Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata
Bryan Mata was initially expected to land in Milwaukee but the Brewers backed out due to a groin injury that the right-hander was dealing with at the time. Their loss was Boston’s gain, as the Red Sox signed him in January of 2016.
Mata had been viewed as the top pitching prospect in the Red Sox farm system but he’s a bit more difficult to rate after missing all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Since the previous season was cancelled by the pandemic, we haven’t seen Mata on the mound since 2019.
If his recovery goes well and he returns to form next season, Mata still has plenty of upside. His fastball can reach triple-digits with good movement. He posted a 9.5 K/9 in time split between two levels in 2019 and he could blow hitters away at an elite rate with that blazing fastball.
Mata throws a two-seam fastball with great sinking action. It’s not the strikeout pitch that his four-seam fastball can be but he generates weak contact for inducing ground balls. His nasty slider is going to make plenty of hitters look foolish with its late break and his fading changeup provides another potentially plus pitch. He also has a curveball in his repertoire that can be devastating when he has a feel for it.
Aside from staying healthy, the biggest concern with Mata is his control. He owned a staggering 7.3 BB/9 in 17 starts at the High-A level in 2018. He improved his command the following year but his 3.6 BB/9 remained uncomfortably high. Mata also walked 11 batters in 10 1/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League that year.
The hype on Mata has cooled off during his recovery from surgery but he still has the upside to be an ace.