It seems in the past few years you couldn't see or hear Arrieta's name without commas separating his from Matusz and Tillman. As in "Matusz, Tillman and Arrieta will bring about the Orioles turn around."
But flash back to four years ago. Arrieta was the 20-year old ace of the Texas Christian Horned Frogs team that won the Mountain West Conference. As said ace, he won 14 games for the Frogs, a little more than a third of the 39 that the team won.
He struck out a whopping 111 batters in the same number of innings, and led the team in most pitching categories. His 2.35 ERA was second in conference.
Just like that, Arrieta's name shot up the draft boards, but he wasn't eligible for the draft for another season.
The outlook for his junior season at TCU was about as bright as it could be. He was on award watch lists, and his name was already being trumpeted as a first-round pick.
But, for some reason or another, Arrieta wasn't able to put together the kind of campaign he did in 2006. His numbers were still good (9-3 3.01 ERA), but his strikeouts dipped, and his walks almost doubled. More important, he started the same number of games as the previous year, but pitched nearly 15 innings less.
In addition, his velocity dropped, and his once steady command appeared to be wavering.