How Will Jake Arrieta's Debut Compare To Recent Orioles Rookies'?
Orioles' top pitching prospect Jake Arrieta will make his Major League debut this evening, taking on the vaunted Yankees.
Arrieta will become the 11th pitcher to make his first big league start in the past four years for the Orioles, and he's looking to continue a strong string of starts from the 2009 rookie class that included Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, David Hernandez, Koji Uehara, Brad Bergesen and Jason Berken.
He's also looking to avoid the control issues that have struck down other touted O's prospects in their debuts.
Hopefully, for O's fans, he'll go all Stephen Strasburg on the Yankees. Unfortunately, he doesn't get to make his debut against the Pirates.
So, here are the ten other Orioles' debuts of note in the past four years.
Garrett Olson—July 4, 2007
Olson was a supplemental round pick out of the 2005 draft, and he rocketed through the minors, showing plus command, and excellent poise.
It all came together for him on July 4th, when he was called upon to make his big league debut against the Chicago White Sox.
Olson looked both insanely dominant, and ridiculously lost, as he only managed to make it through 4.1 innings. His pitch count absorbed a lot of damage thanks to the five walks he issued, and while he managed to strike out four batters, he was still given the hook.
Luckily, the O's bats were on that day, and the team managed to pull out a 9-6 win.
Olson finished out the season in the rotation, but couldn't string together decent starts, and his once sterling command abandoned him.
He left Baltimore with a 10-13 record, and now moonlights as a Seattle Mariner.
Radhames Liz—August 25, 2007
Few pitchers came up with the hype that Liz did.
He had it all. A blazing fastball, a fabulous breaking-ball, and a really weird shoulder pop thing.
Unfortunately, you can add Liz's name to the list of Oriole prospects that fizzled out due to lack of control.
On the night of his debut he was matched up against a young up and coming ace, Matt Garza of the Twins. Liz got no run support, and was tagged with the loss after giving up five runs over six innings.
He did manage to show some heat, striking out five Twins, but his control issues reared their head, and he issued three walks.
Liz didn't get much better, finishing the year with an ERA near 7.00. He only struck out one more batter than he walked, and ended the year in the bullpen.
Liz finished his Orioles' career 8-11 and moved on to the San Diego Padres.
Chris Waters—August 5, 2008
Soft-tossing lefty Chris Waters had probably the most impressive Major League debut of any of these rookie pitchers.
On a gorgeous August night, Waters shut down the Angels for eight-innings. He only surrendered one hit and kept the Los Angeles hitters off-balance with his high 80s heat.
He did walk three batters, and only recorded three Ks, but he never really made his game on striking people out. He also plunked a batter.
He picked up the win, but only managed to recapture that glory once more, in mid-September, when he tossed a complete game shutout against the Blue Jays.
Waters finished the season out with the Orioles, but only saw action with the big league club for five games the next season, and eventually moved on to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Alfredo Simon—September 23, 2008
Simon actually notched two relief appearances before making his Major League debut against the Rays of Tampa Bay.
Simon displayed some nasty stuff, high heat, and pretty good command, striking out six batters over 7.2 innings. He surrendered three earned runs, and walked none, but the Rays still got the better of the O's in a 7-5 win.
Simon scattered seven hits, and gave up a solo home run to rookie Evan Longoria.
Simon, obviously, is still with the O's and is the closest thing they have to a closer. He should come off the DL sometime within the next week or so.
April 8, 2009—Koji Uehara
The Orioles tried to make a splash on the international market by signing Uehara before the 2009 season.
He made his debut on April 6, 2009 against the Yankees.
He pitched reasonably well, going five innings. He only gave up one run, but allowed three stolen bases.
He ended up picking up the win when the O's bats erupted for five runs in the fourth innings.
April 21, 2009—Brad Bergesen
Everyone knew 2009 was going to be the year of Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, and Matt Wieters.
What everyone had no clue about was that Brad Bergesen was going to beat them all to the bigs.
He finished off a whirlwind ride through AA and AAA, and arrived in Baltimore on April 21st in time for a date with the White Sox.
Bergesen turned in a very Bergesen-like performance, tossing 5.2 innings, allowing only one earned run, while striking out four, walking two, and inducing 13 ground-balls.
May 26, 2009—Jason Berken
Berken was the second arm to arrive in 2009, and definitely the least heralded of the bunch.
Known as an innings eater, Berken plodded through the system before arriving in Baltimore for his debut on May 26th.
Berken got his season off to a good start, tossing five innings of two-run ball. Luckily the offense scored him seven runs.
He walked three, struck out three and got 13 fly-outs.
May 28, 2009—David Hernandez
Hernandez rode the shuttle up from Norfolk to make his big league debut two days after Berken, and followed suit by becoming the fourth Oriole rookie to win his first start in 2009.
Hernandez also took on the Tigers, and also pitched 5.2 innings.
Primarily known as a strikeout pitcher in the minors, Hernandez only notched three strikeouts, struggled with his command, and walked four.
The Orioles won 5-1.
July 29, 2009—Chris Tillman
Aside from Wieters' debut, no 2009 debut was regarded with such fanfare.
Tillman struggled with his command against a Royals team that teed off of him for three homers.
He only struck out two, but only walked one.
Ultimately, he failed to make it out of the fifth inning. He wasn't saddled with the loss, however, due to the five runs the O's scored after the 6th inning.
August 4, 2009—Brian Matusz
Last but not least, was Brian Matusz.
Matusz wasn't supposed to be up so soon, but he dominated Low-A ball, and was nearly unhittable at AA, so the O's jumped him straight to Baltimore for his debut on August 4th.
Matusz faced off against Jarrod Washburn, who was in the midst of a very good season. Matusz outdueled the savvy veteran, tossing five innings of one-run ball, striking out five.
He needed 99 pitches to make it through the five innings, but the three walks didn't help.
Matusz earned the win in the 8-2 triumph.