Luis Matos, CF
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: International Signing, July 2018
LAST LEVEL: High-A
GiantFutures 2022 Ranks: #1 Center Fielder, #3 Overall
Performance: Luis Matos’ reputation began to grow after an excellent 2019 debut where he earned a nearly unprecedented midseason promotion from the DSL to the US. Over the last couple of years, with the lost 2020, people had been saying Matos could be one of the top prospects on the team, breaking the recent Top 3 of Luciano, Bart and Ramos of the past couple of years. All he did in 2021 is back that up, with an excellent year in San Jose, batting .313/.358/.494 with 35 doubles and 15 home runs, and 31 steals in 26 attempts.
It was a remarkably even season for Matos, who spent the entire year in San Jose and never suffered any real slumps throughout the year. If there was any weakness in his game, Matos had an interesting reverse split. He had a .874 OPS against right-handed pitchers, but just a .743 against left-handers, notably struggling to get walks against the southpaws. But if there was any surprise to Matos’ season, it was that he didn’t get a callup to High-A, as almost every other top-performing prospect in the Giants system did. But he was one of just five players in all the minors who had a combo of 20+ doubles, 15+ homers, and 20+ doubles.
Matos spent most of the season playing in center field, moving to right field late in the season as Grant McCray was promoted, and also got in a few games in left.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Matos has some of the best contact skills in the system, and doesn’t swing and miss very often. That led to a strong batting average with just 61 strikeouts in 491 plate appearances. He’s not the strongest player, but he gets great exit velocities, and gets plenty of doubles as well as a fair number of home runs. With his speed, he takes advantage of his line drives to get those extra bases, and he also puts the speed to use on the bases, which has been rare in the system.
Defensively, Matos has the tools to stay in center field, but he’s still working on his instincts there, and needs to work on his reactions and routes. He has the speed to play out there, and a plus arm.
2022 Outlook: Matos will finally get his look at High-A to start 2022, and he will get a chance to prove himself against more advanced pitching, to see if he can handle it. But Matos could be in line for that aggressive promotion he didn’t get last year.
Future Profile: Matos is the best five-tool prospect in the system, grading out above-average in every tool. He could be an ideal center fielder, the kind the Giants have looked for for years. His power would be less of a plus if he moves to a corner, but his overall profile would still work in right field.