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."

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Yankees close to trading Aroldis Chapman

WATCH: Dontrelle Willis' great reaction to Giancarlo Stanton home run

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’


Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker