Brian Matusz, left-handed pitcher

Is there any hope for him?

Yes, I think so. Matusz shot through Frederick and Bowie in 2009, reaching the major leagues in his first professional season. He pitched well enough and showed promise in late 2009 and as a rotation starter in 2010, when he was 23. He was hurt at the start of 2011 and pitched terribly in ten starts before being sent down; Matusz was in the 2012 Orioles rotation at the start of the year but didn’t pitch well enough to stay in it. When he was sent to Norfolk, he was converted to the bullpen.

It’s tempting to write him off, and to relegate him to a left-handed relief pitcher role, but I wouldn’t write him off yet. I would make him a left-handed relief pitcher for 2013. It seems to me that Matusz has simply lost his confidence and now has no idea how to pitch successfully. By moving him to a low-leverage relief role, Matusz will have a chance to re-learn how to get batters out, to enjoy success, and to regain his confidence.

And once Matusz has experienced success, it’ll be time for him to get another crack at the rotation. There have been several pitchers who endured some time as a left-handed bullpen arm who were switched to the starting rotation and had long, successful careers. Jimmie Key, Kenny Rogers, and David Wells come to mind. There’s no reason Matusz can’t join them.

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