Drafted in 2009 with the No. 72 overall pick of the 2nd round by the Mets, Matz underwent surgery for an 80 percent tear in his UCL in 2010, using the entire season to recuperate. His return the following year was cut short due to scar tissue and lingering tightness, where, in 2012, he finally made his minor league debut for the Kingsport Mets registering a 2-1 record with a 1.55 ERA and earning promotion to the A-Savannah Sand Gnats. Successful stints with 2 other teams, the St. Lucie Mets, and the Binghamton Mets have the 23-year old starting this season for the AAA-Las Vegas 51s, on the cusp of The Big Show.
Three consecutive seasons of baseball with a solid, consistent ERA of below 3.00 across several professional leagues is a strong indication that Matz’ injuries are behind him. Further, promotion from each league exhibits an athlete that has adapted and molded his game meaning his 2-seamer fast ball is his primary weapon with him focusing on getting ground ball-outs. Apart from a 91-95 mph fast ball with good movement, Matz also uses an 82-85 mph change-up that shows strong sink and a 75-80 mph curve ball that is still being developed.
This arsenal could be used by the Mets within the first few months of the season. The team has already decided their starting rotation and rumor has it that Noah Syndergaard will be the Mets’ initial pitching call-up. Were the organization to start Matz this season, he would hit free agency a season early, after the 2020 season. However, the more likely scenario, regarding player development and the Mets’ organization, is to let the 33rd best minors prospect stay and start in Vegas and install him as a starter next year.
Most probably, the Mets will have to call up Steven Matz midway through this season and play him as a starter or reliever, depending on the squad’s requirements, giving the youngster precious experience and playing time. In whichever case, no doubt, it will be a proud moment for the team, fans, and league when a player that has undergone and sacrificed as much as Steven Matz gets to start (and hopefully win) for The Amazins.