[This is the second of an occasional series of players I will analyze in the offseason simply because they are being ranked highly by Top Lists in the industry, yet they have little track record. ‘What are the rankers seeing?’ is the question I will try to answer.]
- Born: January 28, 2002
- B/T: Right/Right
- 5’11”, 160-lbs
- Signed by the San Francisco Giants in 2018 out of Venezuela
His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. The first thing to note is that he was just 17 in 2019, and most of the data we have is from the Dominican Summer League, and that’s data I typically ignore in favor of state-side numbers. But when you are making lemonade and all you have are oranges…
Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:
Obviously I combined all his 2019 numbers into one line, and also obviously you see why scouts took one look at this guy and said give me more, please.
You can be impressed by his power, and yes, an ISO of .208 at age 17 is quite solid.
You can be impressed by his OBP of .438, and yes, that is quite good.
You can be impressed by his speed, and yes, 21 SBs in basically half a season is enough to create avarice in your soul.
You can be impressed by his strikeout total, and yes, average about 1 KO in every 10 plate appearances is great.
But what I find most impressive is the one yellow box above: a walk rate of 7%. When you are playing in the Dominican leagues, and you are 17 with all the athleticism in the world, you can go up there and swing at the first pitch and make a living. Matos could have done that, but as we see with his very low strikeout rate, the kid has a batting eye already. He sees strikes and balls, and he knows when not to swing. Are you kidding me? That’s a skill that’s hard to teach a 25-year-old at times, so for a 17-year-old to already get it is very exciting.
Again, not the greatest source of data, but what we have is impressive. He hit everybody.
Pull power for now, but it’s solid enough power to make us think opposite field power will follow.
An OPS of .800 is great, so one hovering around 1.000 is get outa here territory.
- Rotowire: #56 on their Top 400.
- BaseballHQ: [2021 list not out yet].
- Fangraphs: [2021 list not out yet].
- Fantasy Six Pack: #416 on their dynasty list.
- Prospects365: [2021 list not out yet but #127 on Ray Butler’s Top 200 for 2020].
- Imaginary Brick Wall: [2021 list not out yet but #94 on the Top 487 for 2020].
- Fantrax: #92 on the Top 250.
Obviously his age and lack of much professional experience. So far, so good, but not so very far yet.
So what do the scouts see?
- He has a track record of international success everywhere he has played.
- He grew up in a family with cousins Luis Alexander Basabe and Osleivis Basabe. It’s a baseball family.
- He showed up in pro ball and began hitting line drives all over the place. Plus he could tell strikes from balls.
- He has the body type to keep his speed as he grows.
- He reads balls well in center field and could stay there, so his defense won’t hold him back, nor should his solid arm strength.
This is the kind of kid who grows up to be a top-of-the-order batter who gets on base, steals bases, hits for power, and plays defense. That’s why he is ranked high — for his potential.