Colorado Rockies: Analyzing and Grading the 2016 Catchers
TONY WOLTERS: 2016 GRADE C+, fWAR 0.9
As one of the better story lines in the Rockies’ 2016 campaign, Tony Wolters surprised fans and the front office alike.
As a third round pick in the 2010 MLB draft by the Cleveland Indians, one could say that a lot was expected of Wolters, but that all changed when he was waived prior to 2016. Seeing potential, Wolters was claimed by Colorado but was an extreme longshot to make the Opening Day roster. Someone forgot to tell Tony that. During Spring Training, Wolters established himself as a force to be reckoned with.
Due to his impressive defensive acumen and his versatility to play the middle infield, Wolters made the Opening Day roster as the backup catcher. Despite not finding a feel for swing until July, Wolters ended 2016 with a .259/.327/.395 line. Adding to offensive numbers, Wolters stole four bases while posting a base running score of 2.0, which was third-best on the club.
Wolters lived up to the praise and expectations that his defense earned him during Spring Training. By throwing out 31% of base stealers (12 out of 39) and only allowing three passed balls, Wolters established himself as the clear-cut defensive choice at catcher. All this praise makes it seem like Wolters is better than a C+ player, but the reality is this.
Wolters is a warming case of an athlete who has been able to maximize his talent in an environment with very little expectations. Can he build on his success? Has he hit his peak? Was 2016 a fluke? There are simply too many unknowns to say Wolters is the permanent answer. Maybe he can surprise us all again.