St. Louis Cardinals: Who should be the starting catcher upon Yadi’s return?

jmagee
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 20: Matt Wieters #32 of the St. Louis Cardinals is congratulated by Third Base Coach Ron Warner #75 of the St. Louis Cardinals after hitting a home run in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 20, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated St. Louis 3-2. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 20: Matt Wieters #32 of the St. Louis Cardinals is congratulated by Third Base Coach Ron Warner #75 of the St. Louis Cardinals after hitting a home run in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 20, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated St. Louis 3-2. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

With Yadier Molina on his way back to the Majors after an extended IL stay, Matt Wieters has been great taking over as starting catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. Should Wieters stay at catcher or is it Molina’s spot regardless?

When the St. Louis Cardinals placed their beloved catcher Yadier Molina on the 10-Day Injured List with a thumb injury the day the second half started, there was a ton of worry throughout Cardinal nation.

This whole entire season, the Cardinals have been plagued with injuries; including big bat Marcell Ozuna and fireballer Jordan Hicks; as well as utilityman Jedd Gyorko. Backup catcher Matt Wieters, who was off to a rough start on the season, would have to step up and contribute in a very tight Wild Card race.

Over the offseason, the veteran catcher would hit the free-agent market after a solid season with the Nationals; but did not accumulate any interest from Major League ballclubs. A couple of weeks before Opening Day though; the Cardinals decided to snag Wieters to be their backup catcher for the 2019 season.

With Yadier Molina being the starting catcher and catching almost every single game, you’re not going to be getting much playing time. Wieters understood that and had to settle for a backup role, a role that he had never been in throughout his career.

More from St Louis Cardinals News

Matt Wieters has been a solid player throughout his career though. Back in 2007, Wieters was the fifth overall pick of the MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles out of Georgia Tech University. He was regarded as one of the best catchers in the class and had impressive pop for the position.

Wieters has been respectable during his tenure in the major leagues, sporting a lifetime .251 BA with 145 career home runs. He is also a 4-time All-Star and even has been a proven stud defensive catcher with two Gold Gloves to his name. So this isn’t just a guy that is coming out of nowhere.

With Molina starting his rehab assignment with the Memphis Redbirds; he could be back up in the Major Leagues very soon. Though a lot of fans are assuming that he will slide back into the starting catching role; Wieters hasn’t made it an easy decision for manager Mike Shildt.

Since Wieters has taken over at catcher for the Cardinals, he has already played a major role in the Cardinals recent hot streak; where they have been 14-6 since Molina was put on the IL. The Cardinals rotation has shown major improvements for the most part; with Wieters even making a few solid plays behind the dish. Where he has done the most damage so far though has been with his bat.

Since Molina went to the IL, Wieters has been putting up an All-Star caliber stat line, hitting .271/.321/.625 with a .946 OPS. Wieters even has five home runs to his name after the break, and it has only been 20 games so far. Wieters has also done a solid job throwing out runners, as he is 3-8 so far this season with a 47% clip; while the league average is about 28%.

Sure, Molina has an amazing track record that is even Cooperstown worthy; with nine All-Stars, nine Gold Glove awards, and even a Silver Slugger. He has cemented himself as one of the best defensive catchers of all time; but in the midst of a very rough season where he has a -0.1 WAR (compared to Wieters who has 1.0 WAR with significantly less playing time as well) it might be time to say that an undefeated father time has caught up to Molina.

Next. Reinforcements are arriving soon. dark

With all due respect to Molina, Wieters has done a fantastic job taking over for him, and with the way the Cardinals have been playing over the last few weeks, the Cardinals need to ride the “Wietermobile” during the stretch run.

facebooktwitterreddit