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To me, Erbe has a chance to do really good things, but he's not there yet. This organization should notice that he's a potentially very good starting pitcher or reliever, and they should do everything they can to help him reach that cieling.

That means we need to stay patient with the guy. He had arm issues this year. I don't want to push him. I'd much rather we let him settle in at AA. If he shows both consistency and durability, promote him to AAA at about mid-season. Only promote him earlier if he's light's out for several starts at the beginning of the year.

There is very little to gain by moving him to AAA at the beginning of the season. He's not done developing and I certainly don't want him to be the first or second guy called up when injuries happen. That could be a recipe for disaster if you ask me.

Erbe just screams CONSERVATIVE to me. I don't want to ruin this potentially very useful arm by making arbitrary promotions based on minor league stats. We've done this with pitchers in the past. Let's make sure this guy is more than ready before we make him take the next challenge.

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First, I've watched Matusz pitch in the majors, and I've read a ton of scouting reports on him. My take - and this seems backed up by others - is that his change-up is plus, his curve flashes plus, his slider is above average, and his fastball can be above average (fringe plus) when he locates it.

Second, I didn't reduce your argument to the fact that Matusz only threw 3MPH harder. You need to read more comprehensively. I said, at most, Matusz throws three MPH harder, and that's only if you assume that MB doesn't regain his velocity. Thus, my point was that you (mildly) exaggerated the claim but more importantly held a small sample size against him. While MB's velocity was apparently down in the minors this year, it was only down in the low-90s. His MLB velo (in 6 innings) was significantly lower. Hence my point about Tillman. There may be something there re: MB's velocity, but I don't think that's something we can assume.

It depends what scouting report your looking at because I have seen a lot of em on Matusz and they all claim different stuff. Ive seen some say he has 4 plus pitches, some saying 2 plus-plus 1 plus and ove above average, Ive seen the MLB.com report whaen he was drafted reporting what looks like your saying. Off of my own eyes, I think that he has 4 pitches that all of which at some point are p[lus. Sometimes his fastball is a plus pitch when hes throwing it well and commanding it well. His slider also can be a plus pitch at times. His curve and change up to me are always atleats plus and from time to time flash plus plus especially the way he executes the pitches and usually commands them. Thats off of my own eyes. Ive seen Strasburg pitch, he wasnt as impressive IMO as labeled, of course this was at the end of the year and his fastball was in the 97-98 range. Of course 95-97 is nothing to sneeze at, but he wasnt launing 102 MPH pitches. His slider is a good pitchm but what happens if he cant locate his fastball. Then what? Hes gonna get hit, if Matusz doesnt have 1 pitch working for him, he has 3 other major league pitches to work with. Both Matusz and Strasburg struck out about 40% of the college hitter's they faced in their respective junior years. Matusz did it with pitchability, he doesnt have a 100 MOPH fastball to blow by guys. I like Matusz more as a pitcher he has less chance for injury, he actually knows how to pitch and if something isnt working, he can use another plan....

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It depends what scouting report your looking at because I have seen a lot of em on Matusz and they all claim different stuff. Ive seen some say he has 4 plus pitches, some saying 2 plus-plus 1 plus and ove above average, Ive seen the MLB.com report whaen he was drafted reporting what looks like your saying. Off of my own eyes, I think that he has 4 pitches that all of which at some point are p[lus. Sometimes his fastball is a plus pitch when hes throwing it well and commanding it well. His slider also can be a plus pitch at times. His curve and change up to me are always atleats plus and from time to time flash plus plus especially the way he executes the pitches and usually commands them. Thats off of my own eyes. Ive seen Strasburg pitch, he wasnt as impressive IMO as labeled, of course this was at the end of the year and his fastball was in the 97-98 range. Of course 95-97 is nothing to sneeze at, but he wasnt launing 102 MPH pitches. His slider is a good pitchm but what happens if he cant locate his fastball. Then what? Hes gonna get hit, if Matusz doesnt have 1 pitch working for him, he has 3 other major league pitches to work with. Both Matusz and Strasburg struck out about 40% of the college hitter's they faced in their respective junior years. Matusz did it with pitchability, he doesnt have a 100 MOPH fastball to blow by guys. I like Matusz more as a pitcher he has less chance for injury, he actually knows how to pitch and if something isnt working, he can use another plan....

I'm not sure where you get your percentages - I did an amateurish count of the K% by taking IP x 3 + H + BB (noting that this wouldn't account for DPs) and it came out that Strasburg K'd about 48% of the batters he faced, while Matusz K'd about 33%.

But I'm not sure how they could have similar K% when Strasburg K'd 16+ per 9 innings and gave up fewer walks and hits than Matusz.

Finally, the idea that Matusz has less chance of injury is pure speculation. In fact, Matusz's mechanics aren't ideal (and neither are Strasburg's).

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I'm not sure where you get your percentages - I did an amateurish count of the K% by taking IP x 3 + H + BB (noting that this wouldn't account for DPs) and it came out that Strasburg K'd about 48% of the batters he faced, while Matusz K'd about 33%.

But I'm not sure how they could have similar K% when Strasburg K'd 16+ per 9 innings and gave up fewer walks and hits than Matusz.

Finally, the idea that Matusz has less chance of injury is pure speculation. In fact, Matusz's mechanics aren't ideal (and neither are Strasburg's).

I got the percentage from projectprospect.com...heres the link http://projectprospect.com/article/2009/04/15/baltimore-orioles-top-5

It says he K'd 40.8% of the batters he faced. The idea of anyone having a chance for injury is pure speculation, but it is noted several times that Strasburg is a big injury risk and it seems as though that label is associated with Strasburg often, I rarely hear many folks say Matusz is an injury risk. Aside from that, its pretty tough to imagine someone being able to throw 102 and their arm actually be able to hold up, this is another reason why people think Stras will suffer a future arm injury...The arm isnt built to throw that hard....

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I got the percentage from projectprospect.com...heres the link http://projectprospect.com/article/2009/04/15/baltimore-orioles-top-5

It says he K'd 40.8% of the batters he faced. The idea of anyone having a chance for injury is pure speculation, but it is noted several times that Strasburg is a big injury risk and it seems as though that label is associated with Strasburg often, I rarely hear many folks say Matusz is an injury risk. Aside from that, its pretty tough to imagine someone being able to throw 102 and their arm actually be able to hold up, this is another reason why people think Stras will suffer a future arm injury...The arm isnt built to throw that hard....

By my count, Matusz would've had to throw something like 20+ DP balls to reach 40%.

He pitched 105 innings, gave up 83 hits and 22 walks. That equals 315 + 83 + 22 = 420.

He struck out 141. 141/420 = .33

Strasburg pitched 109 innings, gave up 65 hits and 19 walks. That equals 327 + 65 + 19 = 411.

He struck out 195. 195/411 = .48

Regardless of the percentage, though - look the difference: more innings, far fewer hits, far more strikeouts. There's really no comparison.

As for your points about injury: maybe, maybe not. I don't see any real correlation between arm injuries and velocity. And there's a significant availability bias w/ Strasburg at work, too: of course you hear more about injuries w/ Strasburg. You hear more about EVERYTHING with him. You're selectively building an argument here and failing to toe any line of objectivity. That's why I said the argument wouldn't be considered strong.

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Strasburg is #1. It shouldn't be a question. Even if you want to debate stuff and level (I still don't think it's close), there is no way a publication like BA would tout him as possibly the best draft prospect ever and then not put him at #1 on their list.

Without thinking too much, I imagine the top 10 would look something like:

Strasburg

Heyward

Posey

Matusz

Santana

Alvarez

Jennings

Montero

Bumgarner

Hellickson

Very strong at the top -- and I'm sure I missed some and mixed the order here. But I'd think something like this makes some sense.

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As for your points about injury: maybe, maybe not. I don't see any real correlation between arm injuries and velocity. And there's a significant availability bias w/ Strasburg at work, too: of course you hear more about injuries w/ Strasburg. You hear more about EVERYTHING with him. You're selectively building an argument here and failing to toe any line of objectivity. That's why I said the argument wouldn't be considered strong.

This is probably true, but there's also a "guys who throw 100 mph" bias. There aren't a long list of those guys who put up a lot of innings. I'm not questioning who the better prospect is, but it's fair to wonder about durability for a guy like Strasburg more than for the average pitcher.

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Strasburg is #1. It shouldn't be a question. Even if you want to debate stuff and level (I still don't think it's close), there is no way a publication like BA would tout him as possibly the best draft prospect ever and then not put him at #1 on their list.

Without thinking too much, I imagine the top 10 would look something like:

Strasburg

Heyward

Posey

Matusz

Santana

Alvarez

Jennings

Montero

Bumgarner

Hellickson

Very strong at the top -- and I'm sure I missed some and mixed the order here. But I'd think something like this makes some sense.

In any event, people get too caught up in exactly where our guys rank. The fact that he's a top 5-10 ish guy pretty much says all that you need. Actually, his results say all that we need, but whatever.

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This is probably true, but there's also a "guys who throw 100 mph" bias. There aren't a long list of those guys who put up a lot of innings. I'm not questioning who the better prospect is, but it's fair to wonder about durability for a guy like Strasburg more than for the average pitcher.

I'm on the record as saying I didn't envy the Nats position - they were cornered by historical forces into giving huge amounts of money to a pitcher who could well break down.

That said, the possibility of Strasburg being injured has as much to do with the investment at an age before the injury crucible than it does any increased risk of injury (having looked at the reports on mechanics, it all seems a bit guesswork-like).

None of that means that Matusz isn't just as likely to go down, however.

We should note that there's not a long list of guys who throw 100 MPH period. But there is certainly some record of power pitchers who log substantial careers as starters.

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In any event, people get too caught up in exactly where our guys rank. The fact that he's a top 5-10 ish guy pretty much says all that you need. Actually, his results say all that we need, but whatever.

I think this is right. Further, he seems like a great kid.

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I think the correlation between extremely hard throwers and injuries is a little stronger than you're making it out to be. I'll have to see what I can find online, but I thought I had heard some study about it.

I don't mean to downplay it. Obviously, velocity is the result of force, and it's an unnatural motion to begin with.

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In any event, people get too caught up in exactly where our guys rank. The fact that he's a top 5-10 ish guy pretty much says all that you need. Actually, his results say all that we need, but whatever.

Absolutely. These lists are flawed in many, many ways. Enjoy having something to read on your team's prospect and move along! :)

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Do you see what the opponents batting average was against Erbe? That in its own describes how much better Erbe was than his competition. I see absolutely no reason for him to stay at AA.

K/9, BB/9 and FIP are much better stats than opponents average when evaluating pitching prospects.

BAA can be very flukey.

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K/9, BB/9 and FIP are much better stats than opponents average when evaluating pitching prospects.

BAA can be very flukey.

I hear you, but IMO in game analysis is even better than #'s. Its not all about #'s. I like to use a good mix of evaluation and #'s. The reports coming back from people saying he changed his approach and that he looked good pitching the way he is now means more than the stats to me. You factor in the fact that no one hit him or scored many runs against him and it tells me that he pitched well. He actually gained consitency this year which people arent seeming to give him credit for. What would you rather have? His 08 season or his 09 season? I like his 09 season, it shows me that he is capable of putting it all together and I think he will continue to progress.

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