No. 27: Red Sox starting pitching prospect Bryan Mata
Bryan Mata was once one of the most electric pitching prospects in baseball. Then came a series of unfortunate events for El Idolo.
The 2020 MiLB season was canceled due to the pandemic. Then Mata suffered an injury, which led to Tommy John surgery, and the pitcher missed the entire 2021 season.
Mata returned in 2022 and had a strong campaign, reminding everyone how talented he is.
However, 2023 was ... rough. Mata posted a 6.33 ERA, .274 BAA, and 2.19 WHIP in Triple-A. He struck out 28 batters compared to 30 walks in 27 innings.
Control has always been an issue for Mata, but this season was a step further into the fire. His stuff is phenomenal, and he only surrendered one home run this year. But it's going to be tough to succeed if the control isn't improved.
Mata has a live fastball with plenty of movement that works in the high 90s and has hit 100 plenty of times. It has elite potential, but again, the command comes into play.
He has a high 80s slider with a hard vertical break. Mata loses the pitch sometimes. Not only does it get wild, but it might even sit flat. It's his most inconsistent pitch.
A curveball in the high 70s is next. It has a sweeping break, and while it's not 100% consistent, Mata has a better feel for it than the slider. We didn't see it much this season, but when he's on, Mata can dot the curveball on corners.
Finally, there's a changeup that has elite potential right up there with the fastball. It looks eerily similar to Mata's fastball coming out of his hand but is significantly slower (mid-80s) with a nasty drop to it.
Mata has two elite potential pitches and two more plus potential pitches. It's all there if he can get the control and consistency figured out.