Even more than the relief corps, the Nats’ catching tandem of Matt Wieters and Jose Lobaton was a glaring weakness in 2017. The bullpen was horrendous throughout the first half, but their batterymates were somehow even worse.
Wieters, who signed with the Nats late in spring training, had the worst season of his career. The pricy backstop got off to a great start in April, hitting .301 with four homers in 21 games, but fell off a cliff once the calendar flipped to May.
When all was said and done, Wieters slashed .225/.288/.344 and possibly cost the Nats game five of the NLDS. It was not a season to remember, to say the least.
However, after showing up to camp 14 pounds lighter, Wieters has looked great this spring. Through 29 at-bats, he has slashed .276/.382/.379 with a homer and five walks. He has also looked much more agile, which will be beneficial over the course of the season.
Backing up Wieters will be veteran Miguel Montero. Severino competed for the role throughout the spring, but Montero ultimately came out on top.
Montero, 34, is not a great catcher by any means, but will be a solid backup. Dave Martinez is familiar with him from their days in Chicago, and Martinez raves about his game management skills.
If Montero is able to maintain his .207 spring average throughout the year, he would be a decent backup. He is not expected to be an all-star; he just needs to spell Wieters a couple times a week.
The Nats’ catching tandem was among the worst in the league in 2017, but they appear to be much improved this year.