Name: Jorge Mateo
DOB: June 23, 1995
Batting and Power. While his .279 career minor league average to date might not exactly prove it, Mateo has the long-term ability to be a high-average hitter as he continues to mature and a big reason why is his incredible plus bat speed. His explosive ability to swing through the zone allows him to sit back on secondary pitches and also to catch up to any fastball too. Knowing he can hit any pitch gives him a ton of confidence. He also has better plate discipline, pitch recognition, and patience than his walk to strikeout ratios thus far aptly describe either. He has the ability to take pitches and sit on what he's looking for but he can also be very aggressive at times as well; he's still learning to walk that fine line between being patient and aggressive, and therefore still has a considerable ceiling left to be tapped hitting-wise and getting on base more frequently. The same can be said of his power too. While he most likely won't ever be a big home run hitter he does have a lot more power than his meager two State-side home runs would suggest as well. With some of the best bat speed, quick-twitch wrists, and torque around, he has at least average long-term power potential and it isn't just to the pull-side either; he can hit them out in any part of the ballpark.
Base Running and Speed. As evidenced by his minor league-leading 82 stolen bases last season, Mateo's speed is head and shoulders above anyone else. Grading out as an 80-runner in the tradition 20-80 scout's scale, nobody can match his speed and he is an absolute thoroughbred on the base paths; he knows it, the opposition knows it, and nobody can do much to stop him. While he will absolutely will be among the league leaders in stolen bases each year, however, there will be some base running gaffes from time to time simply due his ultra-aggressive running style. As fast as he is, there is still some room to improve reading pitchers' moves better. He is truly second to none running station to station and taking the extra bases though, and approaching 100 stolen bases in a particular season is not out of the question given his special speed.
Defense. Physically, Mateo has the plus tools to be an elite defender; plus range, plus-plus athleticism, and plus arm strength. He has soft hands too and he isn't just a wild stallion on the field either; he has plus makeup and he is very intelligent too [he has learned English quicker than most Latin American players]. He is very coach-able in that regard and he is a hard worker too so smoothing out the rough edges seems inevitable in due time, giving him viable long-term Gold Glove potential as he continues to gain experience. Of course with his incredible speed, top-shelf athleticism, and cannon for an arm, he gives the Yankees other positional options should they decide to go that route down the road as well.
Projection. Physically, Mateo is a virtual tool shed; plus-plus speed, plus-plus athleticism, plus defensive potential, above average hitting ability, and average or better power potential. As unbelievable as his physical tools are, however, what ties his game all together is plus-plus makeup too. A high-character, very intelligent young man with one of the best work ethics around, he literally has no glaring weakness in his entire game so while the physical tools give him big league All Star potential it's his mental maturity that gives him one of the best shots of reaching his ceiling too. He compares very favorably to a right-handed hitting younger version of Jose Reyes, one who can be truly electric on both sides of the ball and one who has a bit more power than a traditional leadoff hitter. He really just needs to further refine his game and gain some more experience, most notably walking the patient-aggressiveness line better, to be the impact player he was born to be.
ETA. 2017. It will be interesting to see where Mateo breaks camp to begin the 2016 season. He's not far off from being Double-A ready right now despite accumulating just 81 high-A at-bats last year. Even if he begins the season back in high-A Tampa to start the year the smart money says he should see significant Double-A time at some point in 2016. Should it play out that way he could theoretically be big league ready by the following year.