According to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, Baltimore Orioles starter Brian Matusz will miss three to six weeks with a strained intercostal muscle.
Zack Britton will take Matusz’ spot in the rotation, making his major league debut on Sunday against the Rays.
Britton is the Orioles’ No. 2 prospect, according to Baseball America. The 23-year-old southpaw has made major strides since being drafted in the third round out of high school in 2006.
An extreme ground-ball pitcher, Britton featured the “best sinker in the minor leagues,” again according to Baseball America, to go along with a low 90s fastball, a plus slider and a serviceable changeup.
In 153 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last season, Britton led Orioles farmhands in ERA (2.70), while posting a 1.23 WHIP, 7.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.
In February, Baseball America ranked Britton as the No. 28 prospect overall—one spot ahead of Blue Jays right-hander Kyle Drabek.
Britton offers No. 2 starter upside long-term, but he’ll certainly experience the typical highs and lows of a rookie pitcher in 2011. He’s not a safe play in his major league debut against the Rays, but could offer value in mixed leagues afterwards, depending on his performance.
Given that Baltimore’s rotation is very thin—Justin Duchscherer is also currently on the DL, recovering from hip surgery—Britton could stick if he pitches well over the next few weeks.
Monitor this situation closely.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: FANTASY BASEBALL INSIDERS
Fantasy Baseball Insiders’ 2011 Big Board:
2011 Position Rankings:
Latest from Fantasy Baseball Insiders:
- Matt Holliday Out Indefinitely: Fantasy Impact
- Panic Over John Axford’s Opening Day Blown Save?
- Opening Day Waiver Wire Fliers
- 2011 All-Breakout Team
- Prospect Report: Giants’ Brandon Belt Wins Starting Job
- The Top 10 Rookies in 2011
Previous articles from Fantasy Baseball Insiders:
- 2011 Closer’s Corner: 16 MLB Teams Have a New Source for Saves
- 2011 Closer’s Corner: Papelbon, Cordero & Rivera Are the Only Reliable Options
- The Verducci Effect: Why 11 Pitchers 25-and-Younger May Regress
- 2011 MLB Team-By-Team Spring Training Injury Report
- Keeper Conundrum: Bryce Harper or Mike Trout?
- The Sub-2.50 ERA Curse: Why Five Elite Starting Pitchers May Regress in 2011
- 2010 Batting Average on Balls in Play Leaders: What to Expect in 2011?