New York Yankees New No. 1 Overall Prospect; Jorge Mateo
With the New Year rapidly approaching and the calendar getting ready to flip to 2016, one thing Yankee fans can celebrate is their new and improved farm system.
In 2015 we saw several Yankees prospects take a giant leap forward in their progression, especially last years number one overall prospect Luis Severino and first baseman Gregory Bird.
Severino appeared in 11 big-league games and pitched to an impressive 5-3 record with a 2.89 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 62.1 innings. Greg Bird on the other hand was the immediate replacement for Yankees veteran Mark Teixeira who wen’t down with a season-ending leg injury. In 46 games played, Bird logged a total of 178 plate appearances and slashed .261/.343/.529 with an .871 OPS.
Despite the fact that both Severino and Bird lost their prospect status in 2015, they were key contributors to netting the Yankees a total of 87 wins and their first playoff berth since 2012.
With Severino and Bird no longer prospects, here’s a look at the new number one overall prospect in the Yankees farm system.
His name is Jorge Mateo and he’s a 20-year shortstop standing at just 6’0″ and 188 lbs.
Now despite 2015 being the first time Mateo logged a full minor league season he was always regarded as one of the top prospects in the organization, especially after having debuted at number three on Baseball America‘s Top Ten Yankees list last year.
After hitting .278/.345/.392 between Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa and leading all levels of minor league baseball with 82 steals in 2015, Mateo became the Yankees’ top prospect according to Baseball America’s Josh Norris. Mateo has a high ceiling with a glove that could very well make him a top shortstop one day in the major leagues.
So what’s next for the 20-year old short stop?
For starters, Mateo will likely start next season in High-A Tampa, especially because he played just 21 games there to end the 2015 season. If all goes according to plan and Mateo continues to progress, he’ll likely be called up to the AA Trenton Thunder midway through the 2016 season. What’ll be interesting to see is how the Yankees handle their current AA shortstop Tyler Wade when Mateo is ready for promotion, and perhaps even more interesting is how the Yankees will handle 25-year old Didi Gregorius when Mateo is ready for the bigs.
Will they use either as trade bait or will the Yankees try and move either to different position?
Either way, the Yankees have plenty of time before having to cross that path. Mateo isn’t necessarily a ‘lock’ by any means and he isn’t expected to break into the majors until at least 2017. Also, according to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com, Mateo still has a long way to go in terms of polishing his game both offensively and defensively.
On the defensive side of the ball, several scouts say he tends to rush a bit, causing his put-outs to be inaccurate which results in errors from time-to-time.
At the dish, Mateo needs to work on his plate disciple and get a little more power behind his swing, which should come over time.
All in all, the Yankees should be pretty excited about their new number one overall prospect!
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