Matt Wieters hasn’t lived up to the considerable hype offensively yet, hitting just .266 with 35 homers and a .734 OPS through 342 career games, but the former No. 5 overall pick has actually been even better than advertised defensively.
Wieters leads baseball by throwing out 40 percent of stolen base attempts, gunning down 26 runners while allowing a total of just 44 steals in 950 innings behind the plate. And in three seasons his throw-out percentage has risen from 24 to 31 to 40.
After yesterday’s game, in which Wieters homered and also threw out a base-stealer in extra innings, manager Buck Showalter told Matt Vensel of the Baltimore Sun that “if the Gold Glove doesn’t go Wieters’ way, then somebody ain’t watching.”
And there’s a pretty good chance it will. Joe Mauer has won each of the AL’s past three Gold Gloves at catcher, but he’s been injured and ineffective while seeing significant time at first base this season. And not only does Wieters lead the league with a 40 percent throw-out rate, Alex Avila of the Tigers is the only other catcher above 30 percent.
The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.
The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.
Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.
The matchups for Tuesday’s action:
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.
Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.
The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.