Continuing with the Shortstop position here’s my look at top Yankee prospect Jorge Mateo.
Jorge Mateo age 20 is listed at 6′ 188 lbs (might be 5-10 lbs heavier than that) he bats and throws right. He was signed by the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic in January 2012 for $250,000.
According to Kiley McDaniel (formally of Fangraphs, now with the Atlanta Braves) Mateo wasn’t a high profile signee as a 16 year old but grew a couple of inches and put on 25-30 pounds of muscle. (Projecting 15 and 16 year olds has to be the most difficult job in the business).
He had an excellent showing in the DSL (Dominican Southern League) in 2013 hitting .287/ .378/ .450 in 258 at bats with 22 extra base hits and 49 SB’s. He came to the states in 2014 and got off to a good start in the GCL before breaking a finger which ended his season. Mateo’s stock was blowing up this past off season and he was heralded as the next Jose Reyes (speedy shortstop who can hit, hit with power and play a lockdown SS) and he was certainly one of the players I was most excited to see in 2015.
I got to see 12 at bats over three games (I was hoping for more, I would have gotten one more look but the game was rained out and he was promoted on Aug 3rd). Not a huge sample but when combined with the batted ball rates it’s enough to get a good base. He can do a lot of those things but he’s not a Jose Reyes clone.
At the dish he has an upright closed stance, He has a long level swing and a fast bat, he’s wiry strong and the ball jumps off of his barrel. He doesn’t always pick up spin. Double-A will be a good test for Mateo where pitchers begin to pitch backwards and can consistently hit their spots with all of their pitches.
Here’s a look at the batted ball rates courtesy of MLB Farm
I’m using data from opening day – August 3rd (which covers his time in Charleston).
vs RHP- (210 balls in play) Ground ball 49%, Line Drive 26%, Fly Ball 15%, Pop Up 10%, walk 9%, strikeout 22% .125 ISO
Mateo is an aggressive hitter vs RHP, he’s spraying the ball all over the yard with sharp grounders and low line drives. His strikeout rate improved after the All star break to 17% the last 5 weeks or so.
vs LHP- (65 balls in play) Ground Ball 43%, Fly Ball 26%, Line Drive 20%, Pop Up 10%, walk 18%, strikeout 24% .106 ISO
A different hitter vs LHP, more patient, he pulls the ball more, tries to drive the ball more and puts a lot more balls in the air. He seems to pick the ball up better albeit in a small sample size.
The potential is there for Mateo to be a 50/55 bat with 45 also a possibility or 250-280 I’m hoping to see continued improvement with the contact rate. He needs a better two strike approach.
As mentioned above Mateo is a pretty strong young man and he has the frame that could handle another 10-15 lbs of muscle but that would likely cut into the speed a little bit. He already has 50/55 raw power although with his swing plane he’s not selling out for power, nor should he with his speed. Without any adjustment he’s an 8-12 home run hitter with loads of doubles and triples.
Speed is top of the scale I would love to see a race with Mateo, Billy Hamilton, and Wes Rogers (Asheville Tourist, Rockies) 50-60 steals? More?
Defensively he’s got all the tools necessary to stay at shortstop, an above average arm and range, his actions are still a bit choppy but there’s time.
Here we get a good look at Jorge Mateo’s swing courtesy of David Lee (Augusta Chronicle and Baseball Prospectus and one of my favorite Twitter follows @David11Lee)
Mateo is an exciting player and it’ll be exciting to see his continued development.
I’ll be be back soon with a look at Javier Guerra of the Greenville Drive (Red Sox) thanks for reading. If you have questions or comments look for me on Twitter @AshevilleSoxFan or use the section below. Cheers.