The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted catcher Wyatt Mathisen with the 69th overall pick in the second round of the 2012 MLB Draft. Mathisen was considered the top high school catching prospect in the draft, and unlike a lot of high school catchers, projects to remain behind the plate.
He has a plus arm and good intangibles. He’s athletic enough that his team used him more as a shortstop this year, although he has what it takes to be a catcher. It’s not unusual for prep teams to play their best athlete at shortstop. Mathisen’s upside is probably better as a catcher.
He’s got the potential to hit for average and power. Mathisen has a commitment to the University of Texas, which means he could be the next in a line of players to break their Texas commitment and join the Pirates, joining Josh Bell, Colton Cain, and Robbie Grossman.
I had Mathisen in my fifth tier of my rankings, which was designated as guys who would be worthy of the compensation pick. He’s a good value in the second round, and fills a system need as the Pirates are thin at the catcher position. As a prep guy, he probably won’t move quickly through the system, so for the short-term the Pirates are still counting on Tony Sanchez. But due to the lack of depth in the system, Mathisen becomes the number two or three catching prospect, depending on how high you are on Ramon Cabrera.
UPDATE 1:41 PM: Good article here on Mathisen. He’s quoted as saying he wants to start his career early if he gets drafted high. He said he expected to go in the second or third rounds, so I’m guessing that means he’ll now be looking to start his career. A scout in the article is quoted as saying he wants to sign. So it doesn’t sound like it will be hard to break that commitment to the University of Texas.
The article also has a good look at his playing time at shortstop, despite the fact that he’s viewed in the draft as a catcher. It was mentioned that he probably would have gone higher if he caught more often. That’s not the first time I’ve seen this mentioned. Seems like a good upside pick, especially if his tools really translate well behind the plate.