In recent seasons, starting pitching prospect Steven Matz has become a bit of an afterthought as fellow hurlers Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard have rocketed up the organizational depth chart. A second round pick of the Mets in 2009, Matz suffered multiple setbacks due to injuries early in his pro career, undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010 before ever throwing a pitch in a pro game. The reconstructive surgery cost him both 2010 and 2011 and his woes continued in 2012, as shoulder tendonitis limited him to just six Appalachin league starts in his rookie season.
Matz was excellent in those six starts (2-1, 1.55 ERA) and continued to show great promise in his return last season, posting a 5-6 record with a 2.62 ERA in 21 starts, tossing 106.1 innings and putting himself back on the big league radar at age 22. The southpaw also struck out 121 batters and most importantly, completed his season in Savannah healthy.
This season Matz in in top form at Single-A St. Lucie, posting a 2-1 record with a 1.52 over four starts, while already racking up 23 strikeouts. Added to the 40-man roster last winter, the now-23 year old received rave reviews from Mets manager Terry Collins in spring training, who told the Stony Brook native "see you soon, see you real soon" upon his assignment to minor league camp.
In his last start on April 17, Matz took a no-hitter deep into the sixth, before a bunt-single ended the bid. That night Matz tossed seven shutout innings, his longest start of the year, as he is being held to a tight pitch count.
With scouting reports clocking Matz' velocity in the mid-90's with continued improvement seen in his changeup and curveball, he could be calling AA Binghamton home later this season. He'll be one to watch as he moves up the ladder, facing more seasoned bats while working on a possible fourth pitch.
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