Matt Wieters: Atlanta Braves’ Catching Solution in 2016?


The Atlanta Braves continue to struggle to find production from the catcher position, so could Matt Wieters be the answer for the team moving forward?

Two years ago, the Atlanta Braves signed A.J. Pierzynski through the 2015 season; although, they were trying to groom Christian Bethancourt to become their everyday starter. Christian Bethancourt struggles to hit big-league pitching, hitting a dismal .219 through 80 games at the top level. With A.J. Pierzynski set to become a free agent, could the Atlanta Braves look to Matt Wieters to fill the void?

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A.J. Pierzynski performed well this year, batting an even .300 through 113 games. However, Pierzynski is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Also, he will enter his age-40 season, thus making it likely that a one-year deal is in his future. There is a possibility that the Atlanta Braves sign him for one more season and platoon him with Christian Bethancourt, but John Hart could pursue an alternate route an go after the three-time All-Star Matt Wieters. 

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Matt Wieters, set to be a free agent after the 2015 season, has played seven years in the Major Leagues, accumulating three All-Star appearances, his latest coming in 2014. The past two season, Wieters has endured some injury-plagued seasons, totaling 99 games played. However, Wieters underwent Tommy John surgery in June of 2014, forcing him to miss the beginning of the 2015 season. So, hopefully, his injury riddled seasons are in the past.

Besides starting the 2015 season on the DL, Wieters never missed significant time during the season. If we look at Matt Wieters’ stats before the 2014 season, he notched three consecutive seasons of 20 plus home runs, showing that he can provide power to an Atlanta Braves’ lineup lacking in that department. Also, in 2011-2012, Wieters received All-Star nominations in each season, and he won the Gold Glove Award each season as well.

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With multiple All-Star Game nominations and Gold Glove Awards, Matt Wieters demonstrates the ability to contribute both on offense and defense. The Atlanta Braves have not had a stud catcher since Brian McCann departed to New York via free agency. Wieters’ defensive metrics compare to McCann’s; Wieters possesses a 32 percent caught stealing to McCann’s 26 percent. Wieters has great footwork behind the plate, and it shows with his high caught stealing percentage.

With Matt Wieters recent injury concerns, Wieters’ services could come at a discount. Aside from Tommy John surgery, Wieter’s injury history is pretty clean, so he should be able to shoulder the bulk of the work behind the plate. Christian Bethancourt could spell Matt Wieters behind the plate every fifth-day or so. Wieters likely will not sign cheap, but he could fill the void at catcher for the Atlanta Braves for years to come.

Next: Edwin Jackson: Option for Braves Bullpen in 2016?

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