Jake Arrieta Makes His Major League Debut

With Brad Bergesen having been demoted to the bullpen, the Orioles called up right-hander Jake Arrieta from Triple-A to make his major league debut against the New York Yankees. It’s a tough draw for the 24 year-old, but I suppose that with his shiny 1.85 ERA this year the team thought he could handle it just fine.

I’m not so sure about that though. Arrieta is walking more guys this year than he has at any point in the minors (4.2 BB/9), and his strike-out rate is still down from where it was at the lower levels (7.9 K/9, it was 7.7 K/9 in Triple-A last year but from 9 to 11 in Double-A and below). I really like that he’s getting a lot of groundballs – with a groundball rate of about 53%, which is part of the reason he’s only giving up 0.4 HR/9 (along with a very low HR/FB rate that won’t continue in the majors) – but he was much more of a flyball pitcher last year so we’ll see if that sticks going forward.

When the CHONE projections were updated at the beginning of June, they had Arrieta with around a 5.30 FIP based on 6.6 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, and 1.3 HR/9. That doesn’t seem unreasonable to me, though it wouldn’t be a big surprise if he had some trouble getting his strike-out to walk ratio over 1 for a little while.

That said, the big three – Matusz, Tillman, and Arrieta – are all in the big leagues now, and the Orioles, in large measure, will go as far as those arms take them.