to be more careful considering his size.
Playing Wieters so much would make more sense if the Orioles were contenders. But they aren't. Most expert opinions have predicted 2011 as the year the Birds are competitive again. That shows something, though: the Orioles could and should be contenders again. And Wieters is going to be a big part of that. So consider how much the Orioles have invested in Matt Wieters, and then consider the fact that right now the Orioles are a last place team with a manager almost surely on his way out. If you're like me, you might end up asking yourself this: What the hell is Dave Trembley doing?