SF Giants prospects: Midseason 2021 rankings
2. Luis Matos, CF
Current Level: Low-A (San Jose)
Acquired: IFA (2018)
Future-Value Grade: 55
I ranked Luis Matos the second-best prospect in the SF Giants system heading into the season and after his fantastic performance this year at San Jose, he’s emerged as the consensus pick right after Luciano. The more I talked to people around the industry last winter, the more I noticed that those who had seen Luis Matos the most were adamant he was a potential impact player. After getting his first extended look stateside, more scouts have seen him enough to become enamored with the young outfielder.
Matos had an excellent pro debut with the Giants Dominican Summer League affiliate back in 2019, hitting.367/.438/.566 with plenty of extra-base hits, stolen bases, and nearly as many walks as strikeouts. Most of that has carried into his full-season debut this year with the San Jose Giants. Matos is hitting .312/.344/.481 at Low-A this season with 28 doubles, 12 homers, and 20 stolen bases. His walk and strikeout rates have both gone in the wrong direction, where more advanced pitchers have taken advantage of his aggressive approach, but not set to turn 20 until next January, he has plenty of time to make the necessary adjustments.
Matos has excellent bat speed, a knack for putting the barrel on the ball, and above-average speed that plays on the basepaths and in the outfield. While he probably will never be an elite defender in center field, he shouldn’t be forced to move to a corner.
Matos is one of the most entertaining players in the organization to watch play. There’s a combination of joy and confidence that leads to an aggressiveness reminiscent of Javier Báez or Eric Byrnes. Whenever he reaches the big leagues, fans will love watching Matos play even if it makes them pull their hair out on occasion.
I’ve seen some rankings knock Matos all the way up to a 60-grade, on the same tier as Luciano, but I’m not there yet. I believe Matos has the potential to develop above-average power, but that would have to come with an even more significant improvement in his approach than it will already take to succeed against more advanced pitching. I’ve said Matos’ swing and all-around ability reminded me of Mookie Betts in the past, but his aggressive approach is more in line with Starling Marte. Either way, Matos has the potential to be as impactful as either one of those players. However, he has to make some massive adjustments to reach that ceiling.
For now, I see Matos producing at his peak around .280/.320/.430 with 30 doubles, 10-15 homers, and 15 steals a year alongside average or better defense in center field. However, if he becomes more selective with his swing choices, he has the potential to generate 60 extra-base hits in a season.