Single-A pitcher Bryan Mata will be the only prospect representing the Boston Red Sox in the 2018 Futures Game during All-Star week.
Major League Baseball has announced the rosters for the 2018 Futures Game. One glance at the rosters makes it excruciatingly clear how barren the Boston Red Sox farm system is when it comes to blue-chip talent.
Right-handed pitcher Bryan Mata will be the lone prospect representing the Red Sox in this minor league All-Star game. The native of Venezuela will play for the World team. The roster is made up of players from eight different countries and territories outside of the U.S.
The 19-year-old Mata is the youngest pitcher in the High-A Carolina league. He may have the most upside of any prospect in the system but he’s years away from being major league ready.
Mata is 5-2 with a 3.14 ERA for Single-A Salem this season. He’s held opposing batters to a .209 average but with nearly as many walks (55) as strikeouts (56) over 66 innings.
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Control issues can be expected with a pitcher moving up a level at this age. The scouting report on Mata reveals he typically throws strikes with a fastball that hovers between 90-94 mph. He could see an uptick in velocity as his frame fills out. Mata also has a curve that he can throw for strikes. He can miss bats and generates a lot of ground balls when hitters do make contact.
MLB.com ranked Mata as the No. 4 prospect in the Red Sox system entering this season. An 80-game PED suspension for Michael Chavis and Tommy John surgery for Jay Groome has since diminished the value of their top two prospects. No. 3 prospect Tanner Houck is 3-10 with a 5.32 ERA for Single-A Salem.
No wonder the Red Sox won’t have more than one participant in the Futures Game.
That’s nothing new. Rafael Devers was the organization’s only representative last year. Weeks later he was promoted to the big leagues and is no longer considered a prospect.
Technically, Mata won’t be the only one with ties to the Red Sox participating in the Futures Game. The World team will be managed by David Ortiz. The former designated hitter made 10 All-Star appearances during his 14 seasons in Boston. He also won three World Series titles and has his No. 34 retired at Fenway Park.
Former Red Sox reliever Joel Hanrahan will serve as the pitching coach for the USA team.
The 20th annual Futures Game will be played on Sunday, July 15 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The game will be broadcast live on MLB Network starting at 4:00 ET.