Matusz joins Tillman in the majors

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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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