Physical Description: Tall,
sturdy pitcher's frame. Has filled out considerably since
signing, especially in his lower half. High waist and long
limbs. Has filled out in his upper half as well. Was listed at
160 pounds when he signed. Returned from Tommy John surgery in
very good condition, but seemed less athletic in 2023.
Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm
slot with significant effort in his delivery. Very quick arm.
Starts on the first base side and does not utilize a wind-up,
although he has in the past. Somewhat deliberate going back,
then whips arm forward. Arm-heavy delivery, does not do a great
job incorporating his lower half but has gotten better at doing
so in recent years. Works fast, which can cause his delivery to
get out of whack. Release point can get inconsistent and he
tends to overthrow at times, especially as he works deeper into
games and tires. Needs to improve consistency with his delivery.
Fastball: 95-97 mph. Tops out at 99
mph. Velocity tails off as he works deeper into games. Throws
both a four-seam and sinker. Needs to work on command and
control. Fastball shows sink down in the zone and some life when
elevated, though it is easier to hit than you would expect given
its velocity. Too often, he will lose his delivery and release
point and his fastball control will suffer as a result.
Struggles to locate arm-side; has a tendency to yank glove-side.
Pitch sat 96-97 mph in 2020 in shorter outings at the Alternate
Training Site and was still sitting there after he returned from
Tommy John in 2022. Added significant velocity in 2018; pitch
used to sit 90-92, topping out at 94. Potential plus pitch, but
how effective the pitch is depends on how his command develops.
Slider: 87-90 mph. 11-to-5 shape.
Inconsistent feel in 2023. Has not constantly snapped the pitch
off since return from Tommy John surgery and the pitch has shown
the tendency to roll to the plate. Added the pitch before Spring
Training 2019. Prior to his injury, he had really taken to the
pitch and showed improved feel and confidence in it as he used
it more. Pitch will flash above-average, but lack of consistency
drags it down as it will also show below-average in some
outings. Potential average-to-better offering.
Curveball: 78-81 mph. Vertical shape. When he snaps it
off, pitch will show depth. Can throw pitch in the zone and is
comfortable doing so. Will often use to steal a strike early in
the count, but has shown the ability to backdoor the pitch to
left-handed hitters when ahead in the count as well. Will flash
more potential, but lack of consistency pulls down grade.
Potential fringe-average offering.
Changeup: 89-92 mph. Throws with deceptive arm
speed. Pitch is on the firm side, but feel is improving and
pitch shows late fade. Has shown the ability to turn the pitch
over down in the zone against left-handed hitters on occasion.
Used to be much slower at 82-83 mph. Potential average-to-better
offering, but that grade is fluid.
Expected to sign with the Brewers in July 2015 at the start of
the international signing period, but a groin injury derailed
that agreement and he rehabbed the injury on his own before
signing with the Red Sox in January 2016 for what was likely a
much smaller bonus. Impressed at 2016 Fall Instructional League.
Fit description of (and likely was) unnamed player whom Red Sox
reportedly declined to include in trade talks during 2016-17
offseason. Started the 2017 season in extended spring training
before being promoted to Greenville at the end of May. Was
promoted aggressively early in his career: was the youngest
player in the South Atlantic League in 2017 and in the Carolina
League in both 2018 and 2019. Pitched just once after July 10 in
2018 due to a back injury. Missed a month with shoulder soreness
in 2019. Pitched at the Alternate Training Site in 2020,
suffering a hamstring injury in late August that caused him to
miss his last couple of starts. Participated in the 2020 Fall
Instructional League. Suffered a slight UCL tear in March 2021
and underwent Tommy John Surgery on April 13, 2021. Participated
in the Fall Performance Program in 2021 as a rehabber. Returned
to games on a rehab assignment in June 2022 and returned to
Portland and was activated at the end of that month.
Participated in 2023 Rookie Development Program. Once again hit
the injured list in May 2023 with a right teres major strain
that kept him out until the very end of the Triple-A season,
when he made two relief appearances. At
least one player development coach made pointed comments after
the injury questioning Mata's work quality between starts.
Selected to participate in the Arizona Fall League in 2023.
Summation: Potential multi-inning relief
arm. Ceiling of a late-inning relief arm. Trending heavily to
the bullpen because he still struggles with command and
consistency between outings and as he works deeper into games,
has struggled to stay healthy, and will be out of options after
2023. Type of arm that would be more effective in shorter bursts
out of the bullpen. At his best, will show the potential for a
true four-pitch mix with two potential above-average offerings.
Injury risk is also a major concern, as he has not made it
through a full season healthy, which also points towards a
future bullpen role.
Scouting Scratch (10.4.16)
Notes from the Field (3.22.17)
State of the System: High Minors Pitchers (4.9.20)
Video from Pawtucket (8.5.2020)
Countdown to Spring Training (3.10.2023)
Notes from the Field (5.1.2023)