Ichiro: Steven Matz has big -league stuff

Future Hall of Fame candidate Ichiro Suzuki offered high praise for Mets pitching prospect Steven Matz when he faced off against him this past weekend. Find out if the Mets Triple A star will get his time to shine in the majors.

Lefties make up only 10 percent of the world’s population. To make that number even smaller, major League baseball players make up only .000012 percent. In other words, when you find a top-notch left-handed pitching prospect, don’t let him go.

Steven Matz, one of the Mets’ most highly touted young pitchers, stepped to the mound Saturday afternoon to disprove those who though his injuries would hold him back. He went on to throw two scoreless innings in the Mets 8-7 loss to the Miami Marlins while putting on one base runner and striking out two.

Ichiro Suzuki, a recent addition to the Marlins, said of facing Matz, “When you see a 95 fastball and then a 78 curveball, that’s definitely the stuff of a big-leaguer.”

Matz came out throwing a fastball hovering around 92 mph and a change-up in the mid 80s. This shocked Matz a bit as he still had worries about his past injuries. He was forced to have Tommy John’s surgery at 19-years-old, after having suffered from arm problems during most of his tenure at Ward Melville High School in Suffolk County, N.Y. Matz had to wait until 2012 to debut in the Mets farm system. He was only able to pitch 29 innings as his arm started acting up again. However, he had a 1.55 ERA along with 34 strikeouts for the Kingsport Mets in his shortened 2012 season.

2013 was just the beginning for Matz. With the Savannah Sand Gnats, he maintained a 2.62 ERA in addition to 121 strikeouts in 106.1 innings during the regular season. The post season was no different. In 12 innings, Matz struck out 17 and failed to allow even one run.

“He’s come so far so fast, from a kid who was petrified that every pitch was going to be his last, back when he was rehabbing from Tommy John, to a pitcher with great stuff and a real idea about how to get hitters out”, exclaimed Frank Viola, the pitching coach at Triple-A Las Vegas.

Along with Noah Syndergaard, Matz is predicted to commence the season at Triple-A Las Vegas. There is discussion that if Josh Edgin, another left-handed Mets pitcher, is out, Matz may make his way to Flushing earlier than expected.

According to Frank Viola, “He’s going to shine.”

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