Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Top Prospects: #16 – Wyatt Mathisen

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To recap the countdown so far:

20. Jin-De Jhang, C

19. Andrew Oliver, LHP

18. Vic Black, RHP

17. Adrian Sampson, RHP

We continue the countdown with the number 16 prospect, Wyatt Mathisen.

Wyatt Mathisen

Wyatt Mathisen

16. Wyatt Mathisen, C

Mathisen was considered a guy who could go in the compensation round of the draft. Instead he fell to the Pirates in the second round, and agreed to sign for slot. He was one of the top prep catching prospects in the draft, so it was a bit of a surprise to see him fall.

He is a great athlete, to the point where his high school coach used him at shortstop more often than behind the plate. The Pirates managed to see a few of his rare games at catcher, and felt he had what it took to stick at the position, which is hard for high school players to do. He has a plus arm, and is comfortable behind the plate working with pitchers. He showed off his arm strength, throwing out 36% of runners in the GCL this year.

Upon signing, he immediately worked with Tom Prince and Milver Reyes on his catching skills the first few weeks in the system. He eventually started getting playing time behind the plate, splitting time with Jin-De Jhang.

Offensively he has the potential to hit for average and power, with very good bat speed. He showed the average this year, and also showed very strong plate patience, with a 16:19 BB/K ratio in 139 at bats. Mathisen could be a two-way catching prospect going forward, and currently ranks as the second best catching prospect in the system, behind Tony Sanchez.

Because he was coming out of high school, and because he didn’t get a lot of time behind the plate while in high school, it’s hard to say what the Pirates will do with Mathisen in 2013. His advanced hitting and his athletic abilities could allow them to give him an aggressive push to West Virginia. His inexperience behind the plate could lead to a more conservative push to short-season A-ball.

The catching position is a hard one to fill, especially with a two-way player. Russell Martin is the catcher in Pittsburgh for the next two years, and Tony Sanchez should be starting in the majors after that. This gives plenty of time for Mathisen to develop. He’s got all of the tools needed to be a starting catcher as long as he can stay behind the plate. That’s never a guarantee for catchers out of high school. The advantage here is that Mathisen is so athletic that he could easily handle a move to another position if needed. For now, he’ll stay at catcher, competing with Jin-De Jhang in the lower levels of the system.

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Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.zielinski.169 Steve Zielinski

    Wyatt, meet Neil.

  • leadoff

    Jhang is very good, it looks like we have 3 quality catchers in the system, nice to see because catchers are the toughest position to draft with success IMO.
    By next year 2 of them should be somewhere in the middle of the system. If the Pirates have any injuries this year at catching, Sanchez should see the majors.

    • swartnp7

      I still feel like Sanchez is underestimated. I just feel he needs a bit more time. I think he will be a positive surprise this year. I also think the Martin signing is a great benefit to Sanchez’s development. Now he won’t be rushed and can spend needed time in AAA to refine and become consistent. The team won’t feel compelled to force him into the lineup either. He can be in AAA all this year and spend next as an understudy to Martin.

      I agree with you, I’m very stoked to see Mathison and Jhang doing well.

  • Ecbucs

    Hope he continues to develop rapidly. would be great to have a strong catching prospect in system.

    For those who say don’t sweat that the Bucs dealt their competitive balance pick, just look at prospect list and see how many are drafted after pick 15 (or 32).