Phillies Prospect #35: Travis Mattair

Travis Mattair spent his second full season at Lakewood and wasn't able to progress the way the Phillies had hoped. The 21 year old is still looking to find the offensive production that he was projected to have when the Phillies took him in the second round of the 2007 Draft.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 2nd round of the 2007 Draft.
Bats: R   Throws: R
Height: 6' 5"   Weight: 210 pounds
Birth Date: December 21, 1988
2009 Team(s): Lakewood
Positions/Games: 3B (126 G)
School: Southridge HS (Washington)
2009 Ranking: 23

Why Mattair fell to 35: Anytime that a player repeats a lower level of the minor leagues and performs at a lower level than in his first season there, it sends up a red flag. In his second season at Lakewood, Mattair regressed offensively in terms of his average and his ability to drive in runs. On the upside, Mattair did show some progress defensively at third base with the BlueClaws, but not enough to make anybody forget his performance at the plate in 2009. It was thought that last season was when Mattair would start to show some of the stronger offensive skills that he possesses, but so far, he's still very much of a work in progress.

Category Mattair 2008 Mattair 2009 SAL 2009
PA/2B 25.3 19.3 22.2
PA/3B 507.0 130.2 148.0
PA/HR 126.7 173.7 70.5
PA/RBI 9.7 13.4 9.7
PA/R 8.6 9.5 8.6
PA/BB 14.1 9.6 12.6
PA/KO 4.7 4.0 4.8
AVG .254 .236 .254
OBP .321 .326 .324
SLG .328 .333 .368
Categories with numbers in white show areas where the player outperformed the average player in the their league during the 2009 season. Categories with numbers in black show areas where he was below the league average.

Batting and Power: In 2008, Mattair had cut down on his swing and reduced his strikeout percentage by a nice margin, but the longer, more loping swing was back in 2009 and his strikeout numbers went up, his average went down and his power numbers stayed steady. It's fairly obvious to see that Mattair's strikeout problems are in his swing, because he has improved his walk ratio from one walk for every 14 plate appearances in 2008 to one every 9.6 PA in 2009. The problem is his long, drawn-out swing. Mattair was supposed to have developed more power than he has shown at this point and his average after three seasons sits at a disappointing .243 for his minor league career. At 21, there is still time for Mattair to develop some of the skills that made him a second round pick, but he's got to make it happen in 2010.

Baserunning and Speed: While he's not likely to lead any league in stolen bases, Mattair has above average speed and stole 12 bases last season. More importantly, he substantially improved on his base stealing technique and bumped his stolen base percentage up from 64% in 2008 to 86% in 2009. Mattair is also solid at running the bases and not making mistakes that cost his club.

Defense: Mattair's defensive skills are showing great improvement. Coming into last season, his defense was a concern, but after a much better performance in 2009, he is showing himself to be at least an adequate defensive player at third. His range isn't excellent, but also has shown improvement.

Projection: Ideally, Travis Mattair would be much further along in his development than he is right now and the fact that he took a bit of a step back in 2009 is a concern. The Phillies thought that Mattair would have shown more power than he has and the ability to hit for a better average. Instead, he's too prone to strikeouts and simply has to show more than he has defensively. So, what do the Phillies do with Mattair in 2010? It would be easy to argue for both keeping him at Lakewood until he conquers the league or moving him along to Clearwater, hoping that a challenge will be just what the doctor ordered for him. When he was drafted, it was thought that Mattair would one day become the Phillies third baseman at the major league level and he was the closest thing that they had to an "heir apparent" at the position. Now, there are concerns about him reaching the levels that the Phillies will need him to reach just to be a consideration for a major league spot at some point in his career. He's not likely to be able to add other defensive positions to his resume, so if he's going to make it, it's going to have to be as a third baseman and he'll need much better offense to warrant that opportunity.

Travis Mattair's career stats

2007 GCL 54 200 19 47 10 1 3 21 3 1 12 58 .235
2008 Lakewood 129 460 59 117 20 1 4 52 9 5 36 108 .254
2009 Lakewood 126 450 55 106 27 4 3 39 12 2 54 131 .236
Minor League Totals 309 1110 133 270 57 6 10 112 24 8 102 297 .243

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