Who? What about Justin Smoak? What about James Beckham? Was Yonder Alonso still on the board?? These are the questions that rang out by the Oriole faithful when Andy MacPhail and company chose the lefty out of the University of San Diego.
But how does this translate to the future of the Oriole franchise? Let’s take a deeper look.
Was this the right choice? Only time will tell. This is the blueprint that MacPhail follows when he builds a team from the ground up. Trust MacPhail. His track record shows he prefers to stockpile young starting pitchers and then add the free agent slugger.
From most scouting reports Matusz is the real deal. He is projected to be a top of the rotation pitcher that will make an impact as soon as 2010. Armed with a fastball that tops out in the low to mid 90’s and a array of off-speed pitches, he does what most kids his age can not do – pitch “backwards”. Most pitchers with a hint of talent often take a few years to understand the art of pitching. They rely on their fastball, try to throw it through a brick wall and get lit up. Some of the best pitchers in baseball understand how to change speeds and use pitches other than the fastball. This should make the every day O’s fan happy.
It is a gamble when drafting future stars in major league baseball and unlike the NFL or the NBA it will take time to reap the rewards of a great draft class.
Smaok, Beckham and Alonso were very intriguing picks at the time, no question. However they hold as much promise as a 62nd round choice out of Miami-Dade Community College that was drafted as a favor. That player was one of the best hitting catchers of all time named Mike Piazza.
So what does this mean by having the current influx of young starters to the Oriole Franchise?
It means the Orioles have the luxury of not having to rush any young arms to the bigs. Was Hayden Penn ready at age 20 in 2005? No. Was Daniel Cabrera ready at age 22 in 2004? No. Now the Orioles are in position to do what they want with the young arms they have.
With the young arms that MacPhail is stockpiling, the Oriole faithful should look at the farm with great hope for the future.