Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Of these three former prospects competing for a rotation spot, there’s a chance that one might win a spot, one could win a bullpen job and a third could start the season in the minors. Or the O’s could deal from an area of strength and move on to a team looking for some pitching depth, specifically young and controllable pitchers with upside.
Speculation began early this spring in regards to the Orioles' rotation depth and pitchers that could potentially be moved.
Arrieta, Baseball Prospectus’ choice for third-ranked prospect in the organization back in 2010, has shown flashes of becoming a very good big league pitcher, but his consistency level could not catch up to the Orioles’ rise in the AL East and it was no longer viable to let him learn on the job. The 27-year-old pitched out of the ‘pen during a September call-up, walking four batters and striking out 20 in 13.1 innings, but he also allowed 10 earned runs.
Britton, who had a solid rookie season in 2011, started the year on the disabled list with a shoulder injury and didn’t make his first big league start until mid-July. The lefty had a less-than-impressive 5.07 ERA over 60.1 innings the rest of the way. He was the No. 2 prospect, according to Baseball Prospectus, in the organization heading into the 2011 season.
The real enigma is Matusz, the 4th overall pick in the 2008 draft, who appeared to have such a bright future ahead of him. After posting a 4.37 ERA in his first 40 big league starts with a 3.1 BB/9 and 7.3 K/9, he struggled badly as a starting pitcher and didn't start to look comfortable again until a short stint out of the bullpen last season (1.35 ERA, 13.1 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 19 K). The 26 year-old has had a good spring, too (10 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 11 K), and is in the mix for a rotation spot.
The expected arrivals of the new crop of top-pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, in the near future make it more likely that the O’s explore deals for at least one of the aforementioned trio.
Projected rotation: J. De La Rosa, J. Chacin, D. Pomeranz, C. Volstad, J. Francis
Projected rotation: B. Norris, L. Harrell, J. Lyles, P. Humber, E. Bedard
Projected rotation: V. Worley, S. Diamond (DL stint likely), K. Correia, M. Pelfrey, L. Hendriks, C. De Vries
San Diego Padres
Projected rotation: E. Volquez, C. Richard, J. Marquis, E. Stults, F. Garcia