Matz, now 22, is a local kid– growing up in East Setauket, NY and attending Ward Melville High School. In his senior season he struck out a mind-blowing 81 batters in just 44 innings while allowing just 11 hits. The Mets signed Matz away from a commitment to Coastal Carolina for a bonus of $895,000– a staggering $450,000 over the recommended slot value. Soon after, then Mets scouting director Rudy Terrasas told Adam Rubin:
“…We like the arm. We think he has a chance to be a solid pitcher for us.
He’s got three pitches: fastball, curveball, changeup. Just like any
typical high school player, he just needs some time and experience on
the mound. He pitches anywhere from 89 to 93, but he settles in around
90 mph. But, again, there’s projection left with this kid.”
The 6’2″, 192 pound southpaw features a fastball that can reach 96, but sits 91-93. His breaking ball has been described as a slurve or a hard curveball. It’s a new pitch for him, which came at the recommendation of Savannah pitching coach Frank Viola. “Basically what it is is like a slurve, a hard curveball, but we’re calling it a slider. It’s got late break, depth, but it goes according to his arm slot with a fastball and change-up. It’s the absolute perfect pitch to throw at the arm slot he is at,” Viola told Mets Today. The pitch flashes some potential but is currently behind his changeup and fastball.
After missing more than two seasons of development due to a multitude of injuries, including Tommy John surgery and shoulder tendinitis, Matz has been a revelation this season. He’s pitched the entire season in Savannah, posting a 2.64 ERA in 95.1 innings. He’s struck out a whopping 108 opposing batters, while allowing just 33 free passes– the latter being the most important. It’s great to see a kid who has gone through this many injuries, and logged so few innings in the past three years show such control. I look forward to seeing Matz advance through the system and face more challenging opponents. I think he can develop into a solid backend starter or solid bullpen arm.