AVG PROJECTION: .248-.251 OBP PROJECTION: .301-.307 SLG PROJECTION: .410-.411 WAR ESTIMATE: 1.1-1.8
All three models see an increase in batting average from last year’s .243 with the Baltimore Orioles. ZiPS has his on-base percentage a hair lower than last down one point to .301, but Depth Charts and Steamer call for increases. That single point difference in slugging percentage with the computers is one or two points above 2016.
We can argue if Wieters is worth the money. If the Nats get a catcher who can throw out runners while hitting 17 homers, then it is a yes.
Remember, Wieters can opt-out after 2017. If he thinks he can top $10 million a year on the open market, then he has to produce now. He has to handle a pitching staff that features flame-throwers and others relying on movement and pitch framing to be successful.
After recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2014, Wieters had a bounce back year in 2016. He may not hit the 200 home runs he did during his salad years, but he will hold his own at the plate switching leagues.
With Jose Lobaton figuring to catch around 40-50 games, Wieters may hit his projected percentages without hitting his counting stats. If he is healthy and produces at his 2016 level, then the Nats thank him and take their chances on his future.
At 31 after the season, they could do worse if he stays and either promote Pedro Severino if he goes or find a cheaper arm.