Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/3/12

How do you live up to nicknames that compare you to the reigning MVP, or better yet, to Jesus?

The short answer: you don't.

A year ago, Matt Wieters was considered a disappointment.

By July, he was an All-Star.

Now, in the first week of May 2012, with the Orioles near the top of the American League East, Wieters is being tabbed as the best catcher in baseball by many analysts.

Wieters went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI on Wednesday and called a near-perfect game behind the plate as Jake Arrieta pitched the Orioles past the Yankees for a series victory.

Wieters caught all three games, and the Orioles held the Yankees to only three runs in the series, the first time they've done that since Jim Palmer's rookie year in 1965.

"This is a tough place to come in and win a series," Wieters said. "But to be able to get two out of three is nice momentum going into Boston."

Joe Mauer with power.

Switch-hitting Jesus.

Those are two of the nicknames handed down to the 22-year-old prospect before debuting in 2009. It took until 2011, his second full season in the majors, for him to silence his doubters.

This year, there are no doubters.

Wieters, who turns 26 on May 21, is batting .303 with a team-best seven home runs and 17 RBI through 22 games. His .391 on-base percentage leads the Orioles, and his .618 slugging percentage is second only to left fielder Nolan Reimold.

After hitting .288 with nine home runs and 43 RBI in 96 games in 2009, he followed up with a .249 average, 11 home runs and 55 RBI in 130 games in 2010.

Wieters won a spot on the American League All-Star game in the midst of a break-out 2011, when he finished with a .262-22-68 line.

Three years into his career, Wieters is off to a roaring start with the bat. That was to be expected.

But while most were watching his batting average and power numbers in his first two years in the majors, Wieters was focused on the defensive side of the game.

It paid off.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder, who was clocked in the high-90s as a part-time closer with Georgia Tech, earned a Gold Glove in 2011 for his game calling and his ability to negate the opposition's best base stealers.

This year, his leadership behind the plate has been crucial for a young pitching staff that has been the highlight of the 2012 season.

Jake Arrieta was nearly unhittable in Wednesday's series-clinching victory in the Bronx. While Wieters was busy going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, he was also calling a magnificent game behind the plate against a veteran lineup in an offense-first bandbox of a ballpark.

"He continues to impress me," Arrieta told reporters afterward. "I've played with him since 2007, and he gets better and better every year, every day, it seems like. And he's really, really comfortable now in the big leagues."

Wieters isn't alone in leading the charge of young blood in Baltimore.

Nick Markakis remains a steady presence in right field and in the No. 3 slot in the order. Adam Jones is on another All-Star pace and has taken the reigns of the cleanup spot and doesn't seem willing to relent.

Then there are the pleasant surprises of talent undiscovered, such as left fielder Nolan Reimold and first baseman Chris Davis, who had break-out months in April.

But it all begins and ends with Wieters, who is the glue in the middle of the lineup.

As Arrieta told reporters Wednesday night: "The talent that he has, combined with his work ethic, his ability is off the charts."

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Giants owner: Signing Kaepernick would anger fans

Mike Trout to undergo MRI after suffering thumb injury

John Wall: Bench was cause of Wizards’ ‘downfall’

Arum says Pacquiao would fight McGregor if Mayweather won't

Aaron Judge hits first grand slam of his career

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

David Stern: Lakers could have had Chris Paul, GM panicked

Brandon Jacobs vows to 'expose' Jim Harbaugh, get him fired

Mike Zimmer won’t retire even if right eye goes blind

Kevin Love responds to Draymond Green’s ‘annihilation’ trash talk

Spike Lee deletes Instagram post saying Kaepernick signed with Seattle

Errol Spence is the real deal, takes down Kell Brook

Meet your Stanley Cup finalists: Nashville Predators

Getaway Day: There's a murderer's row in the NL West

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Meet your Stanley Cup finalists: Nashville Predators

Getaway Day: There's a murderer's row in the NL West

Journey to the Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker