Coming into the season, the tall, lanky first baseman/outfielder had struggled staying healthy and was an afterthought as far as Cardinals prospects were concerned. He was assigned to Double-A Springfield to start 2007 and broke out in a big way.
During the month of April, Mather hit 10 home runs and slugged .797. In 64 games, he hit .303/.387/.607 with 18 home runs and 46 RBIs. Mather twice won Texas Player of the Week honors. He was named a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star but was unable to attend the game due to his promotion to Memphis.
Upon that promotion, Mather struggled early but did show some signs of life at Triple-A, where he finished with a line of .241/.329/.443. Mather showed tremendous power, hitting 13 home runs and finishing with an isolated power (ISOP) of .202. For the season, Mather posted a line of .271/.357/.522 with 31 home runs and 77 RBIs.
To finish off his career year, Mather was selected to represent the Cardinals organization in the Arizona Fall League. The Phoenix native appeared in six games, hitting .286/.375/.286 before being shut down due to elbow tenderness.
The Cardinals were in danger of losing Mather as a minor league free agent and if he agreed to another minor league deal, again in December's Rule 5 draft. But, he will now be protected by being named to the 40-man roster.
Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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