Tuesday in Staten Island, RHP Luis Mateo shut down the Yankees. He’s an interesting arm. In his 5.2 innings, he allowed just two hits, one a solo homerun, a walk and struck out nine. In the first inning, he was sitting 94-95 mph with his two-seamer with movement. In the second, he was down to 93-94. By the fifth, he was living 90-91, although he reached back to sit 92 mph in the sixth.
His slider was in the upper 80s, although I liked the bit on it at 87-ish best. He induced both swings and misses and called strikes with the offering. He got a away with a few up, but also hung a flat one that turned into the Yankees’ only run on a solo home run by DH Saxon Butler in the third. At times, he just did not finish the pitch.
Already 22, he has plenty of size at 6’3″ and 200 pounds. Why is he 22 and just starting out? In 2008, he signed with the Giants, who tore up the contract after finding bone chips in his elbow. Then after agreeing to terms with the Padres that fall, MLB began investigating. It turned out he had lied about his age, and was suspended for a year in March 2010. The Mets signed him immediately thereafter.
Pitching Coach Marc Valdes was a happy camper post-game, saying of Mateo, “He attacked. He threw a sharp slider today. He had good movement later when it looked like he got a little bit tired. … He went for the strikeouts today. When he was 0-2 and 1-2, those are his times when he can be selfish and go get those strikeouts.”
At times, Valdes wanted Mateo to pitch more to his strength, “There was one inning where I thought he was primarily too many sliders,” Valdes said. “He’d get ahead with the fastball and then want to go slider, slider. For me, not when he’s got that good fastball. He mixed well.”
Mateo’s changeup was pretty raw. Valdes pinned its velocity “at times it’s about 86-87. He fluctuates between 81 and 88. Sometimes he hits it and gets it pretty good and turns it over at times, but it falls out armside pretty good.” Some, however, he pulled across the plate.
Long Island product LHP John Mincone followed Mateo with 2.1 innings of nearly perfect baseball. Mincone, was 87 mph on his heater with a 78 mph curveball. He’s going to get a lot of outs in the New York Penn League this summer.
LHP Jeremy Gould struck out the side in the ninth working with a similar 87 mph heater and an 80 mph hook. After the game, manger Rich Donnelly announced that Gould was heading to Savannah alongside C Xorge Carillo and INF Yucarybert De La Cruz.
At the plate, SS Philip Evans barreled up a hanging curveball and ripped it for a single into left-center. he finished 1-for-4 with a walk.
1B Cole Frenzel, who was a Gnat for a week, was 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
(More about Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Plawecki’s nights coming in a separate post.)
After the game Jeremy Gould, Xorge Carillo, Yucy De La Cruz were promoted to Savannah.
First rounder Gavin Cecchini was hitless in his professional debut, going 0-for-3 with a two walks and two strikeouts. 2012 fourth-rounder Branden Kaupe was 0-4 with one walk and three whiffs.
Akeel Morris: 3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR
On the plus side, LF Joe Tuschak was 1-for-3 with his first professional homerun. He was homerless in 32 games in the GCL in 2011 when he hit just .204/.318/.222 in 32 games.