We’ve been loading up on young pitching talent the last few years through drafts and trades. Even with our good offensive and defensive outfield, Wieters, and the other position prospects coming up such as Brandon Snyder, it means nothing if our pitchers don’t develop. Our young pitching core coming along through our organization have been ranked one of the top in the nation. With yesterday being a off day, and these west coast games being so late, lets take a look at how they’re progressing.
Chris Tillman– Tillman was included in the steal trade with Adam Jones from the Mariners. He was selected in the second round of the 2006 draft. According to Baseball America, Tillman is the second best prospect in our organization. Currently, Tillman is 5-1, 1.88 ERA and destroying the triple-A hitters. It’s going to be really hard keeping him in the minors with them stats.
Brian Matusz– The Orioles selected Matusz 4th overall in the 2008 draft. The way he is pitching I wouldn’t be surprised if he is promoted to Bowie soon. Matusz has given up one earned run or less in his last four out of five starts. His last two starts he’s thrown a 7 inning shutouts and probably making his time shorter in single-A. His statistics, 4-2, 2.37 ERA are showing that he is ready to do bigger things.
Jake Arrieta– Drafting Arrieta in the 5th round of the 2007 draft may have been the biggest steal of 2007. If the Orioles, and most likely will be below .500 by the second half of the season I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d get called up. In Double-A Bowie, he has striked 33 batters in last 25 2/3 innings. With that kind of production you can tell he knows how to pitch. He is currently 5-3, 2.94 ERA. With the Tides starting rotation currently thin, maybe he will be promoted until his second half of the season call-up.
Troy Patton– We received Patton in the trade with Luke Scott from Houston for Tejada. Last season, Patton spent the season on the DL with a left labrum tear. Patton is pitching in Double-A Bowie trying to regain his arm strength. Many thought that Patton would take a while to get back on track, but, 6-2, 1.85 ERA is nothing to overlook. His pitching has been awesome, and will only get better as his arm comes back to full strength. He is somebody that I predict in the rotation next season.
Brandon Erbe– I truly believed that Erbe was a steal when we drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2005 draft. His velocity fell his senior year in high school, but it looked like it came back his first start in the minors a few years ago. I still think Erbe was a steal and he has a chance to join the major league roster in a year or two, but in the pen. He was dominating Double-A Bowie with 1-3, 0.90 ERA until he was put on the DL with shoulder fatigue, which makes me believe he would be a better fit in our bullpen.
As you can tell, we have a lot of talent rushing its way through the organization. All of them have been pitching lights out and a couple above expectation. Other than maybe Erbe all of them will probably be promoted at least one level this season. After the All-Star break we may see Tillman and Arrieta in the Orioles rotation.