He hit a solid .278 with 36 extra-base hits and 82 stolen bases last year between low-A Charleston and high-A Tampa. While those are very good numbers and it helped propel him into top prospect discussions on the national scene he says it was just a starting off point for him heading into this past offseason.
Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 "It was pretty good," Mateo said of his offseason. "I was working on getting stronger and working everything that I had to work on. I had to get stronger and I was also working on my hitting."
As solid as his game is overall already, the 20-year old insists there's still room for significant improvement in his entire game and that was his focus this offseason. Getting stronger, continuing working on his hitting, speed, and defense, were all areas he worked on in preparation of his second full season in 2016.
A relatively unknown a year ago and now one of the top guys in the entire Yankee farm system, he says his hard work over the past few months has nothing to do with living up to the higher expectations critics and fans alike may have for him going forward.
Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 "I don't work for people's expectations, I have to work on improving the things I need to improve on," he said. "I know what I need to work on and what people say or expect isn't something that concerns me."
He had that mindset even before attending his first big league Spring Training camp this year but it was a concept that was totally reinforced during his time with the big leaguers. In fact, he says being with the veterans even just for a couple of weeks has only fueled his desire even more to become the more complete player he believes he can be.
Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 "It was great. The biggest things I learned over there is to be a good teammate and how focused they got before the games. I learned I need to improve everything. I need to be more aggressive on the bases, and improve my hitting and defense. I need to continue learning everything, the whole package."
He knows he can be a lot better than he has been thus far but it's not something he's looking to prove to anyone besides himself. He simply wants to be the best player he can be and he believes he will get there sometime soon, and that has him very excited about his upcoming 2016 campaign.
"I'm very excited. I don't know how much better I think I will be -- I think I can be a lot better -- but I'm just continuing to work hard and my work will speak for itself," he concluded.