Monday, April 26, 2010

Deep Sleeper Alert

ROUND 13:  Brian Matusz (SP, Orioles)

On cue, Mike sounded the sleeper alert system (perhaps appropriately, passing on Jonathan Sanchez again to take a rookie in the AL East) but I'll stand behind the selection.  Our draft occured roughly one week before the internet prognostication regarding EOY awards crowned Matusz as the consensus pick for the AL rookie of the year, and the dude plays for the Orioles, so I won't blame the room for not knowing his name yet.  Here are the facts:

  • Matusz was called up to the majors late in 2009, where he went 5-2 for the lowly O's, striking out 38 in 44 IP.
  • His .343 BABIP was abnormally high, suggesting a better performance in 2010
  • He was lights out in spring training.
  • Unlike most young strikeout arms, Matusz has four pitches, and doesn't necessarily have to rely on an overpowering fastball.
  • He posted a 4.63 ERA with a 1.48 WHIP in 2009.
  • He was giving up 1.29 homeruns per 9 innings last year.
  • He doesn't have an overpowering fastball, averaging about 91 MPH.

Given the way that pitching continued to be heavily drafted, even here in the middle rounds, I had no faith that there would be any of these high-K guys left by the end of round 14, so I had to take one here.  I went with Matusz instead of Sanchez because...fuck, I don't really know.  There's no particularly good reason.  I wasn't sure the Giants could put up decent run support, but, it's not like Baltimore is lighting anything up except crack pipes.  Now I have to root for the Orioles and the Red Sox every fifth day.

I suppose David Price was also in the running here, but beyond a little seasoning there's not much difference between two AL East young arms.  His 2009 wasn't any more hope-inspiring than Matusz's.  All three names mentioned here are better than the other SPs that went in similar rounds, whether due to poor outlooks or concerns about playing time (Buehrle, Webb, Ervin Santana, Strasburg).

As of today, Matusz isn't pitching poorly.  9.85 K/9 is precisely why he was drafted.  The baggage is the 4.38 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.  He lacked control in his first start, leading to five walks, but then he only gave up five walks in his next twenty innings.  His BABIP remains high (.330), and FIP remains low (2.70) so there's hope for tomorrow, in the sense of that statistically wonky style of hope that inflicts professional fantasy baseball writers into rosy projections of every MLB player under the age of 32.  He's 2-0 for the Orioles, and in the interests of looking on the bright side of a glaring midround oversight, I consider those two wins icing on an unfinished cake.

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