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Which O's pitcher are you most interested in monitoring this spring?



It would be ridiculous not to talk Orioles today, when pitchers and catchers report in Sarasota, Fla.

Let’s limit the discussion to pitchers.

Who do you want to watch closely over the next six weeks?

I’ll throw out some names.

There’s Kevin Millwood, the new staff veteran who is pitching for another big contract. I think it will be intriguing to see not only how he throws, but also how he interacts with the young guys.

There’s Brian Matusz, last year’s phenom, who is one of the American League’s leading candidates for 2010 Rookie of the Year.

There’s Brad Bergesen, victim of TVspotgate 2009. Bergesen was the biggest surprise in the first half of last season before being sidelined by a severely bruised shin in July. He had a setback in December when he strained his shoulder filming an Orioles commercial. He’ll start the spring about 10 days behind the other pitchers.

There’s 21-year-old starter Chris Tillman, who is technically competing for the fifth starter’s job. But so long as he doesn’t fall completely apart or get hurt, it’s his spot. And I don’t see Tillman getting rattled in spring training.

There’s Jake Arrieta, the third member of the three-person pitching cavalry and the one who hasn’t made it to the bigs yet.

There’s Mike Gonzalez, the club’s new closer, who had trouble nailing down saves last year with the Atlanta Braves but should be fine at the back end of the bullpen.

There’s Koji Uehara, who is being moved to a relief role and needs to prove he can handle it. The ability is there; health and stamina remain questions.

Millwood’s the guy I am probably most interested in watching, but I’m also curious about Kam Mickolio, whom the Orioles would love to have claim one of the available relief spots. Mickolio can pitch, but the Montana native is still extremely raw.

There are plenty of interesting story lines involving the pitchers this spring. Which one has you the most intrigued?

Daily Think Special: Which O’s pitcher are you most interested in monitoring this spring?

Comments

I'm interested to see how Bergeson does in his second year. I really liked the way he pitched last year. If he continues to develop, he could become a workhorse in the O's staff for years to come. I just hope these injuries don't nag him for too long.

I'm most interested in Matusz though. I think he could develop into one of the best pitchers in baseball over the next few years.

Kojii Uehara, for sure. His style of pitching is just so interesting and refined. I hope he can show is mettle this season. I will root for him.

Bergesen....was 2009 fact or fiction? Keep him away from the commercial sets. If he can become an innings eating workhorse then he might set up the rest of the rotation. Or is he injury prone in the ilk of Hayden Penny?

Gimme a Schlitz...

A comment first, if I may, about Koji. He was an extremely effective reliever in Japan, which is why some were surprised when he went into the rotation here. He acquitted himself quite well before going down, so I believe he has the talent and stamina, but health will be an issue, as it is with any pitcher coming back from injury.

Millwood is the key. This is not Steve Trachsel or Adam Eaton. Millwood had a good year last year, isn't rattled by the AL East and, as was pointed out, has the added incentive of pitching for a contract.

If he performs well, the Orioles can bring the youngsters along slowly, but surely. If he doesn't, we might see Arrieta earlier than we might have liked.

aeeietta, because he's a tcu horned frog and so am i. as for excitement it's gotta be matusz. he's good and he's young. btw, dan, it's cavalry,not Calvary. you must have Ash Wednesday on yr mind.

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Barkeep's Reply: Once an Irish Catholic ... That's what I get for not re-reading a post. It has been changed. Thanks.

Dan: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is the "pitching Calvary?" Or did you mean cavalry? To answer your question, Brian Matusz. I'm interested in seeing how he builds on his successful debut.

For personal reasons, Erbe during the spring. But in reality, I am going to be watching Bergy most closely. I'm also looking forward to seeing Hernandez (especially when coming out of the bullpen) and Guthrie. Mickolio is intriguing but i'll be more concerned with him once we are nearing an open spot at the back part of the bullpen.

Bergesen...he has great ability, arrived quietly and without the built up hype, sinker ball that is proven already and always serves as a very effective out pitch. Bergesen is a consistent ground ball out pitcher and this is O's tradition and works best at the Yard. I like Bergesen's natural confidence that feeds off of his hunger to play the game and compete effectively.

Tillman.
Millwood will be solid, but not spectacular, like he is every year. Guthrie ... well, let's just hope for the best. Matusz will continue to develop into a very good, perhaps great, starter. And Bergesen will hopefully resemble what he was last year. But Tillman is key for the long-term development of this club. He has the potential to be very good or even great -- similar potential to Matusz, albeit with a different style of pitching. If he and Matusz both develop as projected, the O's rotation will be solid for a long time. But Tillman has to get past giving up the gopher ball like he did last year. I'm interested to see if he can keep the ball in the ballpark. If he can, then the O's future rotation looks very promising. If he can't, then we're back to focusing on the guys in Norfolk and Bowie.

I think Tillman is the key guy in the rotation. Millwood, Guthrie, and Matusz will all win 11-14 games. If healthy, Bergy should win 10-12. If Tillman takes the next step, and lives up to his potential, the Orioles will have a successfull season. In the event of injury, I think we may see Patton or Britton come up before Arrieta. Bottom line, ain't it great to have young pitching options? GO BIRDS!!!!!!!!

Bergesen. Period. Hit in shin and inflamed shoulder doing a commercial.

If he's on track things might just work out.

Quite often there is a pitcher who steps up to become the surprise of the year. To me Mickolio has what it takes to become this years surprise, if given the opportunity.

Raw talent he has. In my opinion, what he needs is to be consistent in the area of concentration in the delivery of his pitches - every pitch.

I just have a feeling that he is capable of being all that he can be this year. I sure hope so because O's fans sure could use a good surprise.

I have had my eye on Chris Tillman ever since he came into our farm system and started tearing up the minors...I think he has the potential to be a rock in the rotation (yeah I know that was an opening for wayne to say "yeah, like a rock sinking to the bottom of the ocean")....as an aside, although "The Countdown" is very amusing....further research has shown that countdown to end on March 22,2050....which makes me wonder that although a lot can happen over the next 40 years, what could possibly postpone the end of the '49 Series (?!) until the middle of the next year's Spring Training?? P.S. The new definition of "the 'B' word" is BLIZZARD.....

I'm interested in Wil Perez, the lefty reliever. His stats are interesting and I've never seen him throw. He probably won't be going north initially, but I'm more curious about the O's future than I am about the present.

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Barkeep's Reply: An interesting one. He was the talk of camp last year. He's coming off injury, though, so he won't be an initial 25-man guy.

I also will be paying close attention to Erbe. I think he will be the guy who goes under the radar and his stock will rise. There are always surprise players who perform better than expected, and I think he will be one of them. Arrieta has big expectations already. I think his numbers need to improve since he did not do as well at AAA. Erbe on the other hand, was lights out before and after his stint on the DL.

Some other players I will be interested in are Wilfrido Perez, Troy Patton (hopefully his shoulder is not an issue), and Zach Britton (although a couple years away)

Bergy. I doubt Tillman is ready. Matusz becuase he could eventually be an ace comparable to those the Yanks and Sox have. Patton, because he's an effective lefty coming off injury and could win the number 5 spot this year. Finally, Gonzalez. Will he be an effective closer?

Well, good question. I’m most intrigued (living in Norfolk by Harbor Park) at how the rotation shapes up down here. I envision Arrieta, Patton, Erbe, Berken and Hernandez (if he doesn’t win a spot up north) filling out the rotation. That imo is a fantastic starting 5 for the Tides, especially when you factor in how much of a pitchers park Harbor Park is. I don’t think Tillman has anything to prove back here and I hope Bergy picks up where he left off last year. I think Guts is in a better position for success without the WBC and the pressure or label of a #1. Millwood is certainly a key, we really need him to make his 30 starts and impart his wisdom on the youngsters.

I'm interested to see if Bergesen can come back and do what he did last year before he got hurt. He was a bright spot on a terrible pitching staff. I'm also interested, and I have been for awhile, if we will actually see Troy Patton. He was supposed to be the gem of the Tejada trade and we haven't even seen him yet.

Personally, I'm intrigued by Cla Meredith, and want to see whether he can return to form. In 2006, he put up some great numbers for the Padres, with a WHIP of 0.71 in 50 innings. Unfortunately, he hasn't been the same the past 3 years, with a WHIP approaching 1.50 each season, but he would be a valuable set-up guy for Gonzalez if he could again produce like he did in '06.

A Schlitz? Where'd that come from?? What the heck, gimme a PBR.

Picking one pitcher I'm most interested in monitoring this spring is like asking which Ravens cheerleader I'd most like to see you hire as a barmaid. There are so many interesting possibilities. I'd like to see the new guys, Millwood and Gonzalez, just to see them in action and start to get used to them. I'm concerned about Bergesen's health and whether or not he has any lingering effects to his shin or shoulder that impact his delivery. I'm excited to see more of Matusz, and hopeful to see Guthrie back on track. I'd like to see Arrietta, Erbe, and Patton to see how the next wave is coming along. I'd like to see how Berken and Hernandez incorporate what they learned from taking their lumps last year.

But the one I most want to see show that he is really ready for the big time is Tillman.

I love watching Matusz and Tillman pitch, but I think we know what trajectory they are on so, barring injury, there's no spring intrigue there.

I'm interested to see how Patton does. Peope forget that he made a brief (and probably premature) stop in the majors a few years ago before he came here in the Tejada trade. If he's on his way to becoming a decent mid-rotation starter, which is is said to have the talent to do, the O's rotation for 2011+ is really starting to get deep.

Guthrie.

Millwood's a veteran, so not sure how much what he does in spring is going to tell us how he does this year.

Guthrie though has to show better command, keeping the ball down. If he gives up a bunch of HRs in spring, expect the same during the year. And without a good Guthrie, it'll place too much pressure on the younger guys. He still can be a sub 4.00 ERA starter...

The whole staff looks so much better than that pathetic group we started out with last year. All the names mentioned above look interesting, but 2 more guys I'll be curious to watch are David Hernandez and Jason Berken. Time has shown us that talent alone is often not enough to succed in the bigs. You've got to have heart and guts, too. Both of these guys showed a lot of heart last year, I thought. And they both got quite a bit of experience as well. I wouldn't be suprised to see one or both of them be strong contributors to the staff this year.

Millwood, is he going to take on the role he was hired for. close second would be Koji. how's the arm?

Definitly im interested n watching Matt Wieters progress as a pitcher... i mean last year ... oh gosh i cant even explain it!

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