When left-handed pitcher Tyler Matzek was selected in the 2009 MLB Draft, the Colorado Rockies figured they would have a pitcher ready to join the major league team three to four years down the road (2012 or 2013). But don't let SI.com's Ben Glicksman know that. He believes Matzek should pitch in the majors in 2011:
The Rockies may decide to keep the 20-year-old in Triple-A to start the season, but should the need arise for another starter during the season, look for Matzek to be the best option.
Read that closely. Glicksman is basically saying that the Rockies should have Matzek on their major league roster come April 1, 2011. Matzek played for the Low-A Asheville Tourists in 2010 as a 19-year-old with mostly good results. He had 2.92 ERA in 89 1/3 innings, striking out 88 batters and holding them to a .204 average. But he also walked 62 guys.
While Matzek works with a 95-mph fastball, a slider and a curveball, that doesn't mean he has mastered the command and control of those pitches. To jump three levels and make his major league debut as a 20-year-old in 2011 would be masterful, and probably disastrous.
Let's put it this way, Seattle's Felix Hernandez made his major league debut at 19 in 2005. However, he was striking out 10.7 batters per nine innings in the minor leagues for 2 1/2 seasons before that. Matzek has only one minor league season under his belt and had an 8.9 K/9. He also averaged just over six walks per nine innings.
In the best of all worlds, Matzek would be able to accomplish Hernandez's rookie line (2.67 ERA, 158 ERA+, 77 K, 23 BB). I'm not holding my breath. But do expect Matzek to pitch for the High-A Modesto Nuts and possibly reach Double-A Tulsa in 2011.