Third baseman Wyatt Mathisen is having an amazing stretch at the plate lately for two reasons. The 21-year-old has at least two hits in each of the last eight games. Mathisen has 18 hits over that stretch in 32 at-bats. The thing that makes it more amazing, is that all 18 hits are singles. He’s also walked once and driven in one run during his last ten games. I don’t know how often players get at least 18 hits over an eight game stretch with at least two hits in each game, but I’m willing to bet that last time it happened, that player drove in a few runs or had some extra-base hits during the streak.
Last year, Mathisen started at third base for West Virginia and hit .280/.344/.360 over 103 games. He showed a good ability to make contact, striking out 54 times in 419 plate appearances. Mathisen started off the 2013 season slow, which skewed the total numbers. From June 2nd to the end of the season, he hit .324/.373/.400 in 50 games. This year, he is right around the same OPS and the average is exactly the same through 30 games. Mathisen is hitting .324/.390/.362 this season
So you have someone hitting .324 over 80 games, which is more than just a small sample size. The problem is that he has just two extra-base hits this year, both triples. He doesn’t have any doubles this season and hasn’t homered since May 8,2013, covering 418 plate appearances. Mathisen doesn’t take a lot of walks either, which explains an OPS under .770 during this 80 game stretch. For a corner infielder without speed or strong defense, he is still a far way away from being a top prospect in the system, but he is on the right track.
A week into the season, we updated our top 30 prospect list, basing the changes mostly on their Opening Day assignment and taking into account any injuries, or poor performances/conditioning during Spring Training. Mathisen ended up ranked 24th on the new list. I’m not going to update my personal top 30 until after the draft, but I think the 24th spot is still right around where he should be.
The high average and low strikeout rate while moving up a level helps his case. He is also a good age for the level, so that is a plus. The lack of extra-base hits, speed or plus defense at third base, are all things that hold him back. If he’s able to turn some of those singles into doubles while maintaining his average, you will see him move up during our mid-season update.
Pirates Game Graph
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates defeated the Cubs by a 3-0 score on Sunday. They now travel back to Pittsburgh to take on the Minnesota Twins for two games, with former Twin Francisco Liriano taking the hill on Tuesday night. They are off today.
In the minors, Clayton Richard makes his third start of the season and the second one for Indianapolis. He has thrown 11 innings without allowing an earned run. John Sever makes his seventh start of the season. He has 30 strikeouts in 27 innings this year. Sever has an 0.98 ERA at home and 7.27 on the road. He is holding right-handed batters to a .213 average, while lefties are batting .407 off the southpaw. Altoona has the day off today. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (18-20) vs Twins (21-17) 7:05 PM 5/19
Probable starter: Francisco Liriano (2.96 ERA, 19:50 BB/SO, 45.2 IP)
From Sunday, Alen Hanson hits this RBI single. He is having a terrific May, hitting .333/.373/.517 during the month.
5/17: Jeff Roy placed on disabled list. Trace Tam Sing added to WV Power roster
5/17: Bradenton adds Julio Eusebio, Cesilio Pimentel and Ryan Hafner to roster. Henry Hirsch, Felipe Gonzalez and Brett McKinney assigned to Extended Spring Training.
5/16: Luis Heredia added to Bradenton roster. Matt Benedict promoted to Indianapolis.
5/16: Wilfredo Boscan added to 40-man roster and promoted to Majors. Steve Lombardozzi sent to Indianapolis.
5/16: Brandon Cumpton transferred to 60-day disabled list.
5/15: Charlie Leesman placed on Indianapolis disabled list.
5/15: Antonio Bastardo activated from Paternity List. Bobby LaFromboise optioned to Indianapolis.
5/14: Charlie Morton assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
5/14: Pirates sign catcher Paul Brands.
5/13: Hayden Hurst placed on Voluntarily Retired List.
5/12: Indianapolis placed John Holdzkom on disabled list.
5/11: Felipe Gonzalez added to Bradenton roster. Ryan Hafner assigned to Extended Spring Training.
5/11: Charlie Leesman added to Indianapolis roster.
5/11: Antonio Bastardo placed on Paternity List. Bobby LaFromboise recalled from Indianapolis.
5/11: Connor Joe added to WV Power roster. Trace Tam Sing transferred to WV Black Bears.
5/10: Pirates acquire Jayson Aquino from Toronto Blue Jays for cash. Aquino assigned to Bradenton.
5/9: Pirates released Justin Howard.
5/8: Charlie Morton assigned to Altoona on rehab.
5/8: Nick Kingham placed on disabled list. Adam Miller added to Indianapolis roster.
5/7: Clayton Richard assigned to Bradenton. Felipe Gonzalez assigned to Extended Spring Training.
5/7: Colten Brewer added to WV Power roster. Eric Dorsch assigned to WV Black Bears
5/7: Jeff Inman added to Altoona roster. Tyler Sample sent to WV Black Bears.
5/6: Andrew Lambo placed on 15-day disabled list. Steve Lombardozzi selected from Indianapolis.
5/6: Adam Frazier activated from Altoona disabled list. Andy Vasquez assigned to Indianapolis.
5/6: Brad Lincoln added to Indianapolis roster. Charlie Leesman assigned to WV Black Bears.
5/5: Josh Wall added to Indianapolis. Brad Lincoln assigned to WV Black Bears.
5/4: Barrett Barnes assigned to Bradenton. Junior Sosa assigned to Extended Spring Training.
This Date in Pirates History
Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including Pirates great Babe Adams, who won 194 games over his 18 season in Pittsburgh. During the 1909 season as a rookie, he went 12-3, 1.11 in 130 innings during the regular season and then won three games during the World Series. Adams won a career-high 22 games during the 1911 season and was the only player from the 1909 team that was still around during the 1925 season when the Pirates won their second WS title. You can read his full bio here.
Other former Pirates players born on this date:
Nelson Figueroa, 2003-04 pitcher
Ken Hamlin, shortstop in 1957 and 1959
Bill Batsch, pinch-hitter on September 9,1916. Walked in his only career plate appearance.
On this date in 1909, Honus Wagner hit a tenth inning two-run triple to help give the Pirates an 8-5 victory over Brooklyn. Hall of Famer Vic Willis started the game for the Pirates and reliever Sam Leever picked up the victory. That gave the Pirates a 1.5 game lead in the standings over the Cubs, the team that won the NL pennant each of the last three seasons.