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Try as he and the Rockies might, Wolters isn’t going to become Mike Piazza: a Hall of Fame, bat-first backstop isn’t his mold.
Hitting came in droves for Wolters in his breakout year in 2019. The power and exit velocity weren’t there, but the ball was finding green. The results have straightened out this year.
Among catchers with at least 50 plate appearances, Wolters ranks dead last in weighted on-base average (.209). His on-base percentage is second-to-last (.226) and his offensive fWAR is -7.2, three full points behind Mitch Garver who sits at 24th on the list.
Luckily, the numbers may be once again deceiving, albeit in the opposite direction.
Line drives are king. During the flyball revolution, launch angle has become the focus of many hitters. For a hitter like Wolters, who lacks the power of say, Joey Gallo, the flyball rates mean less. His line-drive rate is the best among all catchers – yes, even above that of J.T. Realmuto and Wilson Contreras.
Many of those same lineouts could turn to hits at a moment’s notice, likely raising Wolters’ hitting numbers across the board.
Putting together a solid, if unspectacular, season at the plate is all the Rockies need from Wolters on an annual basis. Catchers who can hit and field are the rarest combination in all of major league baseball.
For every team like the Phillies who have found a needle in a haystack in Realmuto, there are 15 other teams yet to find a solution.
The newly added designated hitter spot will keep Wolters hitting ninth for the foreseeable future. Every indication shows a small outburst is likely due for the backstop, and his value will elevate accordingly.