In this edition of ESNY’s New York Yankees Prospect Profile, we look at one of the most highly touted prospects, Jorge Mateo.
Mateo is currently ranked as the third top prospect in the Yankees farm system, just behind Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres, according to MLB Pipeline, but most Yankees’ fans are quite familiar with Mateo due to his skills that amaze all.
The 21-year old is an average defender that can hit at a decent level but the main tool in his arsenal that scouts always admire are the wheels that he has in place of legs. These attributes help Mateo hold the title of the twentieth-best minor league prospect in all of major league baseball.
Take a look at what scouts have to say about the rest of his skills:
Scouting grades via MLB Pipeline: Hit: 55 / Power: 45 / Run: 80 / Arm: 60 / Field: 55 / Overall: 55
Many scouts have compared Mateo’s tool belt to that of Jose Reyes due to the lightning fast speed and the ability to put contact on the ball. Scouts told Pipeline that they were originally worried about Mateo’s arm but after working on building strength, his arm is shockingly an above average attribute of his.
The bat of Mateo is not one that carries much power, he acquires many infield hits with his fast legs. He can unquestionably be an Ichiro-type player who could be a spark at the top of the lineup and get on base for guys to drive him.
In 2016 with the Tampa Yankees, Mateo has spent 100 of his 111 games with the team batting first in the order. He has solidified himself as the typical leadoff man but the hope is he can find himself to make more contact with the ball, as long he can put the ball on the ground he is almost guaranteed a hit.
After spending the 2012 and 2013 seasons in the Dominican Summer League, Mateo spent 15 games of the following year (2014) with the Gulf Coast League Yankees where he was impressive on the base paths.
In the very little time, he would go on to steal 11 bases which were very impressive.
Mateo played his first full season of professional baseball last season where he split time between the Charleston River Dogs and the Tampa Yankees.
In 117 games, Mateo batted .278 with a stellar 82 stolen bases which put Mateo on the map in the prospect world. Baseball America ranked Mateo as the #26 prospect in all of baseball prior to the 2016 season.
Mateo received a non-roster invite to Yankees spring training camp in 2016 where he batted .235 with a home run in just 17 games which is impressive given that the youngster was only in A-ball the previous year.
The shortstop began this year’s regular season the same place he ended it in 2015, the Tampa Yankees.
In 111 games, Mateo is batting .258 with eight home runs and 35 stolen bases. This is the average for Mateo’s skill set and what we have seen throughout his career.
After performing well in the first half of the season, Mateo received an invitation to San Diego for this year’s All-Star Futures Game. Unfortunately, Mateo would not be able to take part in the game due to a surprising suspension.
On July 6, he was suspended for two weeks for violating the team’s code of conduct policy. While that strikes as a huge red-flag, many fans are hoping that there are not many more issues with Mateo because they consider him as the future of the franchise.
With an MLB ETA of 2018, we should not expect to see Mateo in pinstripes for a few years. But, when he does make his debut he will definitely bring his personality and his jets to the Bronx.