Oriole fans should get happy. Their patience is going to be rewarded. The overhaul of the Baltimore pitching rotation is almost complete. The team boasted a troika of top 100 pitching prospects going into the season, and one of those pitchers is 2008 first round pick Brian Matusz, who made a solid debut last night against the Detroit Tigers.
Outside of somewhat of a rocky 2nd inning in which he walked a pair of batters, Matusz did an exceptional job of mixing his pitches and locations, keeping Tiger hitters off-balance. He allowed six hits against five strikeouts and three walks to pick up his first big league W. Let’s take a quick look at his repertoire through Pitch F/X.
First, a movement graph:
Matusz throws both four-seam and two-seam fastballs. The four-seamers are the straighter pitch; the two-seamer is the one with more sink and tail. Rather than breaking both pitches out I just lumped all his fastballs together, but you get the idea. His fastball topped at 94 MPH and averaged 92 MPH. He also mixed in a change-up, slider and a curve. All look to be about average, which –- surprise, surprise — accurately matches his scouting reports.
And now some flight paths, which you can click on to enlarge:
What really sets Matusz apart is that he has more command than your average call-up. Known for being the most polished pitcher in the 2008 draft, the southpaw posted a phenomenal strikeout to walk ratio of 141 to 22 his final season at San Diego. Between High-A and the Double-A level, he has nearly a K/BB rate of nearly 4:1 while getting plenty of whiffs –- 121 in 113 innings.
While Matusz doesn’t necessarily blow anyone away in terms of pure stuff, he’s just so freakishly polished for a 22-year old. It should only get better from here.