SDI Prospect Rankings – #11 Michael Matuella

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The #11 prospect on our list is the Rangers 2015 3rd round pick – pitcher Michael Matuella (pronounced match-oo-ELLA) out of Duke. He received only two offers out of high school – Duke and Maryland. Now, he is one of the most intriguing prospects in minor league baseball.

Matuella is the ultimate risk-reward prospect. MLB.com has him ranked all the way up at number seven, bullish on his potential. However, the third round selection shows that teams may be a little more concerned about the risk.

Entering his junior season in college, the right-hander was projected by some as the number one overall pick in the 2015 Amateur Draft. Known for a power fastball and curveball, with a potential above average slider and changeup to accompany, Matuella stands tall at 6’7”. The fastball is top notch, sitting at 93-97 with a hard running action. The curve shows 11-5 action, with its hard bite not showing until the pitch is well on its way to the plate. His slider isn’t quite the filth his curveball is, but the late break makes it deceptive. The 21-year-old doesn’t give away his changeup in his delivery, allowing the fading low-80s pitch the marks of an effective offering vs lefties. Reports have him with advanced strike throwing ability, as well.

Below is a video of Matuella in an outing against Pitt, courtesy of Fangraphs:

As evidenced above, the stuff is dominant. If he pitches, Matuella has the makings of a big league starter with top of the rotation potential. The risk comes from the fact he hasn’t pitched all that much. During his three year career at Duke he managed to throw only 141 innings. Early in his final year of college, Matuella injured his elbow and required Tommy John surgery. This injury could keep him off the rubber into early 2016. On top of this, the man born in Great Falls, Virginia, suffers from spondylosis (a degenerative vertebrae condition, in his case lower back).

If things go right for Michael Matuella, he is a third round steal once worthy of being the top overall pick. If they don’t, he may not make many professional appearances. This will be a very interesting prospect and story to follow.

Grant Schiller
Grant is currently a student at the University of North Texas and long-term hopes to get into the world of scouting. He will spend many nights over the summer checking out the prospects around the Texas League in Frisco. When not around baseball, Grant will probably be dropping threes at the rec with no remorse.

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