The Pirates Prospects 2013 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features over 250 prospect reports, the 2013 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.
To recap the countdown so far:
20. Jin-De Jhang, C
18. Vic Black, RHP
We continue the countdown with the number 16 prospect, 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.