In order to promote versatility, the New York Yankees are letting former top prospect Jorge Mateo get work in at the hot corner.
According to Erik Boland of Newsday, Mateo spent time at third base on Thursday at the major league complex in Tampa. He worked at second base a ton last season in High-A Tampa and also spent time in center field during the fall instructional league.
In 2015, before Gleyber Torres became the top shortstop prospect in the Yankees’ system, Mateo characterized himself as “good as advertised” by slashing .321/.374/.452 with a .826 OPS in High-A Tampa following a promotion from Charleston. He also stole 82 bases in 117 games and even improved his batting average by 53 points.
2016 was a different story for the speedster. Even though he opened eyes in Spring Training with an absolute moonshot, he went just 4-for-17 (.235) and carried his struggles into the regular season.
In 113 games, Mateo struck out in 23 percent of his at-bats, slashed a mere .254/.306/.379 and only stole 36 bases. Worst of all, he complained of his non-promotion to Double-A and was tabbed with a suspension for irrational remarks towards a Yankees’ executive.
Now, he has been left off Keith Law’s top 100 prospect list but seeing his speed in the outfield or in a super utility role could benefit not only his stock, but his value to the Yankees organization.
Seeing what he could offer at third base is surely a good idea. It’s not foreign to many that New York has a glut of middle infield prospects and while Didi Gregorius is holding down the fort for the foreseeable future at short, the third base position has Miguel Andujar and not much depth after him.
In the end, it’s almost unmanageable to have Starlin Castro, Gregorius, Mateo and Torres in the same infield. It only makes sense that one of the prospects — in this case, Mateo — sees a position switch.
Mateo is on the Yankees’ 40-man roster and will attend his second consecutive spring training. Pitchers and catchers report to camp on February 13.
Prospect Jorge Mateo, who has played mostly SS but also some at 2B (& some in CF during fall instructional league) did some work at 3B today
— Erik Boland (@eboland11) February 9, 2017