24-year old switch hitting Matt Wieters is going to be the starting catcher for the Orioles in 2011. While he made strides defensively the Orioles need him to pick up the pace with the bat in 2011. Wieters played in 130 games for the Orioles last season and he was 111 of 446 (.249 avg, .696 OPS) with 37 runs scored, 11 homers and 55 RBIs. The O’s are probably hoping for .270+ with 15 homers and 70 RBIs in 2011. Wieters is turning into a decent catcher behind the plate. In 126 games behind the plate last season he made 5 errors but only had 2 passed balls which is pretty solid. Wieters nailed 21 of 77 (27.3%) runners trying to steal against him and O’s pitchers had a 4.56 ERA with him behind the plate. At this point, Wieters’ defense is ahead of his offense but the Orioles hope it evens out more in 2011.
27-year old righty swinging catcher Craig Tatum had the reputation of being an all-field, no-hit type of catcher but the reverse was true for him last season. He played in 43 games for the Orioles last season and he was 32 of 114 (.281 avg, .665 OPS) with 11 runs scored, 0 homers and 9 RBIs. The O’s would be very happy if Tatum keeps that batting average about where it was in 2010. Tatum played 42 games behind the plate for the Orioles last season and he made 3 errors and had 1 passed ball. Pitchers’ liked throwing to him as they had a 4.55 ERA with him behind the plate which was a tad lower than Wieters. But, Tatum only nailed 2 of 29 (6.9%) runners trying to steal on him and that is awful.
28-year old righty swinging Jake Fox will likely be the #3 catcher for the Orioles in 2011, if he makes the team. Fox played in 77 games for the Orioles & A’s last season and he was 43 of 198 (.217 avg, .645 OPS) with 21 runs scored, 7 homers and 22 RBIs. He has good power and he’s pretty versatile in the field as he can also play 1B, 3B and the corner outfield. But, he’s still a poor defender pretty much everywhere he plays. He played in 19 games behind the plate last season and he made 1 error and had no passed balls. He threw out 2 of 9 (22.2%) runners trying to steal on him and O’s pitchers had a 4.99 ERA with him behind the plate.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE ORIOLES CATCHERS IN 2011: C+