Matt Wieters is not omnipotent

Leave a comment

In the beginning Matt Wieters created the heavens and the Earth.

No, that’s not true. But if you listed to all of the hype since spring
you’d be forgiven for thinking so. It’s been years since a rookie has
been talked up as much as Wieters has been. Even his teammates contributed to the circus.

But a funny thing happened on the way to immortality: Wieters has proved human.

Twenty-one games into his big league career he’s at .243/.300/.405.
Yesterday he dropped a ball at home plate, turning a sure out into a
run for the Nationals. Overall, he’s thrown out just two of 15 base
stealers and has committed three errors in less than a month. As Dan
Connolly of the Baltimore Sun notes, Wieters isn’t even the best rookie on his team. In fact, he may not even be the second best:


The way things are going right now, Wieters (.234 average, two
homers, six RBIs) is not the Orioles’ best candidate for Rookie of the
Year. Outfielder Nolan Reimold (.286, 9 homers, 20 RBIs) is, with
pitcher Brad Bergesen (5-2, 3.76 ERA) also ahead of the backstop.

Connolly believes that Wieters will start hitting and playing better
defense soon. So do I, because the kid is just too good not to. But his
early struggles are an excellent reminder that baseball is a really
hard game with a learning curve to which almost no one is immune.

Not even deities.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

Getty Images
1 Comment

Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.

Twins’ top prospect Nick Burdi will undergo Tommy John surgery

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Twins’ right-hander Nick Burdi is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the team announced on Friday. Burdi made 14 appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before succumbing to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected to make his major league debut until mid-2018 at the earliest. A UCL tear doesn’t always require Tommy John surgery — less severe cases can be treated with platelet-rich plasma injections, for example — but Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told the press that surgery was unavoidable as Burdi had sustained a “full thickness tear” in his elbow.

Entering the 2016 season, Burdi was widely considered a top ten prospect in the Twins’ system. His exceptional velocity and potent fastball-slider combo made him a fearsome relief option as he came off of his first season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. During the 2016 season, however, the 24-year-old experienced a significant setback after a bone bruise cut his season short in late July. Prior to Friday’s diagnosis, he appeared to be staging an impressive comeback with the Chattanooga Lookouts this spring, decorating his efforts with a sparkling 0.53 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 over 17 innings.

It’s a tough break for the Twins, whose farm system was ranked 21st in the league by Baseball America. “Obviously he’s proven when he’s healthy he’s an absolute premium prospect, and the Twins are treating him that way,” Burdi’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “We just want to make sure everything we do ultimately leads to the goal of getting him back on the field as quickly as he can.”