Written By: Nathan Hutchinson
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Red Sox No. 3 Prospect Bryan Mata | Portland Sea Dogs (AA) 21 Years Old | Bats: Right | Throws: Right | 6’3 260Ibs | ETA: 2021
Bryan Mata had a wild start to his career, he originally agreed to sign with the Brewers but a groin injury forced him to delay his signing. In late January 2016, he signed for the Red Sox. In 3 seasons he progressed to AA, showing a power arm and an ability to generate tons of groundballs. Injuries have slowed development and are a concern for the future.
A power FB with tons of sink and two-seam action. It sits in the mid-90s but can touch 98+ in shorter outings. With electric sink it produced a 2.2 groundout/flyout in 2019, he gets the pitch into the hands of both LHB and RHB effectively. The biggest concern is the command, he showed some improvements in the first half of 2019 but struggling once reaching AA. It has the potential to be a groundball induces machine with some improved command.
Not overly used in his first couple of seasons, Mata found his SL and ran with it. In the mid-80s with tons of sharp break, it generates a bunch of swing and miss but even when it’s hit it tough to square up. The concern is the consistency, he often misses location and can get caught throwing it in too many predictable counts.
Not a great pitch but Mata has shown some faith in it, he used it early in his career but has since moved away from it. With solid 11-5 action, the pitch has some value against LHB and if he plans to stay a starter, he’ll need a decent enough 4th pitch.
Seemly used as a secondary pitch, his changeup has some enticing characteristics, primarily his movement patterns. Tons of fade and he keeps his arm speed close to the same as his fastball. The only concern is with a FB that has two-seam/sinker movement patterns, a changeup with similar movement isn’t always the most effective.
The biggest concern with Mata is his command, averaging around a 4.1 BB/9 in his career. The upside is improving his walk rate from 2019 and his reports from the alternate site in 2020 were that with a mechanical change, simplifying his delivery, he became much better at commanding his pitches early in the counts.
Future Value: 45
Bryan Mata has the upside as a mid-rotation starter with improved command, if he can’t figure out his command then a leverage reliever role is a possibility as well. Mata has the size, the stuff, and the makeup to be a successful big-league arm if he can put it all together.