Red Sox starting pitcher protégé – Bryan Mata
Bryan Mata suffered an injury and had to get Tommy John surgery during Spring Training last season. Honestly though, that did absolutely nothing to knock my excitement for the right-handed pitcher.
Mata has it all going for him. The only real negative I can think of is some injury concern and some command issues. Tommy John might have helped with both of those though oddly enough.
The 22-year-old (will be 23 on May 3rd) had a great season in 2019. He posted a new career-high in innings pitched (105) and strikeouts (111). His walks were down to 42 from 58 the year prior. That’s extremely impressive considering he only threw 72 innings that season.
As you can see the walks are a major issue. 42 in 105 innings isn’t good and that was the major improvement. The fact that he made some a big leap tells you that it’s something he is capable of straightening out though.
Mata also posted a 3.43 ERA, .237 BAA, and 1.28 WHIP in 2019. He did so while spending time in both High-A and Double-A (his highest point in the minors so far).
It’s unclear what 2022 holds for him. The fact that his last game since the injury was his best game ever has to leave people wanting more though. In his final start in 2019, Mata set career-highs in innings (7) and strikeouts (9). He did so while walking five, but only allowing one hit and zero runs. It was utter dominance.
His pitches are absolute filth. And the fact that he was usually the youngest player on the field when he was playing makes you excited for what a matured version can do (and I use “matured” lightly as he’s still only 22).
Mata might start the year on the injured list as he’s still recovering from TJ. When he does come back, it will be interesting to see where Boston places him in the minors and what type of workload they give him. It will also be interesting to see how his pitches look though. Will he have added a couple MPH or some extra break to his pitches? Or will there be more command now? You never know what TJ will do to a pitchers repertoire.
Mata is an ace. I’ve been saying it for years and I won’t back down now. He could be in the Majors by the time he’s 24. And that gives him a long time to rack up some big numbers in Boston.