With Matusz Signed, What Will Baltimore Look Like In 2011?

Bleacher Report Senior Writer IAugust 16, 2008

Yesterday, the Baltimore Orioles signed top draft pick and left handed starting pitcher Brian Matusz (matt-is). With Matusz signed, the O's have an incredibly talented nucleus of starting pitchers in the minor leagues.

General manager Andy MacPhail has done a heck of a job building this team for the future. In the offseason, he admitted the team needs to "rebuild" and forget about being good now, they need to think ahead. He was right. The O's traded away stars who have eaten up the O's payroll in the past, Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada. In return, the O's got nine young guys who all are having success.

The O's are also shopping the veterans left on the team such as Kevin Millar, Aubrey Huff, Jay Payton, Brian Roberts, and Jamie Walker. It is clear MacPhail is completely redoing this Orioles team.

The O's have some incredible talent in the minors that fans are nervously waiting to see. They have some power hitters, a couple tablesetters, a load of starters, some closers and long relief guys who could make an impact.

On offense, they have some incredible players in the minor leagues. They have Joseph Nowicki, Matt Angle, Brandon Snyder, Billy Rowell, Brandon Tripp, Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Luis Montanez, Michael Costanzo, Calvin Lester, and Blake Davis, who should all be with the team eventually.

The pitchers are even more impressive. They have some solid starters such as Zachary Britton, Sean Gleason, Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez, Chris Tillman, Jason Berken, Radhames Liz, Tony Butler, Kenny Moreland, Zach Clark, Mick Mattaliano, and Kam Mickolio. And now, they have Brian Matusz.

The most amazing thing to me about it is-the lineup is so mixed up. They have a bunch of power hitters in there, they have a few guys who can leadoff and be the tablesetter, maybe even steal some bases. They also have some old school guys-guys who can field perfectly and can hit for average.

You have lots of talent in that lineup. You got Angle, who has 4 homers and 35 steals. You have Snyder, who had 12 homers, 74 RBI and a .310 batting average. Nowicki has 18 homers and 67 RBI. Rowell is just 19 years of age and is showing it. He is hitting just .234 with 6 homers and 41 RBI, but is doing better lately. Then there's Tripp, a Carolina League All-Star. Right now, Tripp has 14 homers and 57 RBI. Wieters, Reimold, and Montanez highlight a stacked Baysox lineup. Wieters is the O's minor league player of the year, obviously. The guy has 24 homers, 83 RBI, and a .349 average. Oh, by the way, he was rated as the O's top defensive catcher. Reimold was rated as the O's top outfield arm. He can hit a baseball, as well. He's got 19 homers, 72 RBI and a .286 batting clip. Then there's Montanez, who leads the Eastern League in EIGHT categories. Before being called up, he had 26 homers, 97 RBI and a .335 average. Then there's Costanzo, an acquistion in the Tejada trade. The 24 year old 3rd basemen has moved up a level every year in the minors. For Triple-A Norfolk, he has 11 homers and 50 runs knocked in. Then there's Calvin Lester, the Ironbirds left fielder. He is hitting just .242 with 10 RBI, but was rated as the O's top baserunner. He has 16 bags swiped. He could be the O's leadoff man of the future along with Angle.

The pitchers have a butt-load of potential. Zach Britton is having a great year for Delmarva. He is 10-6 with a 3.06 ERA. The 20 year old lefty also has a .222 opponents average. Sean Gleason is having the best year of any O's minor league pitcher in my opinion. He has a beyond belief record of 10-1. He also has a 2.80 earned run average. The most astonishing thing to me is his hits in comparison to innings. In 132 innings of work, he has allowed just 109 hits. Arrieta has been the biggest steal the O's have had in a draft, in a while. He was supposed to be a mid first round guy and the O's snagged him in the fifth. For Frederick, he was 6-5 with a 2.87 earned run average. I say was, because he won't pitch for Frederick again. He is with the US Olympic team and won't pitch in the minors for the rest of the year. Bergesen has been incredible as well. He is 16-4 with a 2.89 ERA. He could use work on the hits-his OBA is .249, which is not very good compared to other prospects.  David Hernandez is a hidden gem. The 23 year old is 8-4 with a solid ERA of 2.59. His K-BB ratio and H-IP ratio is great. He has 150 punchouts and just 50 walks. He has done all of this in just 125 innings, where he has allowed just 98 hits. Tillman is a fine young prospect. He is just 20 and is in Double-A! The Eastern League All Star is 8-4 with a 3.49 ERA. He has struck out 131 in 118 innings. Jason Berken is the best #5 pitcher in the minors for the O's. He is 10-3 with a 3.74 ERA. A #5? Radhames Liz has been called up this year and struggled, and has struggled in the minors, but has the best fastball of any O's pitcher. For Triple-A Norfolk, he is 2-7, but his 3.99 ERA proves he gets no run support. Tony Butler was a part of the Erik Bedard trade. For Delmarva, Butler is 3-4 with a 4.42 ERA, but is a tall guy with a dominant fastball. Kenny Moreland is the only Bluefield Oriole on this list. But he is that good. The 22 year old is 5-3 with a 3.18 earned run average. In his last start, he threw a shutout through seven. Zach Clark has been on every O's minor league team, and has been on four minor league teams this year. Right now, he is 6-7 with a 3.62 ERA. He could be with the O's next year, as he was 1-2 for Norfolk earlier and got some experience. Kam Mickolio is the brightest set up man the O's have. Also acquired in the Bedard trade, Mickolio has a 0.52 ERA for Norfolk in 17 innings. He has allowed just seven hits. Mick Mattaliano is the closest thing the O's have to a closer in the minors. He is 2-2 with an ERA around one and over 20 saves.

And lets not forget Troy Patton. This guy was the Astros #1 prospect before being traded to the O's in a deal that sent Tejada to Houston. Patton is injured and out for the year, but had a 3.55 ERA for Houston last year. The O's fans are looking forward to Patton, and hopefully, all these minor leaguers.