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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Scouting Report, LHP Brian Matusz

This 23 year old lefty was ranked #17 on the top 100 prospect list coming into this year. "His biggest strength is a lack of weaknesses, as he has four offerings that rate as average or above and the ability to throw any of them for strikes." - Baseball Prospectus 2010. Scouts also went on to say that this spring he was the best pitcher they had seen, not prospect, but best pitcher.

He was the 1st pitcher taken in the 2008 draft (4th overall) and was signed to a major league contract worth 3.47 million. He went from pitching at the University of San Diego to Yankee Stadium in a year. On top of his already mentioned repertoire, his best trait may be his make-up. Team officials raved last year how he made adjustments mid-game and is described as a winner.  In the minors before being called up last year, he was 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 19 starts. He had 121 k's in 113 innings, and only 32 walks. He made eight starts for the O's last year and went 5-2 with a 4.63 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. He struck out 7.6/9 and walked < 2.9/9. His best comp is David Price.

He sits in the low 90s with his fastball, but can touch 95, and complements it with both a curve and a slider, as well as an outstanding change-up that is a true swing-and-miss pitch (which is the best in the Orioles system). He has increased his use of his fastball this year to 67% and decreased his slider to 7%.

So far this year he's shown signs of brilliance (7 shutout innings versus the Indians), but he's also struggled as he's become a drastic fly-ball pitcher that has been a problem in Camden Yards (7 HRs in 67 innings). He has a 2-6 record in 12 starts this year, with a 5.10 ERA and 1.58 WHIP. Believe me, he is a better pitcher than that stat line. He has been extremely unlucky with a .353 BAPIP which is due for a serious regression, as well as a low strand rate (67%). He still is striking out > 7.6/9 and walking 3.6/9 (slight increase from last year). His biggest problem has been his low ground-ball rate (32% vs 48% in the minors). The other problem is that last year he threw his curve for a strike 58% and had a swing and miss rate of 8.3 % (league average); this year it's only a strike 52% of the time, and the whiff rate is 6.1%. He has however increased his use of his change-up this year, and it has an outstanding whiff rate of 21%.

This guy is a future #1 starter, and just like I said with Mat Latos, he is still inconsistent, but on any given day, he can dominate. Hopefully today isn't one of those days.

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