My rankings is solely subjective and based on nothing more than what is in my head at time I’m writing this. I’ve followed the Mets minor league players for many years and I feel I can recognize talent at various levels of their development. What I have failed at is how to determine when this talent seems to diminish. It’s amazing how many first round picks never make it in this game.
I’m old school, so you won’t seem much SABR-discussion here, I do research and, when I find a good quote or two, I’ll add them to my analysis, but, like I said in the beginning of this post, most of this us subjective.
Let’s get started.
#3 – LHSP – Steven Matz – 23-years old – 6-2, 200 – R/L
2nd round draft pick – 2009 – Ward Melville HS (NY)
2012 – K/Port – 6-starts, 1.55, 1.14, 29-IP, 34-K
2013 – Sav – 21-starts, 2.62, 1.17, 106.1-IP, 121-K
2014 – St.L/B-Mets – 24-starts, 2.24, 1.19, 140.2-IP, 131-K
The Mets didn’t have a first round pick in 2009 (signed Francisco Rodriguez), so Matz was the first player they chose with the 72nd overall pick in the second round. Not everyone was thrilled with the pick because Matz had questionable mechanics that could lead to early injuries. He also had a low-90s fastball which did calm the critics down.
Matz didn’t sign until the August deadline so he did not get in any game-time action in 2009.
Things went from bad to worse when he reported for the 2010 extended camp. There was discomfort in his pitching elbow that sent him to New York. He was diagnosed with an 80% tear in his UCL and underwent Tommy John Surgery.
But we’re just getting started here. Matz attempted to pitch again in 2011 but scar tissue and lingering tightness prevented this return to the mound. He was once again lost, this time for the second season in a row.
2012 brought six starts for Kingsport before he was shelved once more for shoulder tendonitis.
By now, there few of us left that thought we’d see a productive pitcher here, but Matz returned in 2013 with 21 quality starts for Savannah.
Yes, he will be turning 24 in May, but the Mets aren’t going to rush this very talented lefty in 2015. I’m not sure where he’ll start this year, be it Binghamton or Las Vegas, but he will probably end it out west and join the parent team on opening day, 2016.