Yankees’ Jorge Mateo Wants to be the Next Derek Jeter

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Jorge Mateo, the New York Yankees’ shortstop of the future, is looking to become something fans thought they’d never see: the next Derek Jeter

Mateo’s favorite player as a child was fellow shortstop Derek Jeter, who also happened to play for the Yankees, his favorite team. Mateo would also represent the captain with the No. 2 on his back whenever he stepped onto a baseball diamond.

The tradition continued as he made his way to Low-A Charleston, and now at Single-A Tampa where he has stood out as one of the Yankees’ top prospects.

“When I was a kid, I always wore that number because [Jeter] was my favorite player. I wanted to be like him. I want to be like him.”-Jorge Mateo

Before he gets all riled up on being the next Jeter, he’ll have to work his way through New York’s farm system. The 20-year old speedster from the Dominican Republic finished last season with Tampa and will likely start 2016 in the same location, so he’s got some work to do before he comes to the Bronx. In 117 games with Charleston and Tampa, he stole 82 bases.

In addition to his speed, Mateo has a cannon for an arm with a wide range at shortstop, and he’s a contact hitter who knows how to work counts and draw walks. His combination of tools makes him one of the Yankees’ most anticipated prospects, and some scouts think he’s better than Luis Severino and Aaron Judge. 

The talent is obvious, but Mateo has been concentrating on refining his overall performance by improving his mental grit and maturing as a teammate. Scouts have have said he tends to rush a bit defensively, scattering throws from his otherwise strong arm. At the plate, Mateo is looking to tap into his power.

Mateo has an appetite for being in the Bronx this year, but the ultimate goal for him and the Yankees is for him to keep maturing and finish at a higher level (possibly Double-A).

The New York Yankees made a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks for Didi Gregorius to replace Jeter and the organization remains high on him, and it seems as if he’s the only one standing in Mateo’s way.

Gregorius showed Gold Glove-caliber defense and enough improvement at the plate during the second half of 2015 for the Yankees to envision Didi as the shortstop for years to come in the Bronx.

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Late last season, the Yankees had Mateo take grounders at second base which gave the idea that New York may consider a position switch at some point to accelerate his development. However, they acquired Starlin Castro from the Chicago Cubs this off season and he won’t be hitting the free agent market until 2021, so there may not be a spot for Mateo at second base.

A lot can change from now to 2017, his expected MLB arrival, so it’s difficult to pinpoint where he’ll end up once he arrives at the gates of Yankee Stadium.

One things for sure, though, Mateo is a once in a lifetime prospect and will continue to climb up in the system. A move to Double-A Trenton could happen in 2016, and there may be a chance that fans get a sneak peak at his incredible speed as a September call up.

“My goal has always been to play professionally,” Mateo said. “But when you get on the field, that’s where you really demonstrate who you really are as a player, and that is what I plan to do.”

Related Story: Team-By-Team look at the AL East

Get used to his name, Yankee fans, he very well may be the next great Yankee shortstop.

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