Matt Wieters' selection to next week’s All-Star Game was sweet, sweet redemption for the young catcher, who was labeled as one of the biggest busts in baseball history by Baseball Prospectus before the start of the season -- just his third in the major leagues. That claim was met with criticism in Birdland and beyond, and the Orioles backstop has proved that the rumors of his looming mediocrity were greatly exaggerated.
Baseball Prospectus’ belief at the time -- the writer’s name was Steven Goldman -- was that Wieters was never going to be a good enough hitter to live up to the hype that met him when he arrived in the major leagues. But his development behind the plate has been a revelation, and he has quickly transformed into one of baseball’s best defensive catchers. Wieters might not be hitting like Joe Mauer, but he has been no slouch at the plate. He is batting .262 with seven homers and 33 RBIs. He’s hitting .418 with runners in scoring position.
Wieters shouldn’t expect a written apology from the respected baseball publication -- Baseball Prospectus has some wiggle room if Wieters doesn’t become a superstar -- but it’s clear that Wieters will be no bust.
But Wieters was the best choice to represent the Orioles in the All-Star Game? That’s a tough call. Adam Jones had one heck of a first half at the plate and in center field, and J.J. Hardy’s numbers rank among the American League’s best at shortstop.
You can make a good argument for each of those players, but you can’t justify giving the last-place Orioles multiple All-Star spots unless they are slam-dunk selections, which they are not.
(Jones still has a shot at making it in the MLB Final Vote -- you can vote a bunch of times here -- but he is trailing White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko with two days left in the voting.)
Wieters certainly deserves this honor, and it probably won’t be his last All-Star Game, but if you feel like making a case for Jones or Hardy -- or maybe even Jim Johnson or Koji Uehara -- go ahead.
Your turn: Should Wieters have been the Orioles’ lone All-Star? If not Wieters, then which Orioles player was most deserving, or should the Orioles have gotten multiple representatives?