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 Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.
Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.
Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.