HYPE files: Luis Mateo

Where’s the hype?

Luis Mateo, SP: Luis Mateo was a starting pitcher that was pegged to be a sleeper by many coming into this season. It is no wonder either because there’s a lot to like about Mateo — his frame (6’3”, 185 pounds), relatively young age (22 years old), and his stuff. Mateo sits at 95 MPH regularly (tops out at 97) and has a sharp slider. In the DSL last year, Mateo dominated by throwing 63 innings and striking out 85 while only walking 5. Those numbers earned him a ticket to Brooklyn this year.

Mateo picked up exactly where he left off last season in Brooklyn this year. In 73.1 innings of work he produced 85 Ks, 9 BBs, a 2.45 ERA, and only gave up 2 HRs all year. Batters hit .210 off him and that includes righties only hitting .189 against him all year. He dominated righty batters in 55 innings with 63 Ks and only 4 BBs. The lack of walks is pretty outstanding: in a combined 136 innings in two seasons, Mateo has struck out 170 and walked only 14. For a young power pitcher, that’s borderline unreal.

The knock on Mateo is his age. He is 22 years old and still hasn’t played a full season of professional baseball. However, that has not stopped him from making Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet last week, where they had this to say about his age:

“Yes, Mateo’s a little older than you’d like to see from a prospect who hasn’t hit full-season ball yet, but don’t get too hung up on the age. Since 2008, Mateo went nearly four years without being able to get his contract approved, first with the Giants over bone chips in his elbow and then a deal with the Padres that fell apart over age issues”

As one can see, there are reasons Mateo has been on a slow track through the minors. His slow track through the minors should not diminish his results however. What he is doing is impressive, no matter how one wants to slice it. One has to assume that his track through the minors will be sped up by the Mets next year. It is not out of the question to see him pitch in Savannah and St. Lucie next year. It is also not out of the question to see the Mets be aggressive with him and start him in St. Lucie with a promotion to Binghamton towards the end of the year.

Since Mateo has not played a full season of professional baseball, it would not be fair or accurate to really put a label on him right now. However, I would not argue with people who think he will be a top/middle of the rotation starter. The only problem with saying that this early, is he has no third pitch to really work with. He is already 22 years old, so next year Mateo needs to start showing a third pitch.

However, if that third pitch doesn’t work out for him he will no doubt have a role in the bullpen. At the very least he will be a righty specialist, but with Mateo it’s not hard for one to see the Mets future closer. It might be smarter for the Mets to fast track him to the majors with the plan for him to be their next closer. Along with Jeurys Familia, the Mets might have their next 1-2 punch in the bullpen for the next decade.

8 comments for “HYPE files: Luis Mateo

  1. Mack Ade
    September 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm


    I have seen so many Luis Mateo’s at the Brooklyn level in the past. Frankly, there are five “old men” there ending their season now.

    The all are taken out of school at 14 by their “bustero” and are signed late by a major league team when they are 19-21. Where were they the 5-6 years prior? Some lie about their age, including Mateo.

    I could go back and show you 100 pitchers in your lifetime that dominated at this level for the Mets that never got out of AA.

    Now, the other side. Three scouts, including the head scout of the top scouting magazine in the nation, told me in person that he’s the “real deal”.

    Me? Too early. We’ll see, and hopefully, the Mets will bump him to St. Lucie in the spring, which is the minimum level he should be pitching at for his age.

    I don’t make bets on these kids. Just show me the meat.

    • Stephen Basile
      September 10, 2012 at 12:41 am

      I agree Mack it’s premature to project these guys at this level, but I also see something in Mateo that I can’t ignore. A player with his velocity and control does have the potential to find a spot in the Mets future bullpen.

      I can definitely respect not wanting to project them this early though. I generally agree, but I like the potential in Mateo’s arm too much.

  2. Chavez06
    September 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Hopefully, Mateo is not the next Brad Holt.

  3. Metsfan
    September 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I can’t believe that the most compelling topics on one of my favorite Mets blogs is about a potential relief prospect who people are talking about because he put up good numbers at a level that he’s too old for. This organization is beyond pathetic. This is the worst period in franchise history.

    • Stephen Basile
      September 10, 2012 at 12:45 am

      I don’t agree with you, Metsense. The farm system is in better shape then it’s been in a while.

      Also, after the year the Mets bullpen has had this year relief prospects have become high priority for this organization.

      • Metsense
        September 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

        Metsfan has the problem with the farm. Metsense thinks the Mets minor league pitching, which he has witnessed in a limited dose, is stocked.
        (When did I start to refer myself in the third person like Ricky Henderson?)
        Just a reading mistake, Stephen, I did a double take when I saw the new arrival, Metfan, on the site. PS welcome aboard Metfan.

    • NormE
      September 10, 2012 at 12:57 am

      Sorry Metsfan, but the worst period in Mets franchise history was the M. Donald Grant era. It’s hard to swallow but even Fraud and Jeffie Wilpon are not as bad as the Grant days.

  4. Mack Ade
    September 10, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Frankie Piliere‏ to Mack Ade:

    “Good arm, throws a lot of strikes but looks more like a reliever to me. I like him, and he gets up to 93-94 consistently.”

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