Red Sox top prospect rehabbing from injury and could help big-league bullpen soon

2024 Boston Red Sox Spring Training
2024 Boston Red Sox Spring Training / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Boston Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata was set to make his MLB debut at the beginning of the 2024 season until he was bitten by the ever-vigilant injury bug during spring training.

The right-hander strained his hamstring in late February and has been sidelined since May 13. Many expected to see the 25-year-old prospect on the Opening Day roster, but his ailment has delayed his season significantly.

After months of rehab, Mata made his first rehab outing in the Florida Complex League on May 13. He struck out two batters and allowed three hits and a run over two innings of work.

The pitching prospect is expected to make multiple rehab appearances at different levels in the Red Sox's minor-league system before appearing in the big leagues for the first time in his career. Mata is out of minor-league options, so he needs to join the Red Sox at the end of his assignment.

Former Red Sox elite pitching prospect Bryan Mata made rehab outing in Florida Complex League

Mata has mostly been used as a starter in the minors, but projects him as a multi-inning reliever due to his struggles with command and slowed velocity in later innings. His fastball tops out at 99 MPH and his slider and changeup are his next-best offerings.

Mata's pitching career has been derailed by injuries over multiple seasons. In 2021, he underwent Tommy John surgery, which caused him to miss the entire minor-league season. After pitching 83 innings in 2022, Mata was limited to 27 frames the following year due to a shoulder injury.

The Venezuela native owns a 3.41 ERA in 427 innings spread across all levels of the minor leagues. His numbers are slightly inflated due to his shortened 2023 slate, during which he pitched to a career-worst 6.33 ERA.

The righty was Baseball America's top-ranked Sox pitching prospect in the lead-up to spring training 2023. If Mata can rehab quickly and stay healthy long enough to make an impact in the big leagues this season, he may be able to live up to those lofty expectations.

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