Top Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata has undergone Tommy John surgery, the team announced Wednesday. The procedure was done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, Calif. on Tuesday.
Mata, who turns 22 next month, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 4 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking tops among pitchers in the organization.
The young right-hander was added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster in November 2019 and — after spending 2020 at the Sox’ alternate training site and fall instructional league — came into the 2021 season with the chance to make his big-league debut later in the year.
During the early stages of spring training, though, Mata experienced soreness behind his right triceps and would later be diagnosed with a slightly torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow.
Because of that ailment, the 6-foot-3, 227 pound hurler was shut down for an extended period of time as the Sox initially opted for treatment as opposed to surgery.
After a few weeks of rest, Mata was able to restart his throwing program earlier this month, but must have suffered a recent setback and — as noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith — “was shut down again sometime in the past seven days.”
Originally signed by the Sox out of Venezuela for just $25,000 back in January 2016, Mata has compiled a career 3.40 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over 69 starts and 315 total innings of work across four minor-league levels since making his pro debut. The highest level he has reached thus far is Double-A Portland.
Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Mata’s pitch mix consists of a 94-96 mph fastball that sat at 96-97 mph at the alternate site last year, an 86-90 mph slider, a 78-80 mph curveball, and an 84-86 mph changeup.
Pitchers typically take anywhere between 12 to 15 months to recover from Tommy John surgery, so it’s likely Mata will not be making his return to the field until sometime next summer at the earliest.
(Picture of Bryan Mata: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)