2. Matt Wieters, C, Baltimore Orioles
Going into 2016, the Baltimore Orioles season could go one of two ways. It could either be a complete disaster, or a resounding success. A lot of that relies on a few players in particular. Perhaps the most important of all the Orioles players is Matt Wieters. Despite playing in only 101 games between 2014 and 2015, Wieters was still offered a qualifying offer this winter by the Orioles. Along with Brett Anderson and Colby Rasmus, the All-Star backstop joined the first group of players to accept the qualifying offer. Even though Wieters hadn’t played much over the last two seasons, going into 2016 he has a $15.8 million contract for the next year.
With a salary like that, and coming off two largely unproductive seasons, Matt Wieters certainly has a lot to prove. Going into the offseason, it was pretty clear the Orioles weren’t expecting Wieters to accept the qualifying offer. After Wieters accepted the qualifying offer, the Orioles’ offseason plans changed a bit, given the money that would now be tied up in Wieters. Now on the team for 2016, Wieters will need to prove he can stay healthy and play a big part in the Orioles playoff push.
No player has had the injury problems over the last two seasons as Matt Wieters. Given these injuries, Wieters should be interesting to watch in 2016 should he stay healthy. After three strong seasons from 2011 to 2013, Wieters has shown the Orioles little over the last two seasons. If he can stay healthy, Wieters could have a big year in 2016. The Orioles sure are hoping so.