Boston Red Sox: Why Bryan Mata will be the ace in three years

Boston Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata will be the ace of the staff by the time the 2023 season begins. Get excited. Here is why.

If you are not familiar with Boston Red Sox prospect Bryan Mata yet, I have two words for ya quick points to make. First, definitely get familiar with him. Second, you don’t usually read my articles, do you? Because if you did, you would absolutely know who Mata is.

Now, my view of him might be a little different than that of others. A lot of people are very high on the prospect, and for good reason. I’m not just high on him though, I’m all-in. All my chips are pushed to the center.

Mata is part of what makes this 2020 season (or lack thereof) so frustrating. This was set to be a massive year in terms of his development, and now he might not even get to pitch.

However, he is still on-track to be a superstar. How big depends on who you ask. I’m controlling the narrative in this article though, and that means we’re discussing his potential as the “ace” of the Red Sox.

Let’s flash ahead to 2023. Mata is the ace of the staff. How do we get there?

Well sadly 2020 is probably a wash. However, the pitcher made serious strides in 2019. So this might not be the biggest setback. Why is that, you ask? Because Mata is a lot closer to the Majors than you might think.

In 2019, the right-handed pitcher started the year in Advanced-A. There he was utterly dominant. In 10 starts (51 1/3 innings), Mata held a 1.75 ERA, .201 BAA and 1.09 WHIP. He struck out 52 batters and allowed just one home run.

Then for the final 11 starts, Mata was pitching in Double-A. There the numbers were not as good. In 53 2/3 innings he had a 5.03 ERA, .271 BAA and 1.45 WHIP. The 59 strikeouts were nice though.

It also feels important to note that his last three starts of 2019 lowered his ERA, and his last was the best of his career. In Mata’s last start of 2019, he went a career-high seven innings. He allowed just one hit (five walks though) and zero runs, striking out a career-high nine. Maybe he was figuring out Double-A.

So 2020 probably won’t see Mata in the Majors. The minor league season might not even happen and if it does, it will be extremely shortened. That won’t give the 21-year-old enough time to get ready.

2021 though? That will be the year he makes his MLB debut. Everything is trending towards it happening. Even if he gets no time in 2020, Mata will start 2021 in Double-A. And from there is just a few injuries or a hot stretch from making the leap to the Majors.

Notice though, I did not say he will be the ace in 2021. That would be extremely unfair to assume that from a 22-year-old making his MLB debut. Especially on a Red Sox team with Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez.

So 2021 will be the feeling out year. Then 2022 will be a year that sees a lot of marked improvements. Remember, he will be 23 at that point. He could still be learning a lot and even gaining speed on his pitches and mastering them more.

However, then we come to 2023. Mata will be 24 and have more than a full year’s experience in the Majors at that point.

This is a current 21-year-old that has a plus-plus 4-seam, a great 2-seam, a dangerous changeup and an evolving slider. Give him three more years to work on those pitches and service time in the Majors. What is stopping him from being one of the elites?

Now think about what I’m saying here. The ace on a Red Sox staff that has Rodriguez and Sale? That’s seriously how high I am on the youngster.

Just look at his biggest knock entering 2019. Mata walked too many batters, that was his one big issue. In 2018 he walked 58 batters in 72 innings, that’s alarming.

So what did he do in 2019? He threw a career-high 105 innings and managed to drop his walks down to 42.  Mata is evolving before our very eyes. It’s scary to think just how good he could be by 2023.

Next: Red Sox: Michael Chavis praises Dustin Pedroia for mentorship

And hey, why stop there? By 2023 Bryan Mata could be the ace of the Boston Red Sox. Maybe by 2025 he could be considered the ace of the MLB.