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Who will be the Orioles' ace in 2011?

Sorry the bar was dark for a weekday.

Something about a rat and a wire and a “potential fire hazard.”

No worries.

To old business first: We didn’t have an on-the-nose prediction of Brian Matusz’s debut line Tuesday, which was 5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks and a win.

But we had some close ones. Free drink chips to Alex D, Rob K, Jason and Matt.

And a free bar tab for the day goes to Dave who predicted 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BBs, 4 Ks and a win.

He was off by a walk, a strikeout and two runs. That’s pretty good.

I had the pleasure of covering Matusz’s debut in Detroit (and really all of the debuts this year) and my take is basically what Dave Trembley was screaming from the rooftops in the Motor City on Tuesday night.

Matusz is the real deal. He has four solid pitches that he can throw for strikes. And he’ll throw any one of them in any count.

He’s also an extremely impressive guy off the mound. He’s very mature and polished in interviews and has a genuine friendliness about him.

In spring training, while getting our first real looks at the young pitchers, O’s beat writer Jeff Zrebiec and I knocked around which one would eventually emerge as the best. After some deliberation, Jeff said Matusz and I said Chris Tillman.

One scout I know said it would be Jake Arrieta. Brad Bergesen and David Hernandez weren’t in the conversation. And Jason Berken wasn’t even at camp.

Now, we’ve seen all but Arrieta pitch in the big leagues. I am sticking with my Tillman prediction, because he is the youngest, has pitched the most at Triple-A and because if he can get some more movement on, and a little better command of, his fastball, he is going to be downright nasty. His curveball and changeup are already plus pitches.

But it’s hard to go against Zrebiec’s gut call after seeing Matusz in Detroit.

I want to know your thoughts. But I am putting a specific timeline on it. Forget about now and even next year. Who will be the club’s best pitcher starting in 2011?

Daily Think Special: Who will be the Orioles’ ace in 2011?

Comments

2011 rotation:

Matusz
Tillman
Bergeson
Hernandez
Arrietta

I know, nothing difficult there...

Bergesen will start Opening Day, but Matusz will evolve into the ace.

The best starting pitcher will likely be a free agent added. They have to add a Dan Haren type to the mix, or they won't compete.

Hard to say, both had good stuff I think. I go with Pat Tillman.

Tillman will be the ace and Matusz will be the reliable #2. Right now Tillman's main problem is a predictable rookie mistake: He's so used ot overpowering minor league batters with his fastball that he leaves it hanging in the middle of the plate a little too often, which explains all the home runs in starts 1 and 2. That's something that he will get better at with time. His changeup, which was supposedly his rawest pitch, is filthy, and his curve has as much movement on it as anyone this side of Gio Gonzalez.

Matusz is already a largely refined product. He will of course improve with time, but his ceiling isn't quite as high as Tillman's. What's exciting about him is that he has 4 good pitches to work with. He wasn't very efficient in his debut, letting a lot of batters work the count with him, but it seems like after Kranitz came out and he started using his fastball more often he was able to go through the order a little more quickly. It's a good fastball, but it's not on the level of Tillman's heater.

Overall, I think Tillman and Matusz are both the real deal. Arrieta I'm more skeptical of and I think may be destined for the bullpen, but I still feel very good about Tillman, Matusz, Bergesen, and Hernandez as our 4 starters. Britton could round out that rotation and that would work out well for us.

1. Tillman
2. Matusz
3. Bergesen
4. Hernandez
5. Arrieta/Britton/Hobgood/Erbe

That's a rotation that we can be happy about.

As it looks right now it should be Matusz, but in sports you never know what might happen so we will all just have to wait to see whio develops and matures to make that determination!

Who cares? So long as we have four to five effective pitchers in the rotation, I'll be happy. And there is no way on this earth we should have any fewer than that.

Still, in some order, figure:

Bergesen
Tillman
Matusz
Guthrie
Hernandez

While I believe that Matusz and Tillman have the better overall "stuff" as we like to call it, I still see Bergesen being the most consistant and dependable out of the bunch and am going with him as being the ACE of the staff in 2011.

If he's not the ACE then I predict he'll be a Number 2+ rotation kind of guy.

Matusz
Tillman
Bergessen
Erbe
Guthrie

pen consisting of some iteration of:

Johnson
Bass
Hernandez
Mickilio
Perez
Ray
maybe Berken, or a vet.


Seems interesting that our opening day starter for the last 2 years moves all the way to the bottom. Also I purposely left Arrieta off this list because I think at some point AMP is going to have to trade for a power hitting corner infielder, and the other team is going to want a good pitching prospect in return. My feeling is if one has to go, its gonna be the guy most likely to leave after his arbitration years are up (arrieta is a boras client).

Hard to differentiate between Tillman and Matusz, but my hunch is that Tillman will get the slight edge.

We will trade for the ace over the winter. The kids need a mentor.....John Lackey might be just the guy.

Matusz
Bergesen
Tillman
Hernandez
Britton

Agree with Luke.
2011:
Bergy
Matusz
Tillman
Hernandez
Guthrie

I feel that Arrieta may turn into a bullpen guy and we could add a top-end arm to replace Guthrie eventually. Any thoughts?

It's about time I gott a free drink chip around here. Dos Equis please. Next year's ace......Matusz, Brian. Same for 2011, 2012, 2013.......get my point.

Matusz will start opening day, and will be the ace for years to come.

Bergesen will win a bunch as will Hernandez and Tillman. Look for Arrietta before this year is over.

For us older guys it will be a fine reminder of Palmer, McNally, and Quellar....and possibly better due to timing.

Ummm...I'm hoping we trade for Tim Lincecum over the winter, but in case that doesn't happen, I think it's safe to say Matusz will be the No. 1 guy in 2011 followed closely behind by Tillman.

I will say Matusz. Reminds me of Mussina. Who did you see a better picture back in 1991 when we had Ben and Mike?

I'd say Matusz has the rosiest future.

matusz, will evolve into the ace...

the orioles are showing small
gimpses of promise and i hope
their young pitching develops...

pitching is a true commodity in
baseball, and the orioles' dynasty
years were built around solid
starting pitching...

i give mcphail and the orioles
orgnization tons of credit, as their
draft choices are going to pay
dividends to some of the best
fans in baseball..

yes stand up and be counted
after all of these years,
baltimore orioles fans......

2010:

Bergesen
Guthrie
Hernandez
Tillman
Matusz

2011:

Tillman
Matusz
Bergesen
Hernandez
Arrieta

In no Specific order:
Bergesen
Hernandez
Gutherie/Uehara
Tillman
Matusz

- Next years ace - Bergesen -


2011 Rotation:

Matusz
Tillman
Bergesen
Berken
Arrieta

I think Hernandez will end up in the bullpen.

Matusz will end up being the ace and opening day starter of the future. That is assuming the Orioles really are in the midst of a youth movement and don't trade Adam Jones, Matusz and Tillman for Cliff Floyd.....ala the famous Schilling, Harnisch, Finley for Glenn Davis debacle.

Lackey
Matusz
Tillman
Arrieta
Bergesen

(hoping we will sign one of beckett, webb, lackey, even bedard this off-season)

Brian Matusz
Jarrod Washburn
Brad Bergeson
Chris Tillman
David Hernandez

book it.

Bergeson
Matusz
Tillman
Guthrie
Hernandez

Bergeson is next Mussina
Matusz is next Hamels
Tillman is a young Clemons

This staff will carry the O's to a World Series or two over the next ten years.

I think that Matusz will be the ace. I would watch out for Troy Patton. He could easily be a big part of the 2011 rotation

I think one of those WON'T be a SP....Some veteran will get crazy and want to pitch at the yards. Anyone have a free agent list for post-2010? Then you'll get your 5th starter.

This is depressing. Have we already conceded next year... again?

I know AP doesn't like to buy arms. But we HAVE TO have a decent veteran for these young guns to learn from.
Unknown vet is my choice, not one of the youngins

How about Erik Bedard or Jarrod Washburn? We need a veteran anchor to take some pressure off the young guys.

Tillman. He reminds me of Greinke, except not as much life or velocity on the fastball, but a better curve. Hopefully, the fastball movement (like you said) will improve...maybe moving to a 2-seamer?

So I'm all pumped up over the win, and you stay closed. Then we lose a tough one and you open up? Can't we celebrate the ups in here as well as forget the downs?

2011? How should I know? I can't predict the stat line for pitchers this year. And I think I am on record back last year when we were talking about all the young pitchers we had then about who would be in the rotation in 2010 as saying Guthrie, Cabrera, Loewen, Olson, and Liz. So much for my forecasting ability.

I was going to go with Lincecum but Jon beat me to it. I'd say Strasburg but 2011 will be too soon for him to be the ace, at least at the beginning of the year. So it's Haren, who comes via trade. The team has to give up two young pitchers plus a position player, but the D-backs are scuffling in the standings and need the quantity.

Rotation coming out of spring training:
Haren
Matusz
Tillman
Bergesen
Patton

Arietta and Guthrie went to AZ for Haren. Hernandez is the closer. Berken is in the pen as a middle reliever.

Matusz will be the best of what we currently have. I do think that the Orioles will sign a proven ace.

After that who knows to early to tell but I would guess: Bergesen, Hernandez and Tillman or Guthrie and Arrieta. I do not think that all of those guys will be starters. The team will make some moves.

Ok firstoff why would they think about putting berken in the pen when more than halfh his runs come in his first inning pitched??? that should be your most quaLITY inning dont count guthrie out quite yet but the youngsters are threatening here is mine

bergie
guth
matusz
hernandez
tillman

I agree - we should acquire a veteran pitcher to anchor the staff until the young guys get enough experience under their belts. I checked out the big name pitchers who are currently scheduled to be free agents after 2010, and there are several big names. I expect several of these guys will be offered extensions by their current teams, but here are some of the bigger names on the list:

Josh Beckett
Roy Halladay
Matt Cain
Aaron Harang
Brandon Webb
Jon Garland
Javier Vazquez

I'd love to add Garland as a #2 starter to the rotation. I don't think he's quite a #1 guy, but I'd be thrilled to see the rotation be anchored by Bergeson and Garland.

Have you seen how lanky Tillman and Matusz are?

I am hoping both will add some muscle, especially in their legs, and therefore add some velocity to their fastballs.

I think that in 2011 Matusz could be the ace if his curve and slider improve, he could also use a little more movement on his fastball.

Tillman could be the ace if he can add some velocity and movement to his fastball, maybe developing a two-seamer/cutter/sinker, and improving his command of his changeup and curveball.

I have to say I think the future could be bright for these two in a few years, I just hope they stay healthy.

2010 Rotation:
Lackey/Washburn/Bedard/Guthrie
Matusz
Bergy
Tillman
Arritea/Hernandez/Patton

2011 Rotation:
Matusz
Tillman
Bergy
Arritea
Patton

Bullphen:
Hernandez
Ray
Johnson
Perez
Berken or a Vet
Mickiolo
Albers

NOTE:Patton is in the 2011 rotation because he is a lefty and we need another lefty to balance the rotation. Don't forget that he was a very good prospect for Houston.

What do the Orioles have to offer that would entice a trade for Dan Haren or John Lackey or Tim Lincecum? Huff and Mora aren't going to attract much interest. I don't think Jones, Markakis, Wieters or the young pitchers are going to be sent packing. Maybe Reimold and Roberts and Luke could be packaged to bring a front of the rotation pitcher, and could be replaced with at least serviceable replacements.

I just don't see the O's trading off the young hotshot parts they are counting on for rebuilding a pennant contender.

I hope they all stay healthy. There are two I like Matusz and Hernandez.

The way the Orioles have been going lately, I would not be surprised if Pat Tillman was our ace (previous blogger), as any corpse can pitch better than our current crop of "live" arms

You know honestly it doesn't matter 'cause I'm syked either way. I haven't see "highly touted prospects" pitch like this in years. All the prospects I remember from the on going dark years have come up and bottomed out for whatever reason.

I'm going with Bergesen as the ace just because of his composure and resolve. For the rotation:

Bergesen
Matusz
Tillman
Guthrie
Hernandez

Hard to not put Arrieta. I leave Guthrie in because I think this year is fluke for him, next year is going to be very solid, and then he'll only improve from there.

Bergesen
Matusz
Tillman
Arrieta
Erbe

What about Koji?

I agree with most posts BUT I say Hernandez eventually moving his way into the pen maybe even as a closer because of his arm strength which would nicely set up his off speed stuff for the duration of 1 inning.

I see the rotation being: Tillman, Free Agent, Bergy, Matusz Free Agent. I think Jake will find his way into the pen.

All of you realize he said 2011 and not 2010, no?

2010 it's gonna look something like this...

Bergesen
Guthrie
Tillman
Matusz
Hernandez

2011
Hopefully, it looks something like this

Matusz
Tillman
Bergesen
Hernandez
Arrieta

Hey Jim - I like how you're thinking critically. But that's why I targeted Haren. He's an ace on a team that's ten games below .500 right now. I don't see the trade I am imagining happening before July 2010, and don't know if it would be more likely then or after the season. It would be based on the D-backs deciding they weren't going to win with him, so they might as well retool, like the Orioles did with Tejada and Bedard. I agree that there's not much chance of prying away an ace from a contender like the Angels, more likely Arizona or Greinke from the Royals.

As for what the Orioles have to trade, well they are finally starting to pile up prospects that would be trade worthy. I said two pitchers plus a position player, but likely it would take at least four players. I included Guthrie based on the assumption that he rebounds next year and is 9-5 with 3.52 ERA at the All-Star break, which is not too farfetched. You add one of the youngsters, I settled on Arietta. If they give up one of the guys already in the majors then there are fewer players overall in the package, or lower prospects. The other one or two could come from the following list: Mickolio, Snyder, Johnson, Rowell, Hoes, Joseph, Andino, Pie, just for starters. A lot depends on who does what between now and next July or December.

I think there is a greater chance of making a trade like that than signing one of the free agents available after this season or next, in terms of pitchers at least.

Ace will be a free agent. Tillman #2.

Once Tillman adjusts his fastball, he'll be crazy good. That curve was so good in his second start. Watching that thing loop in for strikes was pretty hope inspiring. I think he's the real deal once he makes the transition.

Jamie Moyer

How about bringing in a retired veteran like Mike Mussina in 2010, he may be itching to play more year, he won 20 games last season by learning to be more crafty.
He's a guy who may be able to tough out some of the signature wins (vs NY, Bos etc) that the club needs so that the young guns can see that it is possible to do it.
He could also be valuable as part of the coaching staff. yes, he is 40 or 41 yrs old but could be a J. Moyer type..

Matusz has the stuff and poise to be the best pitcher in the AL East for years to come. He's an easy choice for the ace of the Orioles by 2011.

I'm not as high on Tillman. He still needs to learn how to pitch and work deeper into ball games. (He has averaged about 5 innings per start during his minor league career.)

I predict Arrieta will be the #2 by mid-2011, when his results catch up with his raw talent and stuff and start surpassing Bergesen.

Why do so many people think we are going to sign a FA pitcher? AM said a countless number of times that "you grow your pitchers and buy your bats." So, I doubt he's even thinking about any FA's, unless he feels a need for another "fill in type" veteren because, he doesn't want to go with too much youth in the pitching staff at one time. But, he won't buy a big name"ace."
That said, my predictions for 2010 & 2011 are:

2010
Bergeson
Guthrie(traded @ deadline2010)
Matusz
Tillman
Hernandez
Uehara will be in pen

2011
Matusz
Tillman
Bergeson
Arrieta
Hernandez or Patton

Arnold Portocarerro, Jack!

Do you mean to say that the EXPERTS from the SUN writers (?) are not promoting themselves as the great EXPERTS & MANAGERS of kn knowledge. Connelly and SCHMUCK need to show that they have the aptitude and talent to put their body were their mouth is and display ALL of the abilities that they profess to possess.

Sidney Ponson?

Dan--Before the season began, I would have said Tillman. Now, having had the pleasure of watching the smarts, grit, presence of Bergesen this season, I am really impressed with Brad. He is a competitor.

I am upbeat about Tillman and Matusz and believe Hernandez has potential.

But, to answer your question directly about who will be the ace in 2011? Let them all shoot for Bergy. He's a good role model, one tough young pitcher.

One point I'd like to make about all the new Baby Birds: these guys are in shape. Looks good.

Of course my caveat is that I had the pleasure to say hello to Mickey Lolich after he worked 12 innings in a nationally televised game at Memorial Stadium that was suspended after 14 innings.

Lolich, leaving the clubhouse area for his bus, was smoking a cigarette and boy did he have a big gut. I said to myself, geez this is the guy I just watched pitch an amazing 12 innings.

I do believe Mickey, who threw a few shutouts, still owns a donut shop.

I think the 2010 rotation will look something like this.

Haren
Matusz
Bergesen
Tillman
Gutherie

Have a pen like.

Hernandez, Ray
Arrieta, Mickilio
Erbe, Uehara

It would also be great if O's traded for Justin Upton and maybe move Reimold to 1st.Also try to pry Eric Young Jr. from Colorado because he seems to be another Brian Roberts or better.Maybe a Hanley Ramirez at SS.Could that be possible and wouldn't that be great?

1B-Reimold
2B-Eric Young Jr.
SS-Hanley Ramirez
3B-Josh Bell
LF-Markakis
CF-Jones
RF-Justin Upton
C-Wieters

Would this be awesome and a great young line-up?Order of course would be different.

Tagging orioles pitchers as the "ace" or "future ace" over the last 5-7 years has not worked well on the one bearing that burden. Let's hold off on that and let it be determined on the field. This young group has enough pressure on them.

I think Matuez. Frankly, Tillman has disappointed thus far. When he throws his fastball high, which he often does, it has no movement at all. I think at 63 years old I could hit it- to second base at least!

2011 rotation

Matuez
Bergensen
Tillman
Patton
Erbie

i think the o's will be very good in 2011. i think they'll add a vetran tht could be a #1 or at least try too. i think their 2011 rotation will be

1. Matusz
2. tillman
3. bergesen
4. arrieta
5. patton (if he can remain healthy) or erbe (if patton is not healthy)
i did not add a free agent in here because i do not think any of them will want to come here untill the o's prove they can win.

fire trembley

I used to think it could be Koji. But its Bergensen. He will be the ace.

1. BERGESON
2. TILLMAN
3. GUTHRIE
4. MATUSZ
5. BERKEN

RELIEVERS: HERNANDEZ, JOHNSON, UEHARA, MEREDITH, MICKOLIO, RAY (IF HE'S CONSISTENT), WATERS, 2 OR 3 CONSISTENT RELIEVERS PLEASE...

GET RID OF BASS, ALBERS, MCCRORY...THEY ALL SUCK

2010 WE WILL IMPROVE
2011 OR SOONER WE WILL CONTEND

ALL DEM RED SOX AND YANKEE BANDWAGON FANS WILL THEN GET THE HELL OUTTA CAMDEN YARDS AND WILL SHUT UP

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