Consistency Is Key for Mateo

CHARLESTON, SC - Jorge Mateo entered the 2015 season as one of the more electric ball players on the Charleston squad and he's proven to be exactly that at the mid-way point of his first full minor league season. However, while he and the coaches are not too worried about his long-term potential, everyone would like to see a little more consistency from him in the second half.

Born in a small town in the Dominican Republic, Jorge Mateo had big dreams for himself. Growing up, he did what every other kid did---he played baseball. However, unlike many other kids in his neighborhood, he was gifted.

The kid had speed, hand-eye coordination, athleticism, and determination, and when those attributes come together, you get one extraordinary player. Flash-forward to 2012 when the New York Yankees signed him and Mateo knew from that moment on he was about to be anything but ordinary.

The 6-foot-0, right-handed hitter is already getting results in his quest to get to the major leagues. Signed out of the Dominican Republic just three years ago, he’s already considered a top prospect in the Yankees organization. There is a lot of potential for the shortstop, who this year as a Charleston Riverdog is batting .275 with 50 stolen bases and 26 RBIs through the first half of his first full season. Turning just 20 years old on Tuesday, he knows he still has a lot to prove to his coaches though.

“Things have been going smoothly so far," Mateo said without the help of a translator. "I feel pretty good with my teammates and the managers. I feel like I’m doing everything I can right now to make the necessary adjustments into this team and into American baseball."

The adjustments, as anyone can imagine, would be extremely difficult. Into his first full season in the minors, Mateo is responding well according to his coaches.

“He has been doing well overall. It’s a matter of being more mature and we are continuing to teach him on a daily basis. He’ll get there; it will just take some work with the consistency of his game," Charleston manager Luis Dorante said.

The consistency is what he and his coaches feel like is the thing he can improve the most. He is aggressive at the plate and aggressive in the field as a base runner, but overall, he needs to iron out some of the consistencies in his numbers.

“For him, I think he needs to just keep working on being consistent on a daily basis. Most of the time, we see some signs of a great A-ball player and other times we see a player that could use some work,” Dorante added.

From Spring Training until now, he has been putting in the work. He worked a lot in the offseason as well to become stronger and enhance his game.

“Throughout camp and Spring Training, I worked hard and got stronger in my legs and arms, but most importantly, I worked on my speed in my legs and made them stronger,” Mateo said.

Coaches and scouts noticed him immediately, and they were able to point out some strengths and weaknesses, but overall the strengths outnumbered the weaknesses.

“He’s very athletic," Charleston hitting coach and former big league hitting coach Greg Colbrunn said. "He’s got a high ceiling. He can run. He’s got a good arm and he covers a lot of ground and he does it really well."

No one seems to be worried that this kid is going to do big things someday. In the future, hopefully he will be able to get his numbers up and make the jump to the big leagues.

“If he continues to do the things we are teaching him, he will be good. It’s mental with him. Physically, he’s got it. He doesn’t think. He just goes hard at the plate,” Dorante said.

Mateo is looking to stay positive with his game and avoid getting down on himself. He’s learning a lot about himself through this game and what lies ahead could truly be something special someday.

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