Brian Matusz / LHP / reliever
Matusz, a left-hander, was the fourth overall selection in the 2008 amateur draft. He signed late, and didn’t make his first professional appearance until 2009. Matusz then reached the major leagues after just 19 minor league starts. He’s young, and he looks younger, staring at home plate from underneath his flat-brimmed O’s hat.
Matusz shot through the Orioles system with a low to mid-90s fastball. However, his heater has really fallen off in 2011 and it barely touches 90 mph nowadays. He attempts to work the corners with this pitch, including inside to RHs.
Matusz seems to use his changeup as his second pitch. It travels with the same movement of his fastball, just a few mph slower. He has decent control of the changeup, meaning he can throw it for strikes. However, he hasn’t shown the plus control needed to hit the corners consistently. The pitch has been left over the heart of the plate too often.
Matusz’ third and fourth pitches are his slider and curveball. The slider looks like a plus strikeout pitch. He throws it in the low-80s consistently, but can bust it inside on RHs at 84 mph when going for the swing and miss. Brian has used his curveball as a change of pace pitch.
In 2011, Matusz battled finger and oblique issues and has now spent much of the season at AAA. 9/7/11
[fastball(86-90), changeup(81-84), slider(81-84), curve(74-75)]
Jason Hammel / RHP / starter
Cut from his high school varsity squad, he has certainly embarrassed that head coach. Hammel can bring low-90s heat with decent movement. His changeup looks like his next best offering, getting movement from his good arm action. Hammel throws two different breaking balls as well. He has a curveball that gets good 12 to 6 drop, but like many pitchers, he has a hard time controlling it. Lastly, Hammel's slider is used fairly often, but it doesn't appear to get very good bite. 4/29/08 CSJ
[fastball(89-93), changeup(83-84), curve(74-76), slider(81-85)]
Zach Britton / LHP / starter
Britton comes to the Orioles as a 3rd round draft pick out of Texas' Weatherford High School. The left-hander has steadily climbed the prospect lists as he improved during each of his five minor league seasons.
Britton's success starts with his excellent sinking fastball. He throws his 2-seamer in the low-90s and gets significant arm side drop, but when thrown to his glove side it flattens out. Zach also spins a plus mid-80s slider and a fading changeup. He'll throw the slider to LHs and RHs, going strictly glove side with it. Britton saves the changeup for RHs and isn't afraid to throw it on back-to-back pitches. 7/4/11
[2-seam fastball(89-94), slider(82-86), changeup(84-87)]
Jake Arrieta / RHP / starter
Like most young pitchers, Arrieta is a fastball/breaking ball guy. The former Horned Frog owns a strong low to mid-90s fastball that makes him a tough at bat. Arrieta's power curve and tight slider both have the potential to be plus pitches. Jake's fourth offering is his sinking changeup.
Arrieta was drafted three times before he finally signed with the Orioles in 2007, receiving a $1.1M signing bonus. 6/9/11
[fastball(91-95), curve(76-80), slider(85-89), changeup(86-89)]
Tommy Hunter / RHP / reliever
Hunter is a big man. He muscles a fastball that can touch 95 mph, but he usually pitches in the low-90s. Tommy's primary weapon is his cutter. He can dart this pitch inside on the bat handle of LHs, or get some weak contact out of swinging RHs. Hunter also throws a hard curveball that he'll vary the velocity and tilt with. Hunter will throw a changeup to try and keep batters honest, but it's just a show pitch.
Hunter was a supplemental first round draft pick in 2007 out of the University of Alabama. He then rose through the minor league ranks quickly by showing good control at every level.
Little Tommy won back-to-back Junior Olympic judo championships when he was 11 and 12 years old. Hunter then went on to play for USA Baseball in 2006, where he won yet another international championship. 8/14/11
[fastball(90-95), cutter(88-91), curve(76-83), changeup(85-86)]
Jim Johnson / RHP / closer
Jim Johnson throws a low-90s fastball out of an awkward snapping action of his right arm. He seems to spot the pitch well, and has found a way to make the fastball move a ton. Johnson's changeup has become his best secondary pitch. Big Jim can make the changeup dive like a splitter and will make hitters look foolish when it's going well. Johnson has a big breaking curveball as his third pitch and he's become a good option out of the Baltimore bullpen. 6/9/11
[fastball(93-98), curve(77-82), changeup(85-89)]
Chris Tillman / RHP / starter
Tillman, one of the players the Orioles received in the Erik Bedard deal, has reached the majors at only 21 years old. He's a former 2nd round draft pick out of high school, who has the classic pitcher's body. He's tall, thin, and throws a good fastball directly over-the-top. He can reach the mid to upper-90s with it, however, it looks extremely flat. Tillman is known for his curveball, a 12 to 6 pitch that can be tough to make contact with. In his first major league start, he surprisingly showed a good straight changeup. 8/1/09 CSJ
[fastball(90-96), curve(77-81), changeup(79-83)]
Pedro Strop / RHP / setup reliever
Strop is a hard-throwing Dominican who is constantly battling his control as much as he battles the hitters. His stuff is excellent, he tops out in the upper-90s and has a biting slider. His minor league career began as a weak hitting infielder before making the switch to the mound. 5/14/11
Joe Saunders / LHP / starter
Saunders was a 1st round pick out of Virginia Tech and steadily rose up Anaheim's minor league ladder. His fastball is very hittable, but he controls it well. He prefers to use his changeup as his second pitch, while dropping his curveball in for strikes against unsuspecting hitters. His distant fourth pitch is a slider that I've seen him use against tough LHs.
When Joe's career ends, he will mostly be remembered for pitching with his Virginia Tech hat after the campus shootings in 2007. 5/17/11
[fastball(85-91), changuep(78-82), curve(74-78), slider(80-83)]
Darren O'Day / RHP / reliever
O'Day deals a moving fastball and slider, both from a 1/2 arm angle. The velocity on his fastball is lacking, but it's the sidearm motion that creates enough deception to get outs. His slider seems surprisingly flat compared to other sidewinders. 8/19/09 CSJ
[sidearm fastball(83-88), slider(75-79), changeup]
Daniel Schlereth / LHP / reliever
Schlereth has been a relief pitcher since college, when he closed for the University of Arizona. The son of a NFL lineman made himself into a 1st round draft pick but has yet to produce much at the major league level.
Schlereth uses a standard fastball / curve combination, but has a little more "stuff" than the average left-hander. His fastball sits in the low-90s, but it's his curveball that gives him a chance to be an asset in the bullpen. The curve is a swing-and-miss pitch and when he's throwing it near the strike zone, he can be effective. Schlereth has shown me a changeup in the past, but rarely breaks it out. 9/16/11
[fastball(90-94), curve(78-82), changeup]
Troy Patton / LHP / reliever
[fastball(89-91), changeup(79-82), slider(80-82), curve(74)]