Tag Archives: Brian Matusz

The AL Willie Mays Award


Over at the Baseball Bloggers’ Alliance, we will be voting over the coming weeks on our award winners for the regular season. Last week I posted my votes for the AL and NL Connie Mack awards, given to our managers of the year. I’ll be continuing on today with my choice for the American League’s top rookie, the Willie Mays award recipient.

I wrote about the overall rookie of the class over the weekend, and it occurred to me that the group from the American League is pretty clearly a lot weaker than the Senior Circuit’s group, but there are still some solid rookies worthy of consideration. These are in order from east to west (approximately), and I will have my final vote at the bottom.

Wade Davis (TAM)

Davis was slotted into the Rays’ starting rotation out of spring training, and performed solidly as the #4 starter for the team. He threw 168 innings, striking out 113 and walking 65 batters while posting a 12-10 record and a 4.07 ERA. Some of his secondary numbers show a bit of luck (4.79 FIP). His strikeout rate did drop however from his career rates in the minors to this point, so he could see some improvement in the coming seasons.

Brian Matusz (BAL)

Matusz was my original choice back in the preseason as the most likely person to win the award, but he was let down to some extent by his team. Matusz threw 175 2/3 innings, posting a 4.30 ERA and a 10-12 record. His 143 strikeouts and 63 walks weren’t stunningly good, but he also appears to be a bit unlucky (4.05 FIP, .304 BABIP). Clearly, his run support wasn’t amazing (2.68 per start), and as a result of the win total should improve going into next season if all other numbers hold steady.

Austin Jackson (DET)

Jackson was the main acquisition of the Tigers in the Curtis Granderson trade during last offseason, and was slotted into as the starting center fielder for the Tigers. He got off to an extremely hot start, hitting .364/.422/.495 with 20 runs scored and 5 stolen bases in the month of April. He cooled off some as time progressed, and finished the season with a .293/.345/.400 line, 103 runs scored, and 27 stolen bases. He also played excellent defense for the Tigers in center field all season long.

Danny Valencia (MIN)

Valencia was brought up in early June to play 3B for the Twins, and simply never gave the job back. In just 85 games, he hit .311 with 7 home runs, 40 runs batted in, and played solid defense for the Twins down the stretch.

Neftali Feliz (TEX)

Feliz barely fell under the rookie requirements for last season, and remained eligible for the award again in 2010. He started the season by being put into the bullpen as a setup man, and took over as the closer after only 1 week of games. He clearly took the job and ran with it, finishing with 40 saves, striking out 71 batters to just 18 walks. He also posted a 0.880 WHIP and a 2.73 ERA, and helped to lead the team to the playoffs this season.

My Vote

  1. Neftali Feliz (TEX)
  2. Austin Jackson (DET)
  3. Wade Davis (TAM)

When I looked at all the players that were eligible, Feliz stood out as the clear winner to me. While I generally would be more inclined to give the vote to a position player as they have a larger impact on a day to day basis on the team, Feliz helped to solidify the team’s bullpen and the team really started to take off once they had moved him to the back of the bullpen. While the rest of the players had solid seasons, Feliz clearly had the largest impact as a rookie on his team, and set a record for the most saves ever by a rookie. He’s my vote for the AL Willie Mays award.

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The Season’s Top Stories: The Rookie Class of 2010


Throughout the month of October, I’ll be reviewing some of the top stories that were in the newly completed regular season. One of the biggest stories of the 2010 regular season has to be the rookie class that emerged throughout the season. This group of rookies could very well be a once in a generation group of players.

Starting Pitchers

The most hyped player to come into the Majors in a long time clearly was Stephen Strasburg, the top pick from the 2009 draft. The hype continued to build as the season progressed and it became clear that he would make his debut during the season. June 8th was the night, against the Pirates: 14 strikeouts, 0 earned runs. Strasburg nearly lived up to the hype, going 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts in just 68 innings pitched. Unfortunately, his season ended prematurely due to an elbow injury, and ended up needing Tommy John surgery. Strasburg will miss the 2011 season as well.

Other Top Performers:

  • Jaime Garcia will most likely finish near the top of the Rookie of the Year voting after posting a 13-8 record with a 2.70 ERA in 28 starts for the Cardinals.
  • Mike Leake of the Reds came up and made an instant impact despite never pitching in the minor leagues. He started off hot, but trailed off a bit at the end and finished with an 8-4 record with a 4.23 ERA in 24 appearances (22 starts).
  • His teammate Travis Wood came up on July 1st, and pitched well down the stretch for the Reds. He finished with a 5-4 record with a 3.51 ERA in just over 100 innings on the season.
  • Madison Bumgarner was called upon about halfway through the season to take the #5 spot in the Giants’ rotation, and ran with it from there. He went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 starts for the NL West champs.
  • Wade Davis of the Rays threw 168 innings of effective ball, posting a 12-10 record with a 4.07 ERA and 113 strikeouts.
  • Brian Matusz of the Orioles had been my preseason choice for the AL Rookie of the Year award, but unfortunately didn’t really pitch well enough to earn that award. Part of that was his team, as he went 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA in 175 plus innings. His numbers should improve next season as the team matures under its new manager.

Relief Pitchers

Neftali Feliz didn’t make the starting rotation out of spring training for the Rangers, and it really looks like that could have been the best thing for both him and the team. Feliz was given the closer’s job on April 12th after Frank Francisco struggled in the first week, and never gave the job back. He finished the season with a 2.73 ERA and 40 saves along with a strikeout per inning of work.

Other Top Performers:

  • Jonny Venters helped to bring some stability to the back end of the Braves’ bullpen, appearing in 79 games and striking out 93 in just 83 innings. He looks like he could be a future closer in waiting for the Braves.
  • John Axford was called upon to fill in for a struggling future Hall of Famer in Trevor Hoffman, and never really gave the job back. He went 8-2 with 24 saves and a 2.48 ERA and 76 strikeouts in just 58 innings pitched for the Brewers.

Catchers

There was concern whether or not it might cost the Giants a chance at the playoffs by their decision to not call up Buster Posey until late May.  The top prospect played well enough to really make that decision look questionable, hitting .305/.357/.505 with 18 homeruns and 67 runs batted in. The team made the playoffs, and even traded their Opening Day catcher to make sure he played every day.

Other Top Performers:

  • Carlos Santana came up on June 11th, and proceeded to show why he was considered a top prospect overall. In just 46 games this season, he hit .260/.401/.467 with 6 homeruns and 22 runs batted in. His season ended on August 2nd when he broke his leg blocking the plate, but should return next season and become one of the top catchers in the league.
  • John Jaso remains one of the more unusual catchers in the league, as the Rays consistently hit him leadoff. His .372 OBP probably helped that a lot, and he split time with Kelly Shoppach during the season.

Corner Infielders

It was originally thought at the beginning of the season that 1B Justin Smoak of the Rangers would establish himself as the next great hitter to start in Arlington. He struggled mightily during the season, earning himself a demotion back to AAA and eventually his inclusion in the trade to the Mariners for Cliff Lee. Smoak ended up finishing the season with just a .218 batting average but 13 home runs. He should do better next season as well, and will likely be the given the starting 1B job by the Mariners.

Other Top Performers:

  • Ike Davis was surprisingly called up in mid April, and continued to hold the 1B job throughout the season for the Mets. He finished the year with a .264/.351/.440 line with 19 homeruns and 71 runs batted in.
  • Chris Johnson of the Astros was given the starting 3B job after Pedro Feliz struggled, and finished the year with a .308 batting average and 11 homeruns. He should go into 2011 as the prohibitive starter at the position.
  • Danny Valencia was called up at the start of June to play 3B, and never gave the job back. He hit .311 with 7 homeruns, and has provided solid defense for the Twins as well.
  • Pedro Alvarez was called up in mid June to replace the struggling Andy LaRoche, and gave glimpses into what his future holds. He hit .256, but did hit 16 home runs and drove in 64 in just 95 games.

Middle Infielders

Starlin Castro may well have been one of the biggest surprises of the season. He started the season with the Cubs’ AA affiliate, hitting very well and was called up by the Major League team on May 7th to try and inject some more energy and offense into the lineup. Despite being just 20 years old, he hit .300 with 10 stolen bases on the season, and should continue to improve next season.

Other Top Performers:

  • Neil Walker was widely viewed as a bit of a lost prospect, stuck behind current starter Andy LaRoche and future starter Pedro Alvarez at 3B. The team instead asked him to try playing 2B, and his bat took off. He hit .296/.349/.462 with 12 homeruns and 66 runs batted in for the Pirates in just 110 games.
  • Ian Desmond was given the starting shortstop job for the Nationals out of Spring Training, and while he had his struggles with the glove (34 errors), his bat was solid with a .269 batting average, 10 homeruns, and 17 stolen bases.

Outfielders

The top prospect in the game coming into the season was widely viewed as Braves’ OF Jason Heyward, and he did not disappoint. He made the team out of Spring Training, which was unexpected, and proceeded to hit well across the season. He finished the year with a .277/.393/.456 line with 18 home runs, 72 runs batted in, and 11 stolen bases. The Braves are going to be extremely happy with Heyward’s production for years to come.

Other Top Performers:

  • Austin Jackson is likely going to win the AL Rookie of the Year award after hitting .293 with 27 stolen bases and playing good defense in centerfield for the Tigers all season long. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next year, as his full season numbers were propped up a bit by a huge start of the season this year.
  • Jose Tabata was a prospect that the Pirates received as a part of the Xavier Nady trade, and showed why he was so highly thought of. He played in 102 games, hitting .299 with 19 stolen bases and 61 runs scored.

In many seasons, nearly all of these rookies would have been Rookie of the Year awards recipients, but with so many top players this year some may not even get votes in the awards proceedings. I’ll be posting my votes for the AL and NL Willie Mays awards (Rookie’s of the Year) in the next few days as well.

Prospect Reviews: Season in Review Part 2


Back in January and February, I reviewed 30 minor league prospects, and made some predictions. With the season over at the Minor League level and nearly over at the Major League level, I figured now was a great time to look back at how I did. I posted my thoughts on the first 10 prospects yesterday, and will continue with 10 more today.

Christian Friedrich (COL)

In January, I predicted that Friedrich would start the season in AA for the Rockies, and post the following line: 9 – 5, 2.75 era, 165 innings pitched, 190 strikeouts, 55 walks. His actual line: 3-6, 5.05 era, 87 1/3 innings pitched, 78 strikeouts, 35 walks. Friedrich missed a fair amount of time during the season due to injury, which clearly nobody loves. He did average nearly a strikeout per inning, but clearly this wasn’t quite the performance the Rockies were looking for. I think that honestly he will return next season to AA to start the season.

Desmond Jennings (TAM)

Tampa Bay is notorious for taking it extremely slow with their prospects, and Jennings is no exception. He was not called up until right around September 1st, and clearly much later than the All Star break like I had thought. My prediction: .285/.365/.450, 5 homeruns, 35 rbi, 35 stolen bases (Majors – 3 months). He hit .278/.362/.393 with 3 homeruns, 36 rbi, 37 stolen bases in 109 games in the minors. He’s extremely likely to be the starting left fielder or right fielder to begin next season in Tampa, and should be a decent fantasy outfielder.

Jason Heyward (ATL)

What else is there to say about Heyward at this point? He’s going to be at worst top-2 in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, and hit .285/.400/.472 with 18 homeruns, 71 runs batted in, and 10 stolen bases in 133 games. I thought he would not make the team out of Spring Training, and was nearly right on with some of the numbers anyway: .285/.370/.470, 6 homeruns, 10 stolen bases in 80 games was my prediction. Heyward is going to be one of the best outfielders for years to come.

Starlin Castro (CHC)

Back in January, I figured he might get a call up to AAA after spending a majority of the year at AA. Oops, guess I didn’t know exactly what the Cubs would do. They called up their top prospect in May, and he definitely disappoint. In 116 games, he hit .304/.350/417 with 50 runs scored, 3 home runs, 41 runs batted in, and 9 stolen bases. The power and fielding seem really likely to improve, and even the speed has gotten better over the length of the season.

Aaron Hicks (MIN)

Hicks came into the season as the top prospect for the Twins, and he really hasn’t done a lot to keep that ranking for next season. He posted a decent line (.279/.401/.428) with 27 doubles, 8 homeruns, 49 runs batted in, and 21 stolen bases. My prediction was pretty close (.280/.360/.430, 25 doubles, 8 homeruns, 25 stolen bases), but I thought he could do that at High-A. Instead, he repeated Low-A again this season, and it concerns me that they felt no need to promote him even at the end of the season.

A.J. Pollock (ARI)

Pollock had a completely lost season, as he missed the whole season with an injury. I think that once he’s back to playing next year, the predictions I made then could very well be similar.

Martin Perez (TEX)

It was a bit of a lost season for Perez as well, but I have to remind myself he is still just 20 years old. At AA, I thought that he would post the following line: 7-7, 3.30 ERA, 140 IP, 130 strikeouts, 45 walks. His actual line: 5-8, 5.96 ERA, 99 2/3 IP, 101 strikeouts, 50 walks. His FIP (4.24) indicated he pitched slightly better, but he definitely took a step back from the previous season. I think he’s very likely to start 2011 back at AA, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he still was promoted to AAA.

Brian Matusz (BAL)

With Matusz, I clearly underestimated how bad the Orioles’ offense would be this year. My prediction in January had Brian posting this line:  12-8, 3.75 ERA, 175 IP, 160 strikeouts, 45 walks. His actual through late last week: 8-12, 4.59 ERA, 162 2/3 IP, 126 strikeouts, 59 walks. I was a bit optimistic on his strikeout rate, and his walks as well. But I’ll be really interested to see what he does next year with the improvement the team has shown since hiring Buck Showalter.

Domonic Brown (PHI)

I thought Brown would not be above AA this year, and would have a great line: .290/.375/.500, 17 HR, 75 RBI, 25 stolen bases. He got a call up to AAA after 65 games, and ended up with a midseason callup as well due to some injuries in the Phillies outfield. He hasn’t really gotten a lot of consistent playing time, but he’s going to be a solid outfielder for the Phillies in 2011.

Daniel Hudson (CHW/ARI)

I really think that the White Sox blew this one. Hudson has been nothing short of amazing since being slotted into the Diamondbacks rotation, and has been much better than my original prediction: 5-5, 3.85 ERA, 110 IP, 95 strikeouts, 28 walks. His actual line: 7-2, 2.49 ERA, 86.2 IP, 79 strikeouts, 25 walks. Hudson really looks like he will be a solid #2/#3 starter going forward, with the potential to be a #1 starter if everything falls right.

Prospect Reviews: Midseason Review – Majors and AAA


As we approach the Major League All-Star break, I’ve seen quite a few of the prospects I reviewed back in January who have already made an impact in the show.

Note: Each of these players are listed under the level that they are currently at, but will include their stats at all levels. All statistics are through Saturday’s games, and courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Majors

Carlos Santana (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 57 .316 .447 .597 39 13 51 6
Majors 20 .313 .438 .641 11 4 15 0

Carlos was called up on June 11th, and has continued to hit at a torrid pace ever since. I wrote back in mid-May that I thought he would be called up sometime after the expected Super-Two deadline, and that is pretty much exactly what happened. Over at FakeTeams, I ranked Santana as my 5th best catcher for the remainder of the season, and I think that’s probably pretty accurate. He’s going to continue to hit for an excellent average, and the power looks legitimate, even if there is some minor regression. At the end of last season, I owned the rights to both Carlos Santana and Buster Posey in my 14-team keeper league. During our minor league draft, I traded Posey for Ryan Westmoreland and a draft pick towards the end of the draft. That pick? Used to take Michael Pineda.

Mike Stanton (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 53 .313 .442 .729 42 21 52 1
Majors 20 .218 .271 .333 10 2 13 3

Stanton was called up on June 8th, in a much quieter debut than the other major rookie on that date, Stephen Strasburg. Stanton hasn’t quite shown the power in the Majors that he did in his minor league career to this point, but that was probably asking a bit much of the rookie. The 3 stolen bases to this point seem a bit out of place, as he only had 8 total in his 4 minor league seasons, but that could just be a fluke. I think that realistically he’s going to continue to experience some growing pains, and until the strikeouts get a bit more under control (33 so far in only 78 at bats), he’s going to continue to struggle.

Buster Posey (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 47 .349 .442 .552 3 6 32 1
Majors 29 .308 .330 .423 12 2 11 0

Posey was called up on May 29th, but strangely it was to play 1B for the most part. The Giants’ main concern was to get the top prospect’s bat into the lineup, and not worry too much about having him catch immediately. He has been playing nearly every day, but has only just now started to catch every day with the trade of former starting catcher Bengie Molina to the Giants. I will be interested to see how he continues to hit now that he will be catching every day, and it will be interesting to see if there is any impact on the pitching staff. Posey has been widely touted for his ability to work with a pitching staff, but until it actually happens there is always the chance of something going wrong.

Jason Heyward (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
Majors 71 .251 .366 .455 41 11 45 5

Heyward is currently on the disabled list for the Braves, after a thumb injury that occurred late in May apparently, but did not sideline him until late June. This is probably at least a part of the explanation as to why Heyward struggled so much in the month of June.  He was the prohibitive favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year award after the month of May, but if he is out for an extended period of time, this race could pretty easily get away from him with as many good rookies as there are this season.

Starlin Castro (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 26 .376 .421 .569 20 1 20 4
Majors 50 .269 .332 .365 17 2 18 1

Castro has been a bit of an enigma to this point in his Major League career. It was a big surprise that he was called up when he was, but it was thought he would be able to adapt pretty easily despite being only 20 years old. His average has been solid, but not amazing. But his power seems to have disappeared entirely, and his speed is not far behind it. The part that really concerns me about Castro is the fact that in 50 games, he already has 11 errors. Granted, you can’t get errors on balls you don’t make a play on, so this partially could be the reason he has so many. It seems unlikely to me at this point that the Cubs would send him down to improve, as the Cubs are going nowhere this season.

Brian Matusz (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
Majors 16 2 9 0 4.90 93.2 70 1.441

Matusz, it was hoped, would help to lead this team’s pitching staff this season along with veteran Kevin Millwood. Unfortunately, the Orioles’ offense and defense forgot to help with that. Matusz has a league worst 9 losses this season, but there are signs of hope. He has a strikeout rate of 6.83 per 9 innings, and his FIP is lower than his ERA (4.25 vs. 4.90), so there does appear to be hope for Matusz. Until this team starts hitting like they mean it, it’s probably going to be some tough-luck losses in the future for Brian Matusz.

AAA

Desmond Jennings (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 59 .298 .374 .428 45 1 21 20

Jennings has missed some time this season due to an injury, and it appears that the Rays are extremely unlikely to call him up this season. The Rays have done well with their starting outfield of Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, and Ben Zobrist, and have had both Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez fill in as necessary. Jennings still looks like an elite prospect, and seems like to be up at the start of the 2011 season, as Crawford is still a free agent at the end of the season and seems unlikely to be resigned due to money concerns. I still think Jennings is an elite prospect, although I am wondering how long until the power comes.

Jesus Montero (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 74 .248 .319 .410 30 6 33 0

Back in January, I wrote that I thought the best thing for the Yankees to do with Montero would be to continue to leave him in the minors and allow him to develop as a catcher, so that they could use him as the long-term replacement to Jorge Posada following Posada’s eventual retirement. At this point, I would say that they need to figure out a different position for him long term. Montero is probably not ever going to be an elite caliber catcher, and with the Yankees having 3 excellent catching prospect also in the minors (Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, J.R. Murphy) in addition to Montero, they can probably work on letting him hit and just assume he is likely to end up either in the outfield or as a DH.

Domonic Brown (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 65 .318 .391 .602 50 15 47 12
AAA 11 .395 .415 .711 6 3 10 1

Brown is a player who is vaulting himself to the top of prospect rankings with his amazing performance down at AA. Clearly, if he can continue a majority of the pace he is on so far, he looks like he will be a perennial 30-30 threat with a high batting average. There have been rumors that the Phillies may try to move Jayson Werth to help improve other areas of the team and insert Brown into the everyday RF job, but that seems a bit rushed. I would like to see the Phillies leave Brown down at AAA for the rest of the season, and give him the opportunity to win the RF job out of Spring Training in 2011.

Dan Hudson (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AAA 16 11 3 0 3.57 88.1 102 1.211

Hudson has done everything that the White Sox had hoped and more, but unfortunately no one in the starting rotation is really pitching all that badly. The White Sox are correct to leave him down there starting if that is what they hope to use him for long-term, and at some point he is likely to get a shot. It would help if the Sox would fall out of the race, but Hudson could potentially be moved for a short-term piece if they think they still have a chance to win it all this season. I’m not sure where that would come from, but stranger things have happened.

Chris Carter (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AAA 81 .242 .346 .497 55 17 58 0

Carter has been a bit of an enigma so far at AAA. The power is still there, although not to the same extent has it had been in AA. The batting average is clearly not where he was in AA, but with the amount of strikeouts that he normally racks up, this isn’t that much of a surprise. The concerning part to me is two fold – He hasn’t even attempted a stolen base this season after trying 19 times with 13 successes. Also, the strikeout rate has gotten worse, as he already has 94 strikeouts in only 81 games. The A’s don’t have a place to play him right now at the Major League level, and realistically, he’s not shown that he’s ready for it either. If the A’s were in the heat of the pennant race, they might have brought him up to provide some pop to the lineup, but since they aren’t, I don’t think he sees Oakland this season except when he passes it in his car.

Yonder Alonso (Writeup)

Level G AVG OBP SLG R HR RBI SB
AA 31 .267 .388 .406 19 3 13 4
AAA 51 .246 .283 .365 17 4 28 3

Alonso has become the subject of some trade rumors for the Reds, as he realistically should be a first baseman at the Major League level. Unfortunately, that position is manned by a potential MVP candidate in Joey Votto, and looks like it will be for quite some time. The Reds have been trying him in the outfield, but it appears that may be at least somewhat affecting his ability to hit at AAA, as he has struggled so far.

Michael Pineda (Writeup)

Level G W L SV ERA IP K WHIP
AA 13 8 1 0 2.22 77 78 1.091
AAA 3 2 0 0 2.37 19 26 0.842

Pineda came into the season as a bit of an unknown, but is now rocketing up the prospect rankings for a lot of the experts as he continues his excellent performance from last season. He’s earned a promotion to AAA recently, and the poor performance overall by the Mariners makes me wonder if he may see a September call-up. The strikeout numbers have been dominant, with over 1 per inning so far at both levels. This one is really making me look pretty good so far in my keeper league.

Tomorrow, the rest of the prospects down at AA and below.

Original Draft Series: Team #30 – Baltimore Orioles


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #30: Baltimore Orioles

General Managers(since 1994)

Roland Hemond (1994-1995): 134-122
Pat Gillick (1996-1998): 265-221
Frank Wren (1999): 78-84
Syd Thrift (2000-2002): 204-281
Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan (2003-2005): 223-263
Mike Flanagan (2006-2007): 70-92
Andy MacPhail (2007-current): 201-284

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
0 0 2 1 2 2 9 2

Well, the Major League team hasn’t shown a whole lot of success in the past 15 years, with only a pair of playoff appearances in 1996 and 1997 while under the tutelage of general manager Pat Gillick. When looking through the rosters, these were the best players that I could come up with at each of these positions. I realize that a few of them are barely in the Majors as it is now, but unfortunately I really didn’t find anyone that played these positions that I would consider to be better than the players listed. All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Matt Wieters 2007 – 1st Rd (5) 3 153 gm, 13 HR, 60 RBI, 49 R Currently with Org.
1B Nolan Reimold 2005 – 2nd Rd 5 133 gm, .265/.353/.442, 17 HR, 55 RBI, 8 SB, 56 R Currently with Org.
2B Brian Roberts 1999 – 1st Rd (50) 11 1139 gm, .283/.355/.420, 77 HR, 443 RBI, 258 SB, 730 R Currently with Org.
3B Mike Fontenot 2001 – 1st Rd (19) 4 No Major League Appearances for Organization Traded to CHC – 2/2/05
SS Jerry Hairston 1997 – 11th Rd 8 530 gm, .261/.334/.371, 26 HR, 160 RBI, 94 SB, 241 R Traded to CHC – 2/2/05
LF Jayson Werth 1997 – 1st Rd (22) 3 No Major League Appearances for Organization Traded to TOR –  12/11/00
CF Willie Harris 1999 – 24th Rd 3 9 gm, .125/.125/.167, 3 R Traded to CHW – 1/29/02
RF Nick Markakis 2003 – 1st Rd (7) 7 688 gm, .297/.366/.466, 80 HR, 383 RBI, 37 SB, 393 R Currently with Org.
DH Gregg Zaun 1989 – 17th Rd 7+1 146 gm, 8 HR, 40 RBI, 1 SB, 57 R Traded to TB – 8/7/09
SP Erik Bedard 1999 – 6th Rd 8 40-34, 3.83 ERA, 639 K, 254 BB, 658 IP, 1.339 WHIP Traded to SEA – 2/8/08
SP Brian Matusz 2008 – 1st Rd (4) 2 7-9, 4.38 ERA, 99 K, 41 BB, 119.2 IP, 1.479 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Brad Bergesen 2004- 4th Rd 6 10-9,  4.36 ERA, 79 K, 50 BB, 177.3 IP, 1.415 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP John Maine 2002 – 6th Rd 3 2-4, 6.60 ERA, 25 K, 27 BB, 43.2 IP, 1.672 WHIP Traded to NYM – 1/22/06
SP David Hernandez 2005 – 16th Rd 5 6-15, 1 SV, 5.19 ERA, 101 K, 77 BB, 151 IP, 1.570 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Jim Johnson 2001 – 5th Rd 9 7-12, 12 SV, 3.87 ERA, 97 K, 60 BB, 153.1 IP, 1.396 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Koji Uehara Int’l FA – 2009 2 2-4, 3.89 ERA, 54 K, 15 BB, 71.2 IP, 1.242 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Arthur Rhodes 1988 – 2nd Rd 11 43-36, 9 SV, 4.86 ERA, 579 K, 316 BB, 622.1 IP, 1.432 WHIP Free Agency – 11/1/99
RP D.J. Carrasco 1997 – 26th Rd 1 No Major League Appearances for Organization Released – 6/14/98
RP Jason Berken 2006 – 6th Rd 4 6-13, 5.65 ERA, 86 K, 52 BB, 151.1 IP, 1.632 WHIP Currently with Org.
CL Chris Ray 2003 – 3rd Rd 6 10-17, 49 SV, 4.11 ERA, 177 K, 86 BB, 192.2 IP,  1.370 WHIP Traded to TEX – 12/9/09
BN Darnell McDonald (OF) 1997 – 1st Rd (26) 7 17 gm, .156/.206/.188, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 3 R Free Agency – 10/15/04
BN Jake Arrieta (SP) 2007 – 5th Rd 3 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 6 K, 4 BB, 6 IP, 1.333 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Augie Ojeda (IF) 1996 – 13th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances for Organization Traded to CHC – 12/13/99
BN Adam Loewen (OF/P) 2002 – 1st Rd (4) 6 8-8, 5.38 ERA, 134 K, 106 BB, 164 IP, 1.640 WHIP Free Agency – 10/20/08
BN Garrett Olson (P) 2005 – 1st Rd (48) 3 10-13, 6.87 ERA, 111 K, 90 BB, 165 IP, 1.818 WHIP Traded to CHC – 1/18/09

Clearly, I had to stretch quite a bit to get some of these starting positions filled. Nolan Reimold has never played at 1B in the Major Leagues, but has been working at 1B in the minor leagues this season. The next best player to fill that position would have been Gregg Zaun, who has played 2 games totaling 8 innings at 1B in his major league career, none of which were with the Orioles. Overall, this team looks pretty sad overall. You’ve got solid players at 2B, LF, and RF, and a single starting pitcher. After that, you have good young players who are too new to have shown exactly what they can do yet at C, 1B, and 2 of their starting pitchers. There are some good role players, but unfortunately the build for this team kind of looks similar to the real-life organization at this point: Very raw, and not particularly good.

Looking at their drafting results, they have had 29 first round picks in the last 15 drafts (not including 2010). Ignoring the 2009 draftee, they have had only 11 of these picks even play a single game in the Major Leagues. Even giving the benefit of the doubt for the 4 players who were first round picks but have not made it to the Majors yet, that still brings the Orioles to 14 misses in 15 seasons. Generally, the first round is the one round where an organization will have the best chance of finding a MLB quality talent, and with the poor performance of the Orioles throughout the years, they’ve had 8 picks in the top 10 in the last 9 years. As evidenced by the revolving door that has been the general manager’s office, that’s not getting it done.

Something else that has really illustrated itself as I go through the players is the lack of players from international markets, the ones outside of the draft. While it remains to be seen if there are specific reasons that the Orioles are not concentrating any effort to Latin America and Asia, the fact that they aren’t is clearly hurting their development as an organization.

Overall Grade: I think I have to give them a D-, due to the fact that I was barely able to fill the whole roster with players, and the fact that they’ve missed on so many first round picks. This team would have a hard time competing against nearly every major league team on a day-to-day basis. Throw in the fact that this 25 man roster is essentially 14 or possibly even 15 pitchers really doesn’t bode well for them. Hopefully the Orioles will start to see some of the fruit of the system shortly, as they really need it.

The 2010 Rookie Class


Every year we see some solid rookie players come to the Majors and have a major impact, and this year is no exception. Already we’ve seen at least half a dozen players who could legitimately win their Rookie of the Year award, along with a lot of impact players as well. Each of these players is still eligible to win the Rookie of the Year award, according to ESPN.com’s stats page. All these stats are through Sunday’s games, and the players are in order of what I believe their likelihood to win their respective Rookie of the Year awards.

American League

1. Austin Jackson (DET) – .328/.379/.444, 33 runs, 1 home run, 13 runs batted in, 7 stolen bases

Jackson was the centerpiece of the Curtis Granderson trade for the Tigers, and he’s been pretty much everything it was hoped he would, and more. I wrote in December that I thought the Tigers would end up winning this trade, and Jackson is going to be the lynchpin to whether or not that happens. The batting average has been extremely lucky to this point, as he is currently sporting a .458 BABIP. That said, he still should hit around .270-.280 and could end up scoring around 90 runs for the Tigers.

2. Neftali Feliz (TEX) – 1-1, 13 saves, 2 holds, 2.96 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 25 strikeouts, 5 walks, 24 1/3 IP

Since being installed as the closer for the Rangers, Feliz has pitched very well overall. His stuff really suits the closer’s role, as his fastball is dominant at right around 100 mph on a consistent basis. I think that Feliz could end up winning the Rookie of the Year if Jackson falls off precipitously or if the Rangers end up making the playoffs and Feliz stays as the closer all season long. Long term, it will be interesting to see if they ever convert him back to a starting pitcher, as his value is probably better there.

3. Mitch Talbot (CLE) – 6-4, 3.78 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 27 strikeouts, 24 walks, 66 2/3 IP

Talbot has been a very nice surprise for the Indians, as he was acquired in the Kelly Shoppach trade this past offseason. Plugged into the starting rotation, Talbot is finally getting a chance to show how good of a pitcher he can be. He may see some regression, as his FIP is over 5 and his BABIP is only at .251. Either way, the Indians did well here, and he could conceivably win 12-15 games in spite of how bad the Indians’ offense is. The walks are definitely a major concern though, as they are barely less than his strikeouts.

4. Wade Davis (TAM) – 5-4, 4.04 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 36 strikeouts, 29 walks, 55 2/3 IP

Another vaunted rookie from the Rays’ farm system, Davis has come in and pitched effectively in a tough AL East division. However, his secondary numbers (FIP of 5+, 82% strand rate) indicate that he’s likely to see a fairly stiff regression in the coming months. I think he’s going to finish the season as an effective, if not amazing pitcher. But he definitely appears to have a very bright future ahead of him, and I think that for this year he could end up winning 15 games on the strength of the Rays’ lineup.

5. Brennan Boesch (DET) – .330/.357/.585, 9 runs, 4 homeruns, 22 runs batted in, 1 stolen base

At the beginning of the season, it was thought that there would be a rookie from the Tigers in this race. Brennan Boesch was not the one everyone thought though. Boesch has come up and just hit and hit and hit as the replacement for the oft-injured Carlos Guillen. He’s hit so well to this point that Guillen, who recently returned from the disabled list, is being moved to 2B (where they had hoped rookie Scott Sizemore would play well) to allow Boesch to stay in the lineup everyday. His BABIP is high (.373), so there could be some regression, but he looks like he’s going to be a solid everyday player with the potential for double-digit power.

Other AL Candidates: Brian Matusz (BAL), Carlos Santana (CLE), John Jaso (TAM), Justin Smoak (TEX), Scott Sizemore (DET)

Each of these candidates, to me, has some warts that will keep them from winning this award unless something drastically changes. For Sizemore and Santana, the fact that they are still in AAA leads me to believe that they would have to ridiculously outperform the others to catch up for lost time. Smoak and Matusz, at least for the moment, are simply not performing up to the standard of the other candidates, and are unlikely at this point to catch them.

National League

1. Jason Heyward (ATL) – .292/.410/.578, 29 runs, 10 home runs, 38 runs batted in, 3 stolen bases

What else is there to be said about Heyward that hasn’t been said? I wrote about him as a prospect back in January, and predicted that he would hit .280/.370/.470 with 6 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 80 games. Even doubling that prediction to get him to around 160 games, that’s 12 homeruns and 20 stolen bases. While he’s not running as much as I thought, the power appears to be legitimate and the Braves are going to be extremely happy with him for a very long time. I don’t really see too much out there that would cause him to not win this award.

2. Jaime Garcia (STL) – 4-2, 1.39 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 48 strikeouts, 26 walks, 58 1/3 IP

Garcia made the rotation out of spring training, and has never looked back. Clearly the ERA is going to go up at some point during the season, but the rest of the numbers really look legitimate to me. He’s pitching in St. Louis, and I’ve learned to never bet against the coaching staff there either.

3. Stephen Strasburg (WAS) – Will make ML debut June 8th.

The hype is real. Strasburg will not make his debut until June 8th, giving the rest of the rookies in this class a full two months of time to get ahead. That said, and even with the 100 inning limit that he is likely to be on, he could very well come up and post a sub-3 ERA and a strikeout per inning he pitches. He has looked that good.

4. David Freese (STL) -.314/.383/.453, 21 runs, 4 home runs, 31 runs batted in, 1 stolen base

It’s hard to put another position player this far down the list, but realistically all 5 of the top rookies in the NL would probably win the award in the American League this season. Freese won the 3B job out of spring training, but it really appeared that no one was particularly confident that he would be able to make it stick. But he’s been a very bright spot in the Cardinals lineup, and has played at least reasonable defense to this point.

5. Mike Leake (CIN) – 4-0, 2.45 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 45 strikeouts, 25 walks, 66 IP

I was extremely surprised when Leake made the rotation out of spring training, but it really looks like the Reds knew what they were doing here (shocking, I know). Leake isn’t necessarily going to be a fantasy darling, as he probably isn’t going to strike out enough hitters to make him very valuable for that. But he has shown to this point that he is definitely a good Major League pitcher.

Other NL Candidates: Starlin Castro (CHC), Buster Posey (SF), Ian Desmond (WAS), Ike Davis (NYM), Gaby Sanchez (FLA), Jhoulys Chacin (COL)

Only Desmond and Sanchez made their respective teams out of Spring Training, and while they are both having good rookie seasons, their seasons do not compare to the 5 players discussed previously. Castro, Posey, and Davis have all added much needed energy to their teams, in addition to some offense, but unfortunately they will run into the same problem as Desmond and Sanchez, in that it is a very good rookie class this year.

How are They Doing So Far? part 1


Over this week, I am going to look at how the prospects I reviewed during this offseason and see how they have done so far this season. Today I’ll be going over the players who are currently in either the Majors or at AAA. All statistics are through Sunday

Welcome to the Show

Jason Heyward (ATL): 28 games, .291/.410/.616, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 14 R, 16 walks, 26 strikeouts

Heyward was named the starting right fielder out of Spring Training, as he impressed nearly everyone who saw him down in Florida. He hasn’t let up since, and is well on his way to winning the Rookie of the Year award. He’s been sidelined of late with a minor groin injury, and there has been talk as to whether or not he will need some time on the disabled list. He is already past the stats that I thought he would post in the Majors this season when I reviewed him. Whether or not his split numbers will stay that high remains to be seen, but he’s been a definite hit so far.

Jennry Mejia (NYM): 15 appearances, 13 2/3 IP, 0-2, 2.63 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 9 strikeouts, 7 walks

I was extremely surprised when the Mets put Mejia into the bullpen out of Spring Training. When I wrote about him during the offseason, I predicted (incorrectly) that he would not be in the Majors until 2012 at the soonest. Leave the Mets to make a liar out of me. However, I did also say that unless his control issues were managed, he’d struggle. 7 walks in 13 2/3 IP would qualify as struggling for me. The problem I really see at this point is that this seems likely to severely stunt his development. Long term his best value would seem to be as a starting pitcher, and he’s not going to develop as one until he goes back to the minors to get reps there. Now, there is the potential for the Mets to be grooming him as a closer-in-waiting for after the 2011 season, when Francisco Rodriguez will be a free agent again. But it just doesn’t seem to be the best answer for him.

Brian Matusz (BAL): 7 starts, 40 1/3 IP, 2-3, 4.91 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 33 strikeouts, 14 walks

Matusz was slated to start the season in the rotation for the Orioles, and has pitched  reasonably well so far. When I wrote him up, I thought that he would post a strikeout rate of 8.25 per 9 innings, and a walk rate of 2.3 per 9. So far, he’s at 7.425 strikeouts per 9 and 3.15 walks per 9. He hasn’t quite matched the numbers I predicted, but until his last start had pitched reasonably well all the same.

Starlin Castro (CHC): 3 games, .333/.333/.833, HR, 6 RBI, 0 walks, 1 strikeout

Castro was called up on Friday to help spark the offense. His callup also moved previous SS Ryan Theriot over to 2B, and potentially for good if Castro hits while he is here. It will be interesting if Castro has a lot of struggles, as he has not played at all at AAA, and did not play a lot at AA either for that matter.

AAA

Carlos Santana (CLE): 29 games, .309/.446/.526, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 3 SB, 22 walks, 19 strikeouts

Santana has gotten off to a hot start, and realistically I have to imagine he will probably be up to the big club as soon as the expected date to avoid making a Super-Two player passes. The player currently blocking him at the Major League level, Lou Marson, is not hitting worth anything, and is realistically just a place holder until they bring up Santana.

Buster Posey (SF): 29 games, .345/.434/.536, 4 HR, 20 RBI, SB, 16 walks, 18 strikeouts

Posey was sent down to AAA after Spring Training so that he could play every day. His offense could very well be needed at the Major League level sooner rather than later, but unless something changes with Bengie Molina, there really isn’t a good spot to play him. I’ve heard talk that Posey is athletic enough that he may be able to play 1B or RF potentially, but clearly his future is behind the plate. I still don’t entirely understand why they brought him up at the end of last season. Hopefully, they don’t bring him up just to sit on the bench.

Jesus Montero (NYY): 24 games, .244/.306/.378, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 16 strikeouts, 8 walks

He’s not quite hitting up to the level that he has in the past, but he is still very young, especially for his level. The Yankees are best suited by continuing to let him try to develop as a catcher, as his bat is probably ready for the Majors now. However, he is their long-term solution behind the plate, and he is going to need probably the majority of this season at AAA continuing his development. Thankfully (for him anyway) the Yankees do not need his bat at the Major League level at this point, and can let him do this.

Trevor Reckling (LAA): 6 starts, 33 IP, 3-1, 4.64 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 23 strikeouts, 23 walks

Reckling has struggled a bit to this point, as control has clearly become a massive issue. This had already shown itself in previous seasons, and to me he is going to have to get that under control before he can even be considered for the Majors. Good for the Angels is the fact that they do not need to rush him, as they have other pitchers who can be called upon if they need someone at the Major League level. I wrote back in January that I thought he would be in the Majors during 2011, and I think that’s probably still right. He really could use the full season down at AAA to work on the control issues.

Desmond Jennings (TAM): 12 games, .269/.387/.346, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 6 SB, 5 walks 5 strikeouts

Health remains the problem, as he’s only appeared in 12 games out of 29 possible so far. The Rays are taking an extremely conservative approach with him, as they have their outfield at the Major League level pretty well locked in for this season. His batting eye remains excellent, as well as the speed. I could very well see the Rays leaving him down in AAA at least until September, as they really don’t have any pressing need for him in Tampa.

Daniel Hudson (CHW): 6 starts, 29 1/3 IP, 4-2, 5.83 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 34 strikeouts, 10 walks

Hudson was slated to the minors after Spring Training, as the White Sox have an extremely deep starting rotation, with Buehrle, Peavy, Danks, and Floyd at the top, and Freddy Garcia currently in the 5th starter role. I figured back in January that he would be up at some point this season, and I still think he will be. Garcia has not pitched particularly well, striking out 18 and walking 12 in 29 innings. He’s probably going to be given a lot of rope, but I would be surprised if he is still in the rotation come June 1st. Look for Hudson to be called up when that time comes.

Chris Carter (OAK): 29 games, .259/.354/.518, 8 HR, 28 RBI, 16 walks, 33 strikeouts

Carter has started his year in Sacramento, and while he is performing well, I have to imagine that the A’s are likely to keep him down there until at least midseason. The hard part is that for them to get Carter consistent playing time, he is going to need to play either 1B or DH. Current 1B Daric Barton has been solid this season, and appears very unlikely to lose his job. DH is a different concern, as that is currently being misused by the $66 million dollar man, Eric Chavez. The A’s are going to give Chavez every chance to succeed, and at this point he has managed to stay healthy, even if he hasn’t done well. Look for Carter to debut sometime after the All-Star break.


Team Preview – Baltimore Orioles


Today I’m starting my preseason previews of each team in the majors. Today’s team is the Baltimore Orioles.

Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Matt Wieters SP 1 Kevin Millwood
1B Garrett Atkins SP 2 Jeremy Guthrie
2B Brian Roberts SP 3 Brian Matusz
3B Miguel Tejada SP 4 Brad Bergesen
SS Cesar Izturis SP 5 Chris Tillman
LF Nolan Reimold Bullpen
CF Adam Jones CL Mike Gonzalez
RF Nick Markakis RP Jim Johnson
DH Luke Scott RP Kam Mickolio
Bench RP Koji Uehara
IF Ty Wigginton RP Cla Meredith
OF Felix Pie RP Mark Hendrickson

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Kevin Millwood Trade (TEX) RP Chris Ray Trade (TEX)
CL Mike Gonzalez Free Agency 3B Melvin Mora Free Agency
1B/3B Garrett Atkins Free Agency RP Danys Baez Free Agency
3B/SS Miguel Tejada Free Agency

Top Prospects: Brian Matusz (P), Jake Arrieta (P), Zach Britton (P), Josh Bell (3B)

2009 Review

The 2009 Orioles finished 64-98, 39 games out of first place in the American League East. I wanted to write that the Orioles finished strong last year, ending on a 4 game winning streak. However, that’s kind of cancelled out by the fact that they lost the 13 games prior to that. The Orioles got excellent performances from veterans Brian Roberts (.283, 16 HR, 30 SB), Nick Markakis (.293, 18 HR, 101 RBI), and second-year player Adam Jones (.277, 19 HR, 77 RBI, 10 SB).

The biggest story of 2009 for the Orioles was the number of rookies who came up and performed well. The majority of the hype was surrounding uber-prospect Matt Wieters. Wieters was called up at the end of May, and never looked back, posting a respectable .288 batting average with 9 homers in 96 games. However, his interaction with the young pitching staff will have a larger impact going forward. Rookies Brad Bergesen (7-5, 3.43), Chris Tillman (2-5, 5.40), and Brian Matusz (5-2, 4.63) all provided solid campaigns to the rotation. OF Nolan Reimold also helped to provide some much-needed pop, with 15 HR, 45 RBI, and 8 stolen bases. None of the players mentioned received votes for Rookie of the Year, but Matusz is still eligible for the 2010 award.

Team Outlook for 2010

I think that the Orioles are going to improve this year. The acquisitions of Kevin Millwood and Miguel Tejada will help to stabilize the clubhouse with some strong veteran presences. Millwood specifically will be looked to help further develop the pitching staff, as he’s had success in the major leagues. The signing of Mike Gonzalez was a bit confusing to me at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. One of the things that can be debilitating to a young pitcher is to watch his bullpen cough up the lead he left them with. Bringing in Gonzalez helps to stabilize the back end of the bullpen, and put pitchers like Uehara and Mickolio into roles that they are currently better suited for. Also, by having a lot of solid pitchers out in the bullpen, the younger starters won’t feel like they will be expected to go 7-8 innings every time they take the mound.

The hard part for the Orioles remains the same as every other year. The American League East isn’t getting any easier to win, with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays all expected to be very good teams as well. Even the Blue Jays aren’t expected to be slouches, which means that essentially half of their schedule will be against division opponents who will be difficult to beat on a consistent basis. I don’t think that the Orioles compete for the division title this season, but could see an improvement of potentially 5-10 wins in spite of this.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Key players from a fantasy standpoint include C Matt Wieters, 2B Brian Roberts, OF Nick Markakis and Adam Jones, and CL Mike Gonzalez. All of the Orioles’ starting pitchers should have some good games, but the only player I might take a risk on would be SP Brian Matusz, as he has the potential to be the leader of this rotation by the end of the season. Deeper leagues could see 3B Miguel Tejada, OF Nolan Reimold, and DH Luke Scott also have some solid value.

Prediction for 2010

I don’t use any particular statistical process or procedures to come to my predictions of win-loss record. It’s really just a gut feeling for me, after looking at their roster, briefly looking at their schedule, and previous performance.

70-92, 5th in the AL East

Prospect Review – Brian Matusz – P – BAL


Baseball Reference.Com Profile
Fangraphs Profile

The Basics
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
How Acquired: Drafted in the 1st Round (#4 overall) of the 2008 Amateur Draft by the Baltimore Orioles
Age: 23

Statistics

2009 – Frederick (Carolina League – Orioles High-A) – 11 starts

  • 4-2, 2.16 ERA, 66 2/3 IP
  • 75 strikeouts, 21 walks
  • 2.91 FIP

2009 – Bowie (Eastern League – Orioles AA) – 8 starts

  • 7-0, 1.55 ERA, 46 1/3 IP
  • 46 strikeouts, 11 walks
  • 2.55 FIP

2009 – Orioles (MLB) – 8 starts

  • 5-2, 4.63 ERA, 44 2/3 IP
  • 38 strikeouts, 14 walks
  • 4.08 FIP

Rankings
Baseball America – #1 (BAL – 2010)
Baseball Prospectus – #1 (BAL – 2010) – 5 star
John Sickels – #1 (BAL – 2010) – A

Analysis

Matusz was highly touted coming out of the University of San Diego, and the Orioles took him with the 4th pick in 2008’s amateur draft. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League in 2008, but didn’t make his regular season debut until 2009. He has since skyrocketed through the Orioles’ system, finishing the season with the big club. His season totals (16-4, 157 2/3 IP, 159 strikeouts, 46 walks), while split across 3 levels, were still very good.

I’m actually having a bit of a hard time finding things to say about Matusz that haven’t already been said. He’s extremely well thought of as a prospect, and has pretty universally been placed near the top of prospect lists all off-season.

From MLB.COM: “His slightly above-average fastball touches 94 mph while his curve and slider are both outstanding. He also throws an above-average changeup. He knows how to pitch and has the ability to throw all four pitches for strikes.”

I really like what I’ve seen so far of Matusz. He throws from a 3/4 arm slot, and the motion looks very smooth to me. He has excellent control, even showing it in his stint in the Majors at the end of the season. From the scouting reports I’ve seen, he has 4 solid pitches, which really bodes well for his long-term success with the Orioles. He really looks like an ace in the making.

Outlook

Matusz will start the 2010 season in the Orioles rotation barring some unforeseen complication. And I have to imagine he’s going to stay there for quite a long time, probably leading the rotation very soon.

Projection for 2010

12-8, 3.75 ERA, 175 IP, 160 strikeouts, 45 walks

Expected ETA

He’s already here. And its highly likely he’s here to stay.

Tomorrow’s Prospect for Review – Domonic Brown (OF) of the Philadelphia Phillies