Scouting Mets' Prospect #11: Matthew Lindstrom

The New York Mets drafted Matthew Lindstrom in the 10th round of the 2002 draft out of Ricks Junior College in Idaho. A pure power pitcher, Lindstrom has one of the best fastballs in all of minor league baseball. It is this reason Lindstrom ranks #11 among the Top 50 Mets' Prospects. <b>(Free Preview of Premium Content)</b>

Vital Statistics:
Name: Matthew Lindstrom
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: February 11, 1980
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 215
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Matthew Lindstrom grew up in Rexburg, Idaho, playing mostly first base and right field for Madison High School and only dabbled as a pitcher. Growing up a Mormon, Lindstrom served on a two-year missionary trip in his family's home country of Sweden from 1999-2001 before going back home to Idaho to attend Ricks Junior College and resume his baseball playing career. Blessed with a great arm, it was then that Lindstrom decided that if he was going to pursue his dream of playing professional baseball he should switch over to pitching at the advice of his pitching coach at Ricks JC, Ray Swanson. "It was hard to keep it rolling really. The two year break was kind of hard to get back into baseball but my missionary trip helped me mature as a person and a player", Lindstrom told

Despite the lack of experience on the mound, Lindstrom was a big kid with a powerful arm that was able to 87-90 MPH, even with the lack of coaching he had received. Even though Lindstrom was mulling over scholarship offers from several schools including the University of California, the Mets selected him in the 10th round of the 2002 draft based on his raw ability. "It was the hardest decision I ever had to make, whether or not to sign (with the Mets). Getting older, I figured I better get my pro career going if that's what I wanted to do", said Lindstrom. "When I was in Sweden on my mission I never heard about the Subway Series but did when I got back and thought it was really cool. I was glad to be drafted by the Mets. New York is the capital of the universe".

After signing with the Mets in 2002, Lindstrom was sent to Kingsport to make his professional debut and was able to pitch in warmer climates for the first time in his life after spending his entire life in Idaho (and Sweden). Despite going winless in 12 games for Kingsport, Lindstrom was promoted low-A ball with the Capital City Bombers in 2003 where he excelled before finishing out the year strong with the Brooklyn Cyclones. Still raw as a pitcher, Lindstrom put together a streak of 17 scoreless innings for the Cyclones and the Mets decided to send him back to the South Atlantic League in 2004. After starting off strong once again, Lindstrom was promoted to high-A ball with the St. Lucie Mets where he sent shockwaves throughout the system with his blazing fastball by hitting 100 MPH on the gun a couple of times. It was then the Mets decided to give Lindstrom a taste against the minor league's best players in the Arizona Fall League.

In his short career, Lindstrom has been used as both a starter and a reliever and has done well in both roles. When asked about his preference, Lindstrom said: "Lately, I'd rather do whatever gets me to the Majors the fastest. I'd rather start because I figure I could always move to the bullpen and be a reliever. But I'm not stupid. I look at what the Mets have in their rotation and realize I might get there faster as a reliever. Whatever the Mets want me to do, I'll do it".










St. Lucie








Capital City








Capital City























* Stats as of 10/1/04

Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. The fastball is really Lindstrom's bread and butter. Considered one of the hardest throwers not only in the Mets' system but in all of minor league baseball, Lindstrom's fastball averages 93-97 MPH and has touched 99 MPH a few times and even 100 MPH a couple of times in St. Lucie in 2004. He throws mostly 4-seam fastballs right now but has been working hard on his 2-seam fastball, a pitch he really focused on the Arizona Fall League. About 70-75% of his pitches are fastballs and it serves as his out pitch when he's a reliever.

Other Pitches. Lindstrom's second best pitch is his slider which he has done a very good job improving. When he first started out as a professional pitcher, his slider was sitting around 80-1 MPH but has been able to add more velocity to it in three short seasons. His slider now averages about 85-86 MPH and is his best out pitch when he's used as a starter. Lindstrom has a curveball that he throws about 77-79 MPH and it is a pitch Lindstrom and pitching coach Randy Niemann (aka "Nemo") have been working harder on to incorporate more into his repertoire. Lindstrom tends to favor his slider over his curveball currently as he tends to get around a little too much with his curve, but it has been a solid pitch for him over the years. He also throws a good changeup that is clocked around 80-81 MPH.

Pitching. Lindstrom is the epitome of a power pitcher that has enough confidence in his ability that he goes right after batters. His approach to getting guys out obviously changes depending on whether he's a starter or reliever. As a reliever, he has one of the more extensive repertoires going but has a hard time mixing in all his pitches when he is used in that capacity. He was as raw as they come on the mound when he was drafted and the Mets and Lindstrom have worked tirelessly to improve his command, credit Lindstrom gives solely to the Mets' pitching coaches. But as raw as he was, he still boasts a career 3.61 ERA and close to eight strikeouts per nine innings, a scary indication of just how good he could be.

Projection. Matthew Lindstrom would rather start and it appears the Mets have the same idea right now. Thus, it is too premature to say that Lindstrom does not project to be a starting pitcher. With his talent, repertoire, and endurance, Lindstrom projects to be a very solid #2 or #3 pitcher down the road. However, if he is ever moved to the bullpen, Lindstrom has the great combination of a devastating fastball and nasty slider to be a very successful closer as well. Lindstrom projects to excel at whichever role the Mets decide to plug him into.

ETA. 2006. It is hard not to imagine Lindstrom making his mark in AA at some point in 2005, and with some more success, should find his way on to the AAA-Norfolk Tides no later than 2006 where he'll mostly likely be a quick call up to the Mets. Lindstrom's personal goal is to reach the Majors by some point in 2005 and we're not about to doubt his abilities in reaching that goal. 2006 is a safer bet though.

Starting Pitchers

2004 Team

Aaron Heilman

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Bob Keppel

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Neal Musser AA - Binghamton Mets
Brian Bannister AA - Binghamton Mets
Yusmeiro Petit AA - Binghamton Mets
Miguel Pinanago A - St. Lucie Mets
Kevin Deaton A - St. Lucie Mets
Matthew Lindstrom A - Capital City Bombers
Vincent Cordova A - Capital City Bombers
Greg Ramirez A - Capital City Bombers
Evan MacLane A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Scott Hyde A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Michael Devaney A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Joseph Williams A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Mike Swindell A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Gaby Hernandez R - GCL Mets


The Mets have some good pitching prospects and the system's depth is only going to get better with the additions of Alay Soler, Matt Durkin, and Philip Humber. Considering they have not pitched a professional inning in the Mets system as of yet, we'll focus on the pitchers that have. Among the Mets' pitching prospects, Yusmeiro Petit and Gaby Hernandez seem to have the highest ceilings simply because of their age and talent. However, the Mets do have a number of other good pitching prospects that still have time on their side to make their mark. The following starting pitchers are currently in our Tier One group...the top starting pitching prospects in the Mets system.

1) Aaron Heilman - Heilman struggled out of the gate in 2004 but was perhaps the hottest pitcher in the entire Mets' system the second half of the year. All Heilman needs is a chance. Give the guy 30 starts and see what he can do. But that day may never come with the Mets as he appears to be in New York's doghouse. It's a shame too. He's a better pitcher than people think.

2) Bob Keppel - Like Heilman, Keppel struggled mightily to begin the 2004 campaign but finished the year strong. Keppel's always had the repertoire and pitching ability to become a Major League starter. The question has been his strikeout rate. Still only 22 years old and seems forgotten.

3) Neal Musser - With the trade of Scott Kazmir, Musser becomes the Mets' best left-handed starting pitching prospect. A top prospect a couple of years ago, Musser was beset with injuries and had a bounce back year in 2004. Musser is still only 24 years old and should not be forgotten.

4) Brian Bannister - His stats do not accurately portray how good a pitcher he is. Bannister has four plus pitches in his repertoire and has the chance to be a front-line starter someday. Remember, Bannister has only been pitching for 4 seasons...two in college, two in the pros. So as good as he is, he is still learning which is a scary thought.

5) Yusmeiro Petit - The Mets #1 pitching prospect the minute the Mets traded Kazmir. Forget about the pundits and all their talk about lack of "stuff". Petit knows how to pitch at such a young age (19). Drawing comparisons to Greg Maddux, Petit has the ability to change speeds on his fastball and is very deceptive on the mound. Bottom line is he's been baffling hitters from the word go.

6) Miguel Pinango - Pinango was cruising through the Mets system until an injury in St. Lucie ended his season in 2004 after just three starts. Pinango's command is superb. Only Petit's command is perhaps better and even that's not a lock. Still only 21 years old (he'll be 22 by the start of next season), Pinango is still a very good pitching prospect for the Mets.

7) Kevin Deaton - Growing up as an offensive lineman, Deaton is an imposing figure on the mound. Like Pinango, Deaton's rise through the system hit a speed bump in 2004 when he was plagued by injury (tendonitis). His fastball tops off at 94 MPH with solid movement and is still only 23 years old.

8) Matthew Lindstrom - Nobody throws as hard as Lindstrom does in the Mets' organization...nobody! Lindstrom is a fascinating talent that is getting a chance to showcase his stuff in the Arizona Fall League this year. With a fastball that regularly sits in the 94-96 MPH range, he can top it off at 100 MPH at times. Used primarily as a starter up to this point, his future seems to be in the bullpen...possibly as a closer.

9) Vincent Cordova - Cordova has the talent to be a very good pitching prospect for the Mets. Drafted out of college in 2003, Cordova needs to prove he can get hitters out at the higher level. Like Pinango and Petit, Cordova's success is predicated on his control. He's a Tier One prospect for now but time is not on his side.

10) Greg Ramirez - Used as both a starter and a relieve in his short career thus far, Ramirez is like Cordova. He has the talent and the stuff to be a Tier One pitching prospect for the Mets, but like Cordova, he's going to have to prove it at the higher levels to remain in this group. It's unclear how he will be used in the future.

11) Evan MacLane - MacLane gives the Mets' pitching in their farm system they seriously lack: quality left-handed pitching among their starting pitching prospects. MacLane was dominating South Atlantic League hitters in 2004 before being sent to Brooklyn where he had the same success. MacLane should be challenged in 2005 and will most likely be part of the St. Lucie staff. Like Ramirez, Cordova, Petit, and Pinango, MacLane is all about the control. He has great command of his pitches.

12) Scott Hyde - Hyde was not scheduled to pitch in live games this past season after being drafted but still managed to showcase some good pitching in his stint with the Cyclones. Hyde has the chance to be the "sleeper" among the Mets' 2004 draft picks.

13) Michael Devaney - Among the NY-Penn League leaders in ERA, Devaney is very solid. As is the case with most of the Cyclones' rotation, he'll have to duplicate the same success at the higher levels to remain in the Tier One level of starting pitching prospects.

14) Joseph Williams - Like Devaney, it's hard to dispute the success Williams had in Brooklyn this past season. The fact that he's a lefty aids his chances to be challenged quickly in the Mets' farm system.

15) Mike Swindell - Another college arm that was drafted in 2004 that will have to quickly prove he can become a solid starting pitching prospect for the Mets.

16) Gaby Hernandez - The Mets' third round pick in 2004, right now, Hernandez appears to be second behind Petit with the highest upside among the starting pitching prospects. It's too early to tell, but Hernandez has the talent to duplicate Petit's fast track through the minors.

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