Now that's more like it people.

Civilized criticism and thoughtful questions. You guys should be newspaper reporters, you know, assuming that job title continues to exist.


Seriously, some nice thoughts/questions sent Andy MacPhail's way.

I'm actually kicking around the idea of a day spent answering your questions at the bar, and a lot of them could be the same thrown out to MacPhail. It would be my opinion, of course, but a lot of my feelings are formed after talking to people within the organization. Let me know if it would be worth having a question-and-answer day about the Orioles here. If you think so, maybe we'll set it up.

Anyway, I promised to share some of my observations from spring training, and we'll do that today. I'll go with the positives – we'll get to the negatives later.

I was impressed with the club's trio of stud pitching prospects -- Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz.

I also talked to two scouts about the trio. One thinks Arrieta should be in the majors now. He's got great stuff and has, umm, lots of confidence. Plainly speaking, the scout said the kid was too cocky to be overwhelmed by the majors. That scout thinks he'll be the best of the three and should rise the quickest.

Another scout told me Tillman is the guy. That he is a future No. 1, that Matusz has the acumen to be a No. 2 and that Arrieta is "a No. 3 at worst." If healthy, the scout believes the Orioles have an amazing future top of the rotation already set.

Honestly, I have to say Tillman impressed me the most. His curve is outstanding, at least it was when I saw him throw. His fastball has good movement and, as the scouts say, he was missing bats.

What impressed me the most, though, occurred the day he was sent down. I interviewed Tillman with a group of reporters and he was a completely different kid from last year. So much more confidence, and much more relaxed talking to us than he was in 2008. The kid, just 20, seems to have matured a great deal. Count me as a passenger on the "Tillman's special" bandwagon.

I've also been impressed with the way Matusz has handled himself since he was signed. I didn't get a chance to talk to Arrieta, so I can't offer an opinion on his makeup, except to relay what the scout said.

My belief is that you'll see one of these guys up in Baltimore this season. Maybe two. I guess there's an outside chance you'll see all three.

I also expect that Brad Bergesen, a control artist and a super nice kid, will beat them all up to the majors.

I agree with the one scout that we'll probably see Arrieta, 23, first of the trio, then Tillman later on (because of his tender age) if he is successful at Triple-A and then Matusz, 22, if he makes it up at all in 2009. But that's just a guess.

I am curious as to which one of the three you most want to see in an Orioles uniform.

Daily Think Special: Which of the 'Nasty Three' of pitching prospects are you most interested in seeing play for the Orioles?


Bonus Think Special: Would you be interested in an "ask the barkeep" day at the bar, where you pose the questions and I give the opinions?