It appears as though Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata may be ready for a promotion to Triple-A Worcester.
In his latest start for Double-A Portland on Wednesday night, Mata scattered five hits and two walks to go along with a season-high nine strikeouts over six scoreless innings of work in an 8-0 win over the Hartford Yard Goats. The 23-year-old right-hander threw 94 pitches (61 strikes) and induced 11 swings-and-misses.
Since making the jump from High-A Greenville in late June, Mata has posted a 1.85 ERA and 3.58 FIP with 58 strikeouts to 23 walks over 10 appearances (9 starts) spanning 48 2/3 innings with the Sea Dogs this season. He has not allowed a run in his last 18 innings pitched.
Among Eastern League pitchers who have thrown at least 40 innings to this point in the year, Mata ranks 23rd in strikeout rate (29.4%), ninth in groundball rate (52.2%), 26th in batting average against (.202), second in ERA, 21st in FIP, and 14th in xFIP (3.57), per FanGraphs.
Mata, who missed the entirety of the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last April, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 7 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks second among pitchers in the organization behind only fellow righty Brayan Bello.
The Red Sox originally signed Mata for just $25,000 as an international free-agent coming out of Venezuela in January 2016. The Maracay native was added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November 2020 and seemed destined to make his big-league debut in 2021. But he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that spring, which ultimately required him to go under the knife.
Sixteen months later and Mata is once again putting himself on the map. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound was clocked at 100 mph with his four-seam fastball during an extended spring training start in May. His other offerings include a two-seam fastball, a slider, a curveball, and a changeup.
Mata, who does not turn 24 until next May, would become the latest in a long line of Red Sox pitching prospects to make the transition from Double-A to Triple-A this season. Bello, who has since made his major-league debut, and Brandon Walter were both promoted in May. Chris Murphy was promoted the following month while fellow southpaw Jay Groome — who has since been traded to the Padres– was promoted in July. Victor Santos was also promoted earlier this month.
(Picture of Bryan Mata: Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)