SF Giants: Outfield Prospect’s Stock on the Rise
By Jeff Young
Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline answered a bevy of prospect-related questions, including whether an SF Giants prospect would appear in his top-100 prospects list.
Callis indicated that SF Giants prospect Luis Matos would not appear on this year’s top-100 prospect list, but that he has the tools to appear on future lists:
"“Matos could have at least average tools across the board and stands out most with his advanced ability at the plate. He’ll turn 19 next week but already recognizes pitches and controls the strike zone well while lacing line drives all over the field. He has a quick right-handed bat and some deceptive strength, as well as solid to plus speed with aggressive instincts on the bases and in center field.”"
The Giants originally signed Matos along with Marco Luciano and Jairo Pomares during the 2018-2019 J2 signing period. This class is one of the key areas that will hopefully open the competitive window once they reach the major leagues.
Matos may be a bit overlooked due to the rapid rise of Luciano, but he was a highly-regarded amateur prospect as well given that he reeled in a $725,000 signing bonus.
The right-handed bat put together a really impressive season in 2019, but we did not get to observe his progress in 2020 due to the minor league season being canceled.
With the Dominican Summer League (DOSL) Giants, the Matos slashed .362/.430/.570 with seven home runs and 47 RBI in 270 plate appearances as a 17-year-old. He showed a mature approach at the plate as he posted a seven percent walk rate against an 11.1 percent strikeout rate.
Surprisingly, the outfield prospect earned a rare promotion from the DSOL to the Arizona Rookie League at the end of the 2019 season. With the AZL Giants, Matos collected seven hits in 16 at-bats with five runs scored in the final games of the season.
Since then, Matos has dazzled us with the few bits of video available:
In the field, Matos has worked exclusively as a center field. Given his range, speed and instincts, he has the potential to stick as a center fielder at the next level, which would really boost his value.
Many prospect lists have Heliot Ramos, Hunter Bishop, and Alexander Canario ahead of the 18-year-old. However, this is just purely anecdotal, but it does seem like the Giants internally view Matos higher than Bishop and Canario.
Nevertheless, Matos has seen his stock rise since the Giants originally signed him out of Venezuela. He impressed in his rookie campaign in 2019, and it looks like those who rate prospects are beginning to take notice as well.