Matusz joins Tillman in the majors

Matusz (Samara Pearlstein)

With the recalling of Brian Matusz, Matusz is now the fifth player from the 2008 draft to debut in the major leagues. He does so with a mid-90s fastball with an above average curve and slider, with his changeup as his best pitch, according to Matusz himself.

Matusz throws from the 3/4 arm slot and as I type this is showing some deception during his start against the Detroit Tigers. At a listed 6’5″, 200 lbs, he is very wiry and could stand to pack on some pounds, something that should eventually happen as he settles into a major league routine.

Matusz needed less than one year to prove he belonged in the bigs. Starting the year out with High-A Frederick, he started 11 times and posted a 2.16 ERA. An eight-gamer in Double-A Bowie did nothing to dispel the myths that he was one of the best left-handed prospects in the game, checking in at a 1.55 ERA. All told, he averaged 2.5 walks per nine innings while whiffing 9.6. He has the potential to reach those numbers at the major league level, but it will likely take a couple years to do so.

Together with Chris Tillman, also recently recalled, the duo should pair up to provide one of the most devastating 1-2 punches in the major leagues over the next five years.

Next year will be a year in transition for the Orioles, who will get a full year of Matusz and Tillman while also breaking in Jake Arrieta and Brandon Erbe to give the Orioles a light at the end of the tunnel to all their pitching woes of recent years.

With a young, dynamic outfield offense and Matt Wieters behind the plate, the next one and a half years should be extremely exciting to watch the team develop and come together. Don’t rule out a run for the postseason in 2012. It’ll be difficult in what promises to be a brutal AL East for the forseeable future, but the Orioles are stacked with young players sure to be legitimate stars.

Take a look at what one projected rotation and lineup in 2012 could be:

SP Matusz, Tillman, Arrieta and two of Erbe, Radhames Liz, Jeremy Guthrie, David Hernandez, Brad Bergesen

C Matt Wieters, 1B Brandon Snyder, 2B Brian Roberts, SS (the one big hole), 3B Josh Bell, LF Nolan Reimold, CF Adam Jones, RF Nick Markakis, DH Luke Scott.

That’s a pretty scary team. Invest in a solid, league-average shortstop and I could see the Orioles in the playoffs for an appreciable length of time.

Once baseball returns in Baltimore, they could see themselves returning to their big-market ways and here to stay.

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