Pirates Prospects Daily: Mark Mathias Provides Some Power, But Where’s The Fit?

The Pittsburgh Pirates made a roster move, while making use of having a player eligible for the 60-day injured list.

On Wednesday they acquired Texas Rangers utility player Mark Mathias in exchange for a player to be named later. 

At 28-years-old, Mathias has bounced around the field, playing every position except catcher throughout his career, although he has spent the majority of his time at second base in the majors.

He ranked as high 17th on Cleveland’s top 30 prospects on MLB Pipeline, getting good grades on his hitting ability, but there are questions about his defensive ability and arm, especially now after two shoulder surgeries. 

He had a career .771 OPS in the minors, with 37 home runs and 55 stolen bases across 2,116 plate appearances. 

Mathias actually put up some decent numbers with the Rangers last season, hitting five home runs and three doubles in 24 games (161 wRC+).

Now added into the mix, it gives the Pirates an extra right-handed option at multi-positions, as well as providing more competition as well.

Spring training numbers may not matter, but it’s still not good to see the Pirates near the bottom in so many offensive categories already. 

So he could bring a little added pop of the bench should he make the roster, it’s just a question on just how he fits into the fold.

He graded out positive defensively on Fangraphs, Baseball Reference and Baseball Savant at second base, but nowhere else. Also, if there are questions about his arm after two surgeries, he could be a lot more limited than what his experience suggests.

This move may be something to try and spark some of the players competing for time at second base.

Rodolfo Castro hasn’t been bad, leading the team in RBI right now, but he is just 4-for-20, and 80% of those runs he’s driven in came off one hit. He’s also struck out eight times in 20 plate appearances.

There hasn’t been much going on with the bats behind him either, at least when it comes to players on the 40-man roster. Tucupita Marcano is just 1-for-10, and Ji-Hwan Bae is 1-for-14 with five strikeouts.

Neither has really hit for the power that Mathias has in the upper levels, as he finished with 28 extra-base hits (15 home runs) in 328 plate appearances last year across Triple-A and the majors.

The Pirates have plenty of names in the mix for several spots on the major league roster, with no one really jumping out, just yet. So they did what they had to do to try and shake things up. Maybe a sign that they aren’t just going to sit around and wait for things to happen, but instead they will be more proactive now.

Pirates Prospects Daily

By John Dreker

**Spring Training Recap: Orioles 7, Pirates 4

**Pirates Prospects Daily: Pirates Make First Rounds Of Spring Training Cuts In case you missed it from yesterday

**Pirates DVR: Mitch Keller Cutter, Lolo Sanchez Home Run, Ji-Hwan Bae Defense

**Jarlin Garcia and Termarr Johnson Injury Updates Not the best news for either, though Johnson is only missing a little more time than previously mentioned

**World Baseball Classic Recap: Tsung-Che Cheng Collects Three Hits in His First Game The first day of the WBC saw a big game from a top infield prospect

**Pirates Acquire Mark Mathias From the Rangers

Song of the Day

Today’s Lineup

Pirates are at home today against the Detroit Tigers. 1:05 PM start time. Game is televised.

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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Swaggerty air-mails 2nd base from LF line. Next play Vilade drops a fly ball on RF line. Then Gorski misses cut-off on throw from CF…..ball rolls into IF…..smh. Then Swaggerty misses shoe-string catch in LF, ball rolls to wall. Has Swags any experience in LF?

Last edited 20 days ago by 1979andCounting

Onto the next inning! Maggi drops a routine foul pop up. Endy has a passed ball. Yeah, they are really competing this spring.

Last edited 20 days ago by 1979andCounting

Selby giving hard contact to A+, AA hitters is not helping either!


Bae doesn’t have the arm tp play SS. How many times do we need to post that? E-6 on a 90′ throw.


Doesn’t have the arm to play anywhere but 2b, doesn’t have the power to be a starter, once pitcher know that all he does is slap the ball around his on base ability will suffer.


Jared TriOforSping. 
Jack may want to try a new fielding stance.


Another lost ball in the sun, this one by Jack. Why don’t the Pirates re-configure the field? This is just ridiculous watching fly balls drop for doubles.


Crowe in late season form. If he makes the 26 he better not sniff a crucial situation.

Last edited 20 days ago by PirateRican21

Watching Pirates games is gonna be rough once again this year, I’m grateful for the pitch clock.

Last edited 20 days ago by PirateRican21

Mathias will be viewed as the next VanMeter by that crowd.

I’m not an FO apologist by any means, but this is competition.

Bae was a 45 FV, Castro & Mathias were 40FV.

They’re still knee deep in this rebuild and acquiring talent like Mathias is part of the process. If you’re only going to focus on internal options, it’s a terrible plan.

Bae and Mathias project as Utility Players, let them battle it out.


i wonder if he could play short once a week and in “emergencies”. it’d make roster construction much easier.

i guess at this point, i’m making a 13 man group of…

Reynolds, Suwinski, Cutch, hayes, cruz, castro, choi, santana, hedges, C2, mathias, bae, Joe.

if it was a video game, i’d have Njigba or Swaggerty in there over bae or castro, but am prioritizing them due to ability to fake it at shortstop.

Last edited 20 days ago by jaygray007

vs RHP:

LF Reynolds, CF Suwi, RF Bae (and some Cutch), 3b hayes, SS Cruz, 2b Castro (and some Mathias/Bae), 1b Choi, DH Santana, C Hedges. 7 lefties

vs LHP:

LF Joe, CF Reynolds, RF Mathias, 3b hayes, SS Cruz, 2b Castro, 1b Santana, DH Cutch, C Hedges. 8 righties

Bae, Castro, and maybe Mathias can chip in at SS as needed for Cruz off days and for short injuries. Any long injury would probably require a truer SS to be called in.

Last edited 20 days ago by jaygray007

I just saw video of Reynolds and Cutch taking grounder at SS, problem solve.


I don’t mean to be the article auditor, but I had Mathias’ FG page already up before reading the article & I’m not sure where Anthony is getting some of Mathias’ #’s. Per FG, Mathias had 6 home runs last year in the MLB, for a 132 RC+, & had a slightly negative defensive value (-.9).


Like most on here, I don’t generally pay attention to ST stats. It is a bit concerning, though, when guys who knew that ST would essentially be a tryout for earning a roster spot (Bae, Castro (one of my favorites), Marcano, and Vilade, for example) are struggling. OTOH, Swaggerty and Mitchell look like they showed up ready to compete. Of course in a week, this narrative could be flipped.


Why? Are we rebuilding or re-loading with late 20’s throwaway’s. . . again? The two shoulder ops are probably why he missed all of 2021.

Total frustration with how this ST is being handled – definitely not like a team trying to break out of a massive slump, or even get the players playing with one another. Have Castro and Cruz played a game together as the MI? Or, are they guessing every day as to if or where they might play.

We do not have the luxury other teams have with veterans who have played years with one another. We need to put the reps in now – there are only 18 games left in ST – play the lineup and start to act like an MLB ballclub.


emj, dude, friend…. you and i have been here a long time, are you getting dementia? these guys literally work together everyday in ST, games mean nothing at all, even for reps as these guys are playing intrasquad games throughout spring, b games, etc. unless you are there at pirate city you probably should relax. This guy can hit. period. Do we not need people whom can hit? our 2022 numbers suggest that we certainly do.

Last edited 20 days ago by Y2JGQ2

Are you happy with the results of the past 3 years? No, none of us are happy or content.

It’s a team game and the more a team plays together, the better they should get. We will enter 2023 with only 2 players who have played together for 2 or 3 years at the MLB level – Reynolds and Hayes. The rest are all newbies (Choi, Santana, Hedges) this year, or prospects who came up last year (Cruz, Castro, Bae, Suwinski, and Mitchell).

We go into the season at a serious disadvantage and reps as a team can only help to make them more able to compete more quickly and help to build themselves into a more competitive unit.

Mathias is going into his age 29 season with 117 career MLB AB. He has an option remaining, therefore he should start at the AAA level. Picking him up was just a reminder that BC can revert to a bottom feeder at any given moment! I hope he does not make the 26 and then keep somebody like Swagg’s, Mitchell, or Bae in the minors.


BC doesn’t care. He just likes collecting utility guys and left handers like we collected baseball cards.


Except some of my baseball cards may be worth money or useful. BC keeps opening packs of Donruss to put in his spokes to make his pedal bike sound louder.


which is fine, thats how you find a few decent ones.


Like who? Name an infielder or LHP that we’ve picked up under Ben that has been decent. I’ll wait………………………..


Name the marginal prospect that has been decent.

They sifted through about 20 of them last year and they all sucked.

I don’t know about you, but last season was probably the worst season of baseball that I witnessed. If I want to watch minor league baseball, I’ll head east to Altoona.


I’d hit up a local Little League game rather than re-watch any of last year. At least little league kids have some chatter going on in the game. “Talk it up infield!”.
Or softball. Those girls have all kind of random chants.


I waffle back and forth with Nick Gonzales but he compares favorably at the plate this spring with the other 2B candidates. Only caveat is that he has faced lower quality pitching playing primarily in later parts of the games. I wonder how he would do as a spring starter. It couldn’t be worse thus far than Bae, Marcano and Castro (sans GS in game 1).

It couldn’t hurt trying him out midseason if his AAA line looks okay and no one has a grip on the position. If this wasn’t the Pirates with the fear that a rookie might actually play in April, I would like to see him start a couple spring games and enter the competition now. He could surprise, especially if he gets the impression he is given a chance, however slim, to make the team. Of course, he could be a star on the Haines’ K club, too.


Contreras threw 3 innings yesterday for the WBC Dominican team, 2 hits, 4 Ks, no walks, looks like a good stat line. So far all 5 starters seem to be throwing well, so that is very encouraging. The hitting is a concern. Playing the Tigers today, so maybe they can get some hits against that staff.


👍… im watching Japan vs China now, starting to get out of hand now but was kinda competitive thru 7, via Japan leaving many men on base…Ohtani seems like a good player🤷‍♂️🤣


It’s going to be fun watching the big wallets tripping over themselves trying to woo Ohtani next winter.


I am groot.


Watch your language, this is a semi family site.


I am groot.


Apology accepted.

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