Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Surprise - Pitching

Chen warming up before his start. Courtesy of @EddieInTheYard
So far this spring there has been a big surprise coming out of Orioles camp.  Various O's pitchers have shown improvement over last year not only in performance but also in health and ability it seems.  Guys like Matusz and Arrieta have shown solid improvement on the radar gun and seem to be healthy.  Arrieta claimed that he had not felt this good since turning pro which is a troubling and positive sign all wrapped up in one bundle.

Matusz has sat in the high 80s to low 90s this spring, with solid secondary stuff and good command.  He's ranged from 87 to 94 sitting mostly around 89 or 90.  Matusz put up another solid outing today against the Phillies going 4 scoreless innings, giving up just 4 hits with 4 Ks.  Matusz threw 53 pitches, 70% of which were strikes.

Arrieta who threw the other day against the Rays reportedly hit 97 on the gun and looked good doing it according to those in attendance.  If Arrieta is healthy and has his command figured out, he could be a reliable option for the club in the rotation.

Jason Hammel, one of the newest Orioles hit 94 on the gun in his start.  Hammel wasn't as impressive as his younger teammates, but it was a good beginning to his Spring.

Wei-Yin Chen (one of my underdog candidates for the top of the rotation) looked good in his debut throwing strikes on a ridiculous 76% of his pitches.  Chen sat in the low 90s, a velocity that bodes well for the dynamic lefty.  Keep in mind that Chen is just 26 years old, and is just entering his prime.

Overall, the pitching has been solid this Spring which is a good sign as that was the biggest weakness facing the team going into this season.  That said, it is Spring Training, so don't take too much out of it.  It is a good sign, but let's not get carried away digging into the meaning of a team ERA below 3 in Spring Training.  It should also be noted that offense is down all across Florida (with the exception of Detroit, Pitt and Toronto).

Hopefully they keep it up when the games count.

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