Boston Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata shows potential in Triple-A debut
On Tuesday, fans got to see the Triple-A debut of Boston Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata.
The debut came after the right-handed starting pitcher missed all of 2021 due to Tommy John surgery and he didn’t make his return until June. So it wouldn’t have been all that surprising if it took Mata long to get back to form.
Instead, we saw him make just one Low-A appearance, looking sharp. From there he looked solid in High-A (minus one hiccup) over three starts. Then Mata was back in Double-A, where he finished the 2019 season.
Despite not pitching in over two years, Mata had been great up to this point. In Portland is where he really reminded everyone that he’s an elite prospect though. There’s a reason I call him “El Idolo” (and it’s not just to pay homage to Andrade).
Mata made 10 appearances in Double-A this season, posting a 1.85 ERA, .202 BAA, 1.19 WHIP, and 58 strikeouts over 48 2/3 innings. That ridiculous dominance led to a promotion to Triple-A. And on Tuesday, Mata made that debut.
There were some ups and downs in his first-career start with the Worcester Red Sox. The 23-year-old gave up one run on two hits and four walks over three innings, striking out one batter.
Those four walks stand out the most probably. That’s something Mata has had issues with in the past. His control isn’t always there. And on Tuesday, that was the case. What makes him special though, is how he can almost always limit the damage. He has disgusting stuff and not only racks up the Ks, but can create a lot of weak contact AND keep the ball on the ground.
Mata did just that on Tuesday. Despite not having the best command over his pitches, he was effective. Mata managed to hit 100-MPH with his fastball. He showed some nasty break on his curveball. And even though the pitch clearly didn’t hit the intended spot (and Mata didn’t look pleased with himself) it was still enough to get a slight knee-buckle from the batter.
Mata also didn’t have the command issues you might imagine. Was he great in that category? Absolutely not. But four walks in three innings might have you thinking he couldn’t find the strike zone. Three of his four walks came on six, seven, and 10 pitches. They were just long at-bats where he lost the battle.
Meanwhile, his one run allowed almost didn’t happen. With runners on the corners and one out, Mata got a ground ball that could have ended the inning. Instead, they only got the runner at second because there was some struggle with the transfer. While this was happening, the man on third came home to score.
Yes, it was still on Mata for allowing the men on base. But he did what he was supposed to do to get out of the inning, sometimes things just don’t work out in your favor.
Overall, it was far from a perfect Triple-A debut. Bryan Mata showcases that “ace” potential though. This feels like the right time to remind everyone, that I actually have him higher than Brayan Bello. El Idolo was regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball before he missed last season. He’s back to reclaim that title.