The Boston Red Sox have plenty of prospects that the following season could be very good to. Just exactly who will make it their year in 2019 though?
Look at any list of the Boston Red Sox top prospects. It’s a guarantee that Bryan Mata will be near the top of every single one of them. There’s good reason for that too, as the pitcher not only has raw potential, but has looked great against every level of competition he’s faced to this point.
2018 was shaping up to be another strong year before injuries cut it short. Still, in 17 starts, Mata managed a 6-3 record. He posted a 3.50 ERA and 61 strikeouts over 72 innings as well.
If there was any negative to his season, it was Mata’s walk rate. The right-hander allowed a staggering 58 walks and hit 12 more batters in those 72 innings. That was more walks than his first two seasons (45 walks in 138 innings) combined.
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Mata was able to keep his ERA low thanks to an incredible BAA though, holding his opponents to a .229 average. Even more impressive, he only allowed one home run all season. That’s something he’s always been able to boast, allowing just six home runs total in 210 career innings.
So why will 2019 be the year of Bryan Mata despite a career-worst walk rate and injuries shortening his 2018 season?
Mata will start the 2019 season as a 19-year-old. That means he was 18 and 19 last year. Excuse a teenager for maybe having a little bit of a command problem. Besides that walk-rate, it’s hard to ignore the BAA. The weak contact he produces has led to success at every level so far.
2016 saw Mata’s first year spent in Rookie Ball. 2017 had him spend the year in Full-A. Finally, all of 2018 was spent in Advanced-A. Smart money would be on Mata starting the year there again. At such a young age, there is negative pressure to rush him – the clock isn’t running out.
That being said if he continues to improve in certain areas, Advanced-A might be just his first stop in 2019.
Mata’s still learning and improving on his pitches, and that should scare a lot of opponents. He’s already this dominant while there are obvious improvements to be made. 2019 could be the year a lot of that all comes together.
Mata will be a major part of the Red Sox rotation in the future. For now though, he’s refining his skills while climbing the minor league ladder. 2019 will be another year where he shows off ridiculous talent while being way too young to do so. With that in mind, 2019 won’t be the “Year of Bryan Mata” but another “Year of Bryan Mata”.