29-Year-Old Pitcher – Baltimore Orioles
2016 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
The Orioles toyed with the idea of returning Matusz to being a starter last spring before opting to stick with him in the bullpen, where he had another productive season. Matusz was particularly deadl...
Brian Matusz Contract Information:
Agreed to a one-year, $3.9 million contract with the Orioles in February of 2016, avoiding arbitration.
Matusz and the Orioles agreed to a one-year, $3.9 million contract Thursday, avoiding arbitration, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports.
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Brian Matusz Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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2015 Stat Review for Brian Matusz As compared to the top 100 relief pitchers in 2015 (min 55 in)
A collection of stats that measure different skills.
A few general measures of a pitcher's effectiveness.
Balls in play avg. and % of runners left stranded.
Baltimore Orioles Roster
MajorsAlvarez, Dariel (OF)
AAAAlmanzar, Michael (3B)
AAAdditon, Nicholas (P)
A+Esposito, Jason (3B)
ADosch, Drew (3B)
RookieCleavinger, Garrett (P)
Brian Matusz: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
When the Orioles made Matusz the fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft, expectations were understandably high. Even then, if you had the thought that a converted left-handed starter would take over as the team's closer in 2014, Matusz surely would have been that closer rather than Zach Britton. Nevertheless, it was Britton who locked down the ninth inning while the Orioles secured their AL East title, and Matusz was part of the bridge to the ninth inning for the second straight season. In two years as a reliever, Matusz has fanned a batter per inning while posting a slightly lower walk rate than he did as a starter. There are still flaws, however, including his flyball tendencies in a park that bolsters right-handed power, and in his struggles against righties overall (.275/.351/.525). Perhaps something clicked in the second half, as Matusz held the opposition to a .192/.344/.346 line over 19 innings after the All-Star break, but in an era where a LOOGY can land a three-year, $15 million deal, Matusz could find plenty of long-term security even if he doesn't solve righties.
Matusz has transitioned from a failed starter to one of the better left-handed relievers in the league. The Orioles may still be disappointed given Matusz was once a No. 4 overall draft pick who breezed through the minors and 51 good innings in 2013 does not provide much bang for the buck. At the request of Matusz, he will compete as a starter in spring training. There is sleeper potential for Matusz if he is a starter, but the Orioles may realize they are best served with him out of the bullpen. Further, his splits against righties, who hit .302/.375/.372 against him last season, reveal a major potential pitfall if he's overexposed in a multiple-inning role with a move back into the rotation.
There was a time that Matusz was supposed to be the crown jewel among several top flight pitching prospects in Baltimore's system. Instead Matusz followed a horrendous 2011 with a subpar first half in 2012. After he lost five games in a row, Matusz was sent down and converted to be a reliever that the Orioles could use down the stretch. Matusz flourished in the role, allowing three runs in 24 appearances spanning 18 innings, including the playoffs, where he threw in all six games. Now the Orioles have a decision to make - attempt to return Matusz to the rotation or continue to use him as a lefty specialist. There will be starters in spring training that had better seasons as a starter than Matusz, so he will really need to wow the coaching staff if he plans on returning to the rotation.
Most Orioles pitchers had a down year in 2011; Matusz completely imploded. The 24-year-old set the single-season record for highest ERA (minimum 40 IP), posting a 10.69 ERA in 12 starts with the Orioles. His mid-90s fastball devolved into a high-80s cookie and hitters routinely teed off. Matusz allowed an unreal 18 home runs in 12 short starts. Injuries may have been the culprit, however, as he battled an intercostal strain early in the year and experienced hamstring trouble soon after returning from the disabled list. It seems like Matusz may be back to Triple-A for 2012 to work out the kinks - he'll need to regain the velocity to recoup his top prospect status.
On the surface, Matusz's season looks pretty mediocre, but keep in mind that he posted a league average ERA as a rookie in the AL East while pitching for a sub-.500 team. His strikeout rate dipped to 7.3 K/9IP innings pitched, and his walk rate went up 3.2 BB/9IP. Some adjustments have to be made both due to the level of competition and his lack of experience (remember, he skipped Triple-A entirely after pitching just 51.2 innings at Double-A Bowie). But when you look at Matusz's numbers, consider the steps that fellow division pitchers Clay Buchholz and Phil Hughes had to take before they reached their current level. Matusz has another level to reach, even if he doesn't quite get there in 2011.
The top pitching talent in the 2008 draft, Matusz started the season in High-A, moved to Double-A, and skipped Triple-A altogether in his rise to the Orioles. He finally showed growing pains in Baltimore, but closed the season with three strong starts. Matusz has four pitches that can be effective at the major league level and having last season under his belt should pay dividends in the long run. Don't expect a painless transition, but there is no finer rookie pitcher to bank on in 2010.
The second overall pick in the 2008 draft, Matusz was regarded by many to be the top talent available. He should also be ready for the majors sooner than most of his peers. He had a good but not great season in the Arizona Fall League and will probably start the year at High-A, with a good chance of moving through the system quickly. Don't bank on a debut this season, but he should get a chance in Baltimore by 2010. Matusz will be among the top pitchers taken in most keeper leagues.