SF Giants top prospects: No. 7 — OF Luis Matos
Highest Level: Rookie (AZL)
Acquired: IFA (2018)
Future-Value Grade: 45+
Luis Matos was the third member of the San Francisco Giants trio of International free-agent signings last summer highlighted by Marco Luciano and Jairo Pomares. While Pomares and Luciano debuted stateside, Matos was held back in the Dominican Summer League.
From the jump, Matos seemed too good for the DSL. After putting up a .362/.430/.570 line while stealing 20 bases in 55 games, the team finally brought Matos to the Arizona League. He went 7-for-16 in five games before the rookie ball season concluded.
As a teenager, speed seemed like Matos’ calling card and his only potential plus tool. However, Matos has shown some explosive bat speed and even greater upside in his short professional career. There’s now an outcome with potential plus power and speed paired with an above-average hit tool and decent centerfield defense.
His swing is geared more for line-drives than power but so far he’s overmatched his competition so much it hasn’t made a difference. Matos hit 34 extra-base hits in just 60 games in 2019.
In last year’s ranking, I wrote he’d need to stick in center to be an above-average everyday player. That’s no longer the case. Roger Munter over at There Are Giants was high on Matos early on and he was right. Matos’ upside is far higher than I acknowledged.
Matos’ swing and toolset are somewhat reminiscent of Mookie Betts. He’s obviously a long way off, but at his age (he won’t be 19 until January of next year), Matos is comparable to the top high school prospects in this year’s draft. His resume would probably rank him on par and maybe even above guys like Robert Hassell III, Pete Crow-Armstrong, and Zac Veen.
This offseason, Matos worked to shape his body, putting on 15-20 pounds of muscle. If he continues focusing on his physique, Matos should have no problem sticking in center. If he does bulk up a bit too much, his arm profiles better in left than right field.
Obviously barely playing above the Dominican Summer League, Matos’ approach and pitch recognition have yet to be tested. Tools can only go as far as those things allow them to play. What makes it hard to gauge Matos is he hasn’t faced any high-level pitching. If those skills are there, he’ll be a top-100 prospect in no time. If they aren’t, he’ll be a much higher variance commodity.
While it’s unusual for a player to see full-season ball without playing with Low-A Salem-Keizer, it wouldn’t have been shocking to see Matos start this season alongside Pomares and Luciano at Single-A Augusta. Not in Sacramento at the alternate site, Matos has been training on his own with some other Latin American prospects including his cousin (and recently acquired) Luis Alexander Basabe.