The Pittsburgh Pirates didn’t have a catching prospect in MLB.com’s top 10 list that was released today, but Jonathan Mayo released the 11-15 rankings and had Wyatt Mathisen on the list. I’m not sure if the players were listed in order of their ranking, but Mathisen was the fourth one down.
The Pirates drafted Mathisen in the second round of the 2012 draft. He was ranked as the top prep catcher in the draft, although he didn’t spend a lot of time catching in high school. He was so athletic that his coach used him as a shortstop, and rarely had him behind the plate. He spent a lot of time working on his catching with Tom Prince and Milver Reyes in the GCL after signing with the Pirates. He’s got the potential to be a two-way catching prospect, although he’s no guarantee to stick behind the plate. That doesn’t have much to do with his skills. It’s just not automatic for prep catchers to remain catchers all the way through the minors, no matter how athletic they are (SEE: Walker, Neil).
We had Mathisen ranked as the 16th best prospect in the system.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
Also noticed that Mike Rosenbaum at Bleacher Report (I know, I know……) ranked the Pirates overall farm system as #1 the other day.
His next 5 were Cards, D’Backs, Mariners, Marlins and Rangers, FWIW.
So Wyatt has passed Tony Sanchez in terms of prospect value? There’s really not a lot of love for Tony, is there?
EDIT: Was responding to the wrong article earlier. Yes, according to MLB.com’s rankings, Mathisen has passed Sanchez in value.
It’s just because Tony’s big league ready. He doesn’t have that new car smell anymore. He has that…well, he can be a good hitter sometimes, and he has a good arm, but he likes to run his mouth on twitter and get into bar fights, kind of thing going on. lol.
I don’t think he’ll be a player that everyone will necessarily be proud to call their 4th overall pick from that draft, but considering reality and the general attrition rate, I think he has the ability to be quite serviceable as a major leaguer; the kind of guy you need on a team to bring the average play of the team up a notch. You have to blame the Pirates due to their lack of success over the last two decades for the fans expecting every hitter come up and hit .300 w/30 HRs. That’s just not the kind of offensive production you can simply come to expect with every player. What he does offer is being a potentially acceptable-average hitting catcher with plus defensive capabilities.