The latest in a series of arm injuries suffered by Mets starting pitchers has struck Jacob deGrom, who will miss his next start due to forearm tightness and elbow inflammation. Manager Terry Collins and pundits surmise the Mets’ 2015 World Series is to blame for this year’s rash of injuries. Could that be true?
Tag: steven matz
Steven Matz has been pitching nearly the entire season with an elbow issue — going back to the forearm tightness he experienced way back in early May. The forearm tightness evolved into a bone spur in his elbow, and, most recently, shoulder discomfort developed. Mets management and team doctors would like you to believe the shoulder and elbow problems are not related, but that is absolutely, positively, not the case.
Steven Matz has endured one of the most stressful and unexpected journeys of any player in the New York Mets farm system. Selected in the 2nd round in the 2009 MLB Draft, it’s taken Matz four years to pitch in full-season ball. But he’s finally here.
After Tommy John surgery and two years of rehab, Matz debuted with Kingsport in 2012. Matz impressed in 6 starts, striking out 34 in 29 innings of work, while keeping opponents hitting .158. On the bad side, he was prone to giving up the walk, walking 17 in his limited innings. Matz was temporarily shut down with arm troubles and understands that the 2013 season is important for him.
“I just want to play the whole season healthy,” said Matz. “And keep my walks down. Those are my two main goals.”
Walks were a concern while Matz was with Kingsport, but he seems to have fixed the issue at Savannah. Matz and the Mets decided recently that they wanted to scrap the curveball. “The [curveball] wasn’t consistent. I just wanted a breaking ball that I can throw more for a strike.”
“The organization, him, and I. 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,” said Viola. “And he can throw it two ways, as a strike pitch or a put away pitch. The more he throws it, the better he develops it, the more he can put two together and really make that a very advantageous pitch.”
Matz admits his best off-speed pitch is his change-up. In his outing on April 26 against West Virginia, Matz said he threw 17 changeups. “I don’t really have a true strikeout pitch,” said Matz. “I can get a lot of guys to chase on a high fastball.”
In that West Virginia start, Matz struggled to stay in the game. He was yanked after reaching his pitch count in 4.1 IP, allowing two earned runs on four hits, while talking two and striking out three. Frank Viola believes that start was the start of a new side to Matz.
“The other night was the first night I saw any resemblance of anger, feistiness, what have you. He had to leave, came out in the fifth inning, and had the no-decision because he didn’t complete the five innings because of the pitch count,” explained Viola. “And he threw the glove down, said a couple of choice words, but it was the first time I saw a little fire in his belly, which personally, is a great sign in my opinion.”
“I know it’s there and you have to realize, he’s played professional ball for 2 ½ years but he only has 10 professional starts. He’s had some experience but he doesn’t have a lot of experience from the mound itself. So every time on the mound is a learning experience and I think by the all-star break you are going to see a completely different Steven Matz.”
Viola hinted that Matz may not be around when the All-Star game comes around. Matz could be on the fast track to St. Lucie, but it all depends on whether the lefty can stay healthy. “I really believe he’s that close to really putting it together,” said Viola.
“Just to mentally keep it together with all the crap he’s gone through is pretty tough…You’re exactly right, many people wouldn’t be able to do that. He’s maintained it, he’s learned from it, and he’s using it to his advantage now.”
The Nationals signed their Stephen, and the Mets got their Matz.
In one of the few “feel good” stories of 2009 for the Mets, local pitcher Steven Matz signed a pro contract with the team just minutes before the midnight deadline.
No word yet on whether he’ll be assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones or elsewhere. Since the Cyclones have less than 20 games left on the schedule, I’d imagine Matz will take a trip down to Port St. Lucie and work out there until further notice. Reportedly, Matz was given an $895,000 signing bonus — slightly short of his $1M demand, but still more than $450K over “slot”.
There haven’t been any announcements concerning other previously unsigned Mets draft picks, though we may hear of them in the coming days. (** UPDATE ** – TheRopolitans has an update on other signings made just before the stroke of midnight last night ***)
In other news, the Nationals signed uber-prospect Stephen Strasburg to a record $15.67M bonus. That figure is short of the $20M – $40M figures thrown out by Scott Boras, but it’s a pretty penny nonetheless for a kid who has yet to throw a professional pitch.
Good luck to both Steves … maybe we’ll see them pitching head-to-head on a big-league diamond some day in the near future.
Alex Nelson at MetsGeek has a nicely detailed, must-read rundown on the Mets’ draft picks, including which remained unsigned — including top pick Steven Matz (today is the deadline). Included also is an intriguing summary on #5 pick Damien Magnifico :
Magnifico has a great arm, quick, but he’s extremely raw. He can throw 97, but the fastball’s straight, and he has little projection, standing only six-foot one. On top of that, he has no secondary pitch to speak of. And on top of that, his command is a problem. What we’re probably talking about here is a total overhaul, a major project, and when you overhaul how a pitcher throws, there’s always a chance he walks away throwing softer than he used to. Given his lack of a track record, I’d walk away from this one. Hate to lose that name, though.
I like that name too. I wonder how much “projection” one needs if he’s already throwing 97 MPH, though — and why is “only six-foot-one” the limiting factor? MetsGeek is usually the site that leans on modern sabermetrics, but in this case Alex sounds like he’s regurgitating a fallacy held by traditional / old-school scouts (that height somehow equals velocity). For every Randy Johnson there are one or two Lee Guettermans and Chris Youngs — as well as one or two Pedro Martinezes and Billy Wagners.
Over at OnTheBlack, Kerel Cooper wonders whether the Mets wounded should return this year. Good points brought forward — on the one hand, you want everyone to get 100% healthy for next year. On the other, it would be nice to see people come back — even if only for the last week of the season — so you KNOW they’ll be OK in 2010.
TheRopolitans has a sneak peek on what the 2010 Mets uniforms will look like.
Speaking of uniforms, Matthew Artus gives his opinion on the continued availability of Mike Piazza’s number.
The update on Mets’ top draft pick Steven Matz is … that there is no update.
Matz, selected in the second round and #72 overall, has reported to freshmen orientation at Coastal Carolina, still waiting to receive an offer from the Mets.
Before you get yourself into a tizzy wondering about the holdup, it’s likely because Matz is seeking a $1.1M signing bonus, which would be above the “recommended” bonus for second-round picks — and MLB is holding up all current contract offers that are “above slot”. For legal reasons, there’s nothing truly “official” about the slotting system, but for whatever reason, Commissioner Bud Selig is able to prevent above-slot contracts from being signed before August. Don’t ask me how or why, as none of this slotting business makes sense to me. All I know for sure is that the Mets have historically followed Selig’s rules to the letter. How this helps them, I’m not sure … maybe it gets Fred Wilpon an invite to Bud’s annual yacht party.
Outside of Matz, the Mets have signed 29 of their 39 picks thus far, which is a good amount. They have until August 17th to sign any players eligible for college classes.
One of those signees, lefthanded-hitting outfielder Nicholas Santomauro has gotten off to a nice start with the Brooklyn Cyclones, with 20 total bases in his first 18 games as a pro. He went 3-for-4 with a triple two nights ago against the Vermont Lake Monsters. I mention him because he’s a local boy — from North Caldwell, NJ, by way of Dartmouth (where he was Ivy League Player of the Year). Good luck, Nick!
The Mets did not own a first-round pick in this year’s amateur draft, having surrendered it to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in return for signing Francisco Rodriguez. However, they drafted a first-round talent with their late second-round (72nd overall) choice: local boy Steven Matz of East Setauket, NY.
Matz is a rangy, 6’3″, lefthanded pitcher with a 90-MPH fastball and good rotation on an overhand curve. He dominated while hurling for Ward Melville High School, striking out 81 in 44 innings, allowing just 11 hits. And so the legend begins … or will it?
How could a southpaw with those stats fall all the way to the 72nd choice? Signability, of course. The 18-year-old is committed to Coastal Carolina, where coach Gary Gilmore believes Matz “can do for this program and maybe more than what Kirt Manwaring did for it.”
That’s a telling statement. If you don’t know / remember Kirt Manwaring, he was a longtime MLB catcher from 1987-1999 and a one-time Gold Glove winner, and his MLB status put the CC baseball program on the map. (Ironically, Manwaring is also a New York native, from Elmira.) In other words, Matz is already being counted on to be “the face of the program”, and will need to be overwhelmed to renounce his commitment to Coastal Carolina — to the tune of one million dollars.
Will the Mets be willing to go that high? You’d have to think so, considering that, if they had a first-round pick, they’d have to spend at least that much. But, they’ve traditionally played the role of good soldier and followed Herr Selig’s slotting system, and the commissioner / MCP has reportedly cut the “recommended” bonuses by ten percent this year. A million bucks is probably above the “slot” for a late second round pick — will the Mets be so bold as to buck the Budsystem and shell out the dough to sign their next Scott Kazmir?
Considering that the Mets have been harshly criticized by several media pundits for their steadfast refusal to go against the slotting guidelines, they may break the rules this year for no other reason than to quiet the critics (not unlike last year’s media-driven play of promoting Nick Evans and Dan Murphy from AA as a response to Baseball America’s negative analysis of the Mets’ farm system). Hey, if that’s what it takes to sign a lanky local lefty with a promising future, so be it. The Mets need all the young arms they can find, and Steven Matz would provide both a legit talent and a good story to follow.