On August 16th, 2010 at 12:00 AM, just 24 hours before the midnight signing deadline, it looked more and more likely that Matt Bywater, the Orioles’ 7th round pick, would go unsigned. Rumors were floating around that he was going to return to Pepperdine for a 4th year of college and the Orioles were unwilling to up their offer. However, with just four hours before the signing deadline, the Orioles and Bywater agreed to terms.
Amongst Orioles fans, Bywater has often been compared to both Brian Matusz and Rick Zagone. He receives comparisons to Matusz because of his outstanding changeup, which area scout Gil Kubski said was the best in the entire 2010 draft class. The Zagone comparisons come because of Bywater’s left handedness, his label of a “finesse” pitcher and both own a high 80’s fastball.
Bywater dominated throughout his college career by constantly fooling hitters with a devastating changeup, which is a true out pitch and an easy plus pitch. With a high 80’s fastball which touches 91 mph, he’s going to need to command the FB very well and to all parts of the strike zone. His curveball is a tick below average but should become average in time. He has above-average command of all three pitches.
The Orioles already had an impressive group of young lefties in the minors and Bywater is another name to add to the group. If all goes well, he could develop into a solid #4 starter.
He’ll likely start 2011 as part of Delmarva’s rotation but should end up at Frederick by mid-season (something similar to Ryan Berry in 2010) and could advance through the system rather quickly.