Keith Law of ESPN released his farm system rankings today (subscription required). Led by Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon, the Pirates ranked 7th on Law’s list. The club has received plenty of recognition recently for their minor league system. Over the next 10 days, we’ll look at 10 different prospects, starting with Wyatt Mathisen.
Weight: 205 lbs.
The Bucs drafted Mathisen in the 2nd round of last year’s draft at 69th overall. He’s still young at age 19, so it’s difficult to truly gauge his full potential, especially since he didn’t catch that much in high school. Still, the Pirates have high hopes for him behind the plate since it’s a very weak position in the system. Here’s a scouting report from MLB.com:
Here are his stats from his first professional season, spent with the Gulf Coast League Pirates:
The last homegrown backstop to suit up full-time for the Bucs was Ryan Doumit. Similar to Mathisen, Doumit was also a second round draft pick. Despite a multitude of injuries, his offense was pretty underappreciated, especially once Rod Barajas hit for an abysmal .206/.283/.343 line in 2012. Even though his defense was often lackluster, Doumit was a mainstay on some awful Bucco teams. He spent seven years in Pittsburgh, and it’d certainly be nice to maintain a catcher for that long again, rather than repeatedly resorting to the free agent market.
If Mathisen could develop into a solid starter and produce for quite a few seasons, the Bucs would tremendously benefit. A young, consistent catcher is a huge asset to any ballclub, and they wouldn’t have to gamble or overpay for an aging free agent.
Then again, it’s tough to determine Mathisen’s true ability and there’s no way to tell whether or not he will pan out. Either way, 2013 should be a big year for him as he hopefully advances through a level or two of minor league play. MLB.com estimates he will arrive in Pittsburgh by 2016.
Photo: Cliff Welch/MiLB.com