Tag: Brian Matusz

Brian Matusz Suspended for Foreign Substance: Latest Details and Reaction

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz has been suspended eight games after umpires found a foreign substance on his arm in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Miami Marlins, Major League Baseball announced Monday.

Matusz will appeal the penalty. He will be eligible to play until the appeal is heard. 

The lefty reliever was ejected in the 12th inning of Saturday’s game when Marlins manager Dan Jennings asked home plate umpire Jordan Baker to inspect Matusz’s arm. Baker and crew chief Paul Emmel then found what they described as a “foreign substance.”

“We’re not going to address the issue right now,” Matusz said after the game, per ESPN.com. “Obviously I have my own personal opinions about the issue, but right now with emotions running high we’re going to let this settle and address questions at a later time.”

Matusz is the second pitcher to be suspended in the last week for allegedly using a foreign substance. Brewers pitcher Will Smith was given an eight-game suspension after umpires found a substance on his arm in last Thursday’s 10-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Smith is also appealing his penalty.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports weighed in on the length of the penalty:

Matusz, 28, has a 1-2 record with a 3.18 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 14 appearances this season.


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Baltimore Orioles: 5 Young Players Who Will Either Step Up or Fall Flat in 2012

Any success the Baltimore Orioles have this year depends heavily on the performance of several young players trying to prove that they belong in the MLB.

If all of these players improve and have solid seasons, the Orioles will win.

If all of these players regress and have bad seasons, the Orioles will lose.

In all likelihood some of these young players will meet expectations and others will fall short.

Here is a look at five of these players and whether they will step up to the challenge or fall flat on their face. 

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Baltimore Orioles 2012: In Buck We Trust

Heading into the 2012 season there are very few reasons to be excited if you’re an Orioles fan. But to be clear, there are still things to be excited about. 


The power supply is certainly in this line-up, even if it’s a tad inconsistent (especially to compete in the AL East). But with Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, and Adam Jones  there is certainly some consistency in the top of this order. 

The problem lies in Mark Reynolds (.221), Chris Davis, (.255), and Matt Weiters (.261) driving in those ducks on the pond. 

Even with Reynolds’ 37 home runs, he was one of the least efficient sluggers in baseball (just 86 RBIs), and he continued his streak of leading the league in strikeouts with 196 (only 75 BB). This lineup will have trouble finding consistency if someone can’t become the RBI machine in the 4 spot that they need (Baltimore turns its lonely eyes to you Mr. Wieters). 

Now onto the bad news. (Wow… That was the good news?



This rotation may be one of the worst in the majors on paper. With Brian Matusz coming off of a dismal year (1-9 with an ERA of 10.69), there does not seem to be anyone ready to pick up the slack. 

Tsuyoshi Wada brings some fresh blood, but the 5’11″ 170lb lefty is 31, and with a career in the Nippon league that was at best, pretty good. I wouldn’t expect him to have a ceiling higher than 10 wins and a 4.75 ERA.

The rest of the rotation consists of youthful arms with upside with no real track record. The most intriguing is former Ranger, Tommy Hunter, who is one year removed from posting 13 wins and a 3.73 ERA. Hunter has the build of an innings eater at 6’3″ 280lbs. With some polishing, he could be the cement this rotation needs.



There isn’t a lot to look at in this department, but the few proven arms hanging around the bullpen this season all seem to have something to prove. 

Kevin Gregg is back as the de facto closer. With some success in this role, it’s his job to lose.

As far as who’ll be gunning for Gregg’s job it’ll be between perennial set-up men; lefty Darren O’Day and righty Matt Lindstrom. With Darren O’Day healthy (6-20.88 WHIP in ’10) and Matt Lindstrom a career WHIP machine (1.44) O’Day will be first in line to snatch any save opportunities not slotted for Gregg 



The Buck Truck had some bright spots last year, even if it was as a spoiler rather than a contender. Buck Showalter will have himself a slightly more confident group to mold in 2012. 

However, they are in a division with Boston, New York, and Tampa Bay, even Toronto has made strides of late (something Baltimore has only done in the uniform department. They are sweet unis though).

Finish71 – 91 (Last Place

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Baltimore Orioles: Young Pitching the Big ‘If’ Heading into 2012

Just as it was last year, the Baltimore Orioles have everything riding on the shoulders of one very fragile piece of the team:

The young pitching.

We all saw how that turned out last season. But again, we look towards a season with our team banking everything on the young arms in the system—Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz and Chis Tillman.

Arrieta and Britton pretty much have starting jobs to lose in spring training. Matusz will need to prove he’s healthy and in shape after an historically bad season in 2011. Tillman, well… The O’s would be lucky to get even a serviceable starter out of him at this point.

Even if Arrieta and Britton secure their big league rotation spots, they still need to take steps forward. And Matusz needs to return to the form he showed in late 2010, after Buck Showalter took over as manager of the team.

If those things can happen, the O’s will have an honest shot at topping .500 this season and, if they’re lucky, an outside chance at securing the Wild Card.

Looking at their lineup, it isn’t the greatest, but it isn’t terrible either. There’s plenty of teams who have had success with a lineup that isn’t nearly as productive as the Orioles’ is. The Tampa Bay Rays are one team that comes to mind. The San Francisco Giants that won the 2010 World Series is another.

Want to know why they had success?

Pitching. Young pitching. Lots of good, young pitching.

The Orioles’ defense isn’t terrible either. It could improve and it’d be nice to see it improve, but it’s okay right now, especially if we have another losing season approaching.

The offense could hold it’s own as a winning team and the defense would be acceptable. It’s the pitching, it’s always the pitching.

Everyone knows how the team performed in late 2010. That happened because the pitchers were pitching at a high level.

The O’s hovered around .500 for the first couple months of the 2011 season because the pitchers were pitching alright. They weren’t pitching wonderfully, but better than us fans had been used to seeing.

When a team’s pitching falls apart, the team falls apart. Everyone knows that.

But strong pitching can carry a team to a winning season, the playoffs and even a title.

If the young pitching decides to grow this season, the O’s could be in good shape.

If not, brace yourselves for another long season, Orioles fans.

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MLB Fantasy Baseball’s Late-Round, Draft-Day Targets: WHIP

Finding pitchers who help in the WHIP department is not always an easy task; finding one late in your draft (after Round 18) is even tougher. 

Here are five pitchers who I have projected for a 1.30 WHIP or better who are available late in your draft (based on Mock Draft Central’s ADP):


Brian Matusz – Baltimore Orioles

He may be a tough sell, considering that he is entering his second full season and is pitching in the AL East. 

Still, in the minor leagues he posted a 2.55 BB/9 and 9.64 K/9 (the higher the strikeout rate, the lower the dependence on BABIP in regards to the WHIP).

Those two numbers have the makings of an elite mark.

While he wasn’t quite that good in his rookie year, he was good enough, with a 3.23 BB/9 and 7.33 K/9. Coupled with a .292 BABIP, he posted a 1.34 WHIP. 

With a year of experience under his belt, there certainly is reason to believe that he can improve across the board. That certainly would lead to a better WHIP.

Plus, before you say it’s impossible to post a good WHIP in the AL East, just look at these marks:

  • Shaun Marcum – 1.15
  • Jeremy Guthrie – 1.16
  • Clay Buchholz – 1.20
  • Jeff Niemann – 1.26
  • Ricky Romero – 1.29

Those aren’t the Jon Lester’s or CC Sabathia’s of the world, either.

Matusz certainly has the potential and could be a great source late in your draft.


Ian Kennedy – Arizona Diamondbacks

In his first full season in the Major Leagues, Kennedy showed why he was high on the Yankees prospect list, posting a 1.20 WHIP thanks to a 3.25 BB/9 and .256 BABIP. 

Obviously, the BABIP is not realistic, though the walks are thanks to a minor league career BB/9 of 2.79.

With his ability to generate strikeouts and limit the walks, it is no wonder that he can be a good source of WHIP for fantasy owners. 

Obviously I wouldn’t count on a 1.20, but there is no reason that, with his proven skills, that he can’t provide for fantasy owners.


Jake Peavy – Chicago White Sox

There are probably a couple of reasons Peavy is being selected late in drafts. 

One is his health, as he tries to recover from a detached ligament. It’s an extremely rare injury and no one really knows exactly what to expect. 

At first, it appeared that he was going to miss at least a little time early in the season, but now that may not be the case. There also was the concern about moving to the AL, which is a very fair concern.

That is more geared towards his ERA, however, not his WHIP. 

In 107.0 innings with the White Sox in ’10 he still managed a 1.23 WHIP. He throws strikes (2.91 career BB/9) and gets strikeouts (8.93 career K/9), which helps limit the effect of BABIP. 

As it is, his BABIP the past four seasons has been between .273 and .280, helping to WHIPs of:

  • 2007 – 1.06
  • 2008 – 1.18
  • 2009 – 1.12
  • 2010 – 1.23

There’s a lot of risk, but there is also a huge potential reward.


Bronson Arroyo – Cincinnati Reds

We all know what we are getting when we select Arroyo. 

On occasion, he is going to post a real clunker. He’s not going to post much in the way of strikeouts. He is going to limit the walks.

For his career, he has a 2.73 BB/9 and in ’10 he was at 2.46. While his 1.15 from ’10 is highly unlikely (it came courtesy of a .239 BABIP), he does have a career mark of 1.31 (which is skewed from poor years in ’07 & ’08, due to inflated BABIP).

He’s a late round option for a reason, because he has very little “upside.” 

Still, if you have a staff built with strikeouts and need a steady WHIP option who is going to win games (15 or more each of the past three years), Arroyo certainly has value.


Scott Baker/Kevin Slowey – Minnesota Twins

Interestingly enough, they are competing for the Twins’ fifth starters job, which may help to explain why both are currently available in the later rounds. 

There are rumors that Slowey could be traded, which will help clear up who to target (the answer would be both of them). For now, we are going to have to monitor the news and see how it all plays out.

I believe it was two seasons ago that I wrote an article entitled “Scott Baker the WHIP Maker.” While 2010 is not the best example (1.34), he was at 1.18 and 1.19 the two previous years. He has impeccable control (2.10 career BB/9) and, if the luck returns (he had a .323 BABIP in ’10), there is no reason why he couldn’t get back to the elite numbers. 

If he wins the job (and he currently appears to be the favorite), he’s an absolute bargain.

Slowey, remarkably, is an even better control artist, with a career BB/9 of 1.50 over 473.1 innings—even with a .307 BABIP in ’10 he posted a 1.29 WHIP. 

He is more of a fly ball pitcher (50.6 percent fly ball rate in ’10), so a trade would have a huge impact on his potential value. 

Regardless, with his control, he could be a monster WHIP option.


What are your thoughts of these options? Would you target any of them? Is there someone else you would look at late in your draft to help with WHIP?


Make sure to order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here.

Make sure to check out our previous late round articles:


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Brian Matusz Destined to Become the Ace of the Baltimore Orioles Rotation

In 2008, the Baltimore Orioles banked on the University of San Diego’s stand out pitcher Brian Matusz becoming the future ace of their starting rotation and in 2011 there’s a very good chance that future is now.

Baltimore would select Matusz with their first round pick of the 2008 Major League Baseball draft. This lead to extensive and exhausting contract negotiations that would ultimately end with Matusz and his agent finally agreeing to terms with the O’s on the last possible day for MLB teams to sign their drafted rookies.

Despite a less than smooth transition into the Orioles organization, Matusz would impress during his first season in the minors, so much so that Baseball America would name him the ninth best pitching prospect in the middle of the 2009 season. Though his 2009 season in the majors would prove to be nothing flashy, posting an ERA above 4.0 and earning a WHIP of 1.48, he was able to win five of his eight starts during his short time in the majors.

The lefty from Grand Junction, Colorado, would earn himself a considerable amount of hype from the Baltimore fan base during the following off-season, with many believing that the 2010 season would be the breakout season for Matusz, considering he’d have a full season in the MLB.

In the early goings of the 2010 season, the Orioles lefty would fall short of his hype, struggling out of the gate in the months of April and May. One could very well make the argument that Matusz was a victim of his team’s lack of offensive support, but the O’s number 17 had considerable difficulty keeping his ERA below 4.50 despite racking up a respectable amount of strikeouts in each many outings.

The struggles would only continue for Matusz as the calendar turned to June and July, winning just one of his 12 starts during the two month stretch. The only redeeming parts of the Colorado native’s season came at the end of the summer when Matusz would showcase all the talents that made him the most highly regarded pitching prospect in the Baltimore organization.

The young hurler posted a 2.18 ERA over his last 11 starts and record seven wins over the last two months of the season. Not only did he record seven wins, he recorded them over the likes of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Texas Rangers and the entire American League East.

With Matusz already cemented into the second rotation spot in new manager Buck Showalter’s rotation, the Orioles and their fan base are hoping to see their pitcher continue his late 2010 stretch into the new season and take his rightful place as the true ace of the Baltimore rotation. Matusz has the raw stuff to achieve this goal and respectable off-season acquisitions by the O’s front office has given the organizations’ prized lefty an offense to support him on the mound.

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American League East 2011: 15 Players to Watch During Spring Training

Spring training is a great opportunity to get a sense of how a player’s offseason went, and what to expect in terms of improvement or regression. How a player performs during spring training often helps scouts see how players are recovering from injury or whether or not to expect a player who disappointed the previous season to bounce back.

An example of a player’s spring training being indicative of a player’s regular season performance is Chris Johnson. In 2010, his spring training stat line was: .323/8/22 in just 63 at-bats. While he did not continue this 65-75 home run pace, he did have a strong season. The same idea goes for Jose Bautista, who had a phenomenal spring training.

Spring training is not always accurate, however, it is the best way to get an idea of a player before the season starts. So, in this article, I will examine the 15 most important players to watch this spring training in the American League East.

This list includes prospects, bounce back candidates, new acquisitions and more. The rank is based on a combination of how important the player’s return is to his respective team and how controversial the player’s 2011 projections are. 

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Health of Justin Duchscherer and Pitching Staff Key to Orioles Success

After nearly a decade and a half of losing seasons, will this finally be the year that the Baltimore Orioles rise from the depths of the AL East to finally top .500?

I will go out on a limb here, as I always do with my baseball predictions, and say that it is not all that far-fetched.

Is it likely that they win the AL East? Not in the slightest bit, but hey, never say never.

I can tell you one thing that is for sure though—if the Orioles play to their potential this season, they will add even more buzz to what is already arguably the toughest division in baseball.

For years now, the Orioles have had a relatively solid lineup, which behind a decent pitching squad, could have made a run for a few playoff spots.  

As all baseball fans know, that is exactly what the team has lacked—decent, reliable pitching.

The O’s approached the issue not with huge blockbuster deals, but rather simple improvements to what has been a lackluster pitching staff.

To me, the biggest question with this year’s pitching will be reliability.

For the most part, the O’s have a youthful pitching squad which combined with past injuries, can potentially be an equation for disaster.

One of their biggest pitching acquisitions this offseason was injury-prone Justin Duchscherer.

Now I have always been a fan of Duchscherer since he first stepped onto the mound in Oakland, but his last few years have been less than impressive as he has suffered injury after injury after injury.

He claims that he currently feels the best that he has in years, mentally and physically, but who is to say which Duchscherer will show up at Camden Yards—the two-time all-star or the injury-prone mess. 

Other than Duchscherer, Jake Arrieta is another starter whose health presents us with a rather large question mark, since he had a bone spur in his elbow last season and decided to let it heal naturally on its own rather than have surgery to have it removed.

Only time will tell whether or not he made the right decision in choosing that path of rehabilitation.

As for the remainder of the starting rotation, health is not as big of a concern as is the age of some of its players, such as second-year pitchers Brian Matusz and Brad Bergesen who both struggled a bit coming out of the gate in 2010.

Both of them did bounce back from their poor starts after the All-Star break, but similar to Duchscherer’s situation, who knows which version of these two will show up this season—the first half disappointments or second half surprises.

However, when we look at the bullpen, the issue of injuries pops right back up again, and in dramatic fashion.

With the exception of the newly acquired Kevin Gregg and Jeremy Accardo, every other relief pitcher in the pen dealt with some sort of injury last season.

Michael Gonzalez, Koji Uehara, Jim Johnson and Jason Berken all had some type of shoulder or elbow injury.

Gonzalez suffered a left shoulder sprain, Johnson was bothered by lingering right elbow problems for most of the season, Uehara had elbow and hamstring issues and Berken suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.  

Uehara came back strong to end the season on a high note, but who is to say that he will not be plagued with the same issues this season?

Okay now onto a lighter, more positive note.

These negatives can just as easily turn out to be positives for the O’s.  

Uehara, despite his injuries, impressed many as he only let up 14 earned runs, five home runs and five walks in 44 innings.

Johnson also did fairly well last season when his elbow was not acting up and will only improve as he gets more years of experience under his belt.

The addition of Gregg will also bolster the bullpen.

Although a bit wild at times, Gregg is coming off a career season with 37 saves and will hopefully look to build off of this and use it as motivation in his battle with Uehara for the closer role.

And let’s not look past the potential that the O’s starting rotation has.

Guthrie was solid last season and if Duchscherer is as healthy as he says he is and gives the baseball world another great year like 2005, I think that they would be a great one-two punch.

Yes, Matusz and Bergesen are young, but if they continue pitching at the level they were on at the end of last season, I only see good things to come from the two of them.  

If this pitching staff can manage to avoid major injuries and regressions and help the O’s keep games within reach so the offense does not have to continually struggle, I think they have a pretty good chance of finally making it over .500 again.  

Let me just reiterate here that I am not saying the Orioles are going all the way this year, I am just saying that they are headed down the right path and that their fans would be crazy to not be excited for the first time in a long time.

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MLB Power Rankings: Baltimore Orioles Add Vladimir Guerrero,Now Third in AL East

The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a one year, $8 million deal with Vladimir Guerrero. Add him to fellow 2011 offseason acquisitions Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds, Justin Duchscherer and JJ Hardy and suddenly, this team looks like it can compete right now.

They will need Brian Matusz to mature a great deal, and it still doesn’t look like they will be close to the Yankees and Red Sox, but to put it in perspective, they could finish with a better record than anyone in the AL West.

Matt Wieters and Adam Jones are a year older and closer to fulfilling their massive potential. Let’s run down their impressive lineup.

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MLB: How the 2011 Baltimore Orioles Could Be 2010 San Francisco Giants Clones

It’s been nearly 12 hours since the Giants brought the first World Series trophy to San Francisco, but the question that’s on everyone’s mind is who’s next? 

Who will be next season’s Giants?

Who will be the team that defies the odds, utilizes one of the most talented, biggest upside starting rotations, makes the most of a rag-tag roster and seizes their opportunity to turn Major League Baseball on its head?

I’ve got one team in mind. The 2011 Baltimore Orioles.

Believe it or not, this team isn’t as bad as the 2010 66-96 record indicated. They have a new manager who has instilled a new set of beliefs, and for the first time in a very, VERY long time this team is one that believes it can win. And in a division like the A.L. East, that counts for a whole heck of a lot. Just ask the Rays.

And I know it seems like a super long-shot, but keep in mind a few of these things

-this Giants squad spent the first two-and-a-half months of the season alternating between third and fourth place.

-their offensive effort was led by a 33-year old journeyman, Aubrey Huff, who hit .290 with 26 homers and 86 RBI.

-their two-time Cy Young award-winning pitcher had arguably the worst season of his career

-the ranking veteran, Barry Zito, went 9-14 with a 4.15 ERA and worse than a 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio

-offensively, the Giants were a middle of the pack team, ranking seventh in the N.L. in average, and ninth in runs scored.

-no team in the N.L. was worse on the basepaths as the Giants stole a league-low 55 bases, and had the worst steal success rate at 63 percent.

-their pitching staff ranked as the third-worst in terms of walks issued, trailing only the Cubs (75-87) and the Brewers (77-85).

So, taking all of that into account, and fully realizing how unpredictable this season has been, let’s examine why, I think, the Orioles have the capability and potential to emerge as the Giants of next season.

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