Hey, it’s only spring training but reports have been good, so far, on the some of the young arms of the Baltimore Orioles.
The 2011 season was an unmitigated disaster for lefty Brian Matusz. Injuries, a loss of velocity and a loss of command led to a lot of–you guessed it–losses for Matusz.
This off-season, Matusz worked hard to get himself in shape and has regained some of pace on his fastball. In his last spring start against the Phillies, he was hitting 90-91 mph on the gun and even cranked one up there at 94 mph.
A return to form for Brian Matusz does wonders for the Birds and their rotation.
Right-hander Chris Tillman has had his moments this spring, as well. The one-time former top prospect was hitting 95 mph on the gun during his last outing and is reported to be in great shape. Tillman, for the most part, has been a disappoinment at the major league level.
Maybe this is the season he lives up to his potential.
Jake Arrieta won 10 games for the Orioles last summer before an elbow injury shut him down. In his first spring appearance, Arrieta was blasting his fastball at 97 mph. If he can stay healthy and do a better job of keeping runners off base, Arrieta could have a big year.
Left-hander Zach Britton seems to be progressing well as he fights through inflammation of his throwing shoulder. Britton had some fine moments as a rookie in 2011. He is a prominent part of the Orioles future…and present.
By no means am I trying to compare this staff to the ’71 Baltimore Orioles. But if this organization is ever going turn around over a decade of losing, it’s going to have be with the starting rotation.
And with the young guys in 2012, it’s been so far, so good.