Luis Matos, CF
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: International Signing, July 2018
LAST LEVEL: High-A
VOLATILITY: Very High
GiantFutures 2023 Ranks: #7 Overall, #2 Center Fielder
2022 Performance: There’s no sugarcoating the season that Luis Matos had. It was awful.
Matos started the without hitting any extra-base hits in April, going 9-for-60 (.150), before missing most of May with an injury. When he came back, he was able to hit some extra-base hits, but he still struggled. In the end, Matos struggle to a .211/.275/.344 batting line in High-A, with 14 doubles, one triple, and 11 home runs, and just 11 steals in 14 attempts.
There was just one stretch where it looked like Matos was beginning to get on track, and that in August, when Matos hit .297/321/.505 with four home runs, a triple, and seven doubles. However, it was his only month in which he hit more than .200, had an on-base percentage over .275, or a slugging percentage over .350.
Strengths and Weaknesses: In the past, Matos had showed an excellent set of contact skills, and had always been able to put the ball into play and get tons of hits with his swing. In 2022 after making some adjustments, that swing was completely out of whack, and the power he’d had in the past was gone because of it. He was whiffing on more pitches than before as well. The question is, which version of Luis Matos will be seen in the future? It’ll probably be more of the former Matos, but making future adjustments might be less effective after this past season.
If Matos is back to the pre-2022 player, he’s a contact-oriented hitter with some power, having hit 15 in Low-A, and has average speed, which gave him two straight seasons of 20 steals. Defensively, he’s a smart center fielder whose routes and above average arm make up for the average speed, and makes him quite capable out there, with the ability to play in right field as well.
2023 Outlook: Matos will most likely be headed back to Eugene at least to start the season, to try and get back to the player he was be. He’ll be 21 years old this season, so repeating the level won’t set him too far back, but the team would likely be quick to push him up to Richmond if he does well.
Future Profile: At his ceiling, Matos has the tools to be an everyday center fielder. Even if his hitting does not come back as expected, his floor still would be as a fourth outfielder with good defense and some hitting.