WORCESTER — Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale was singing the praises of pitching prospect Bryan Mata last month.
Sale and Mata rehabbed together after the former’s Tommy John surgery, and the time spent was enough to show Sale how impactful Boston’s No. 6 prospect could be down the road.
“I saw him really turn a corner,” Sale told reporters at Red Sox Winter Weekend. “Just the power he possesses, the ease that it looks like he’s throwing with. … You can tell how he operates, he really wants it. Be excited to see him and get him here full time.”
Hearing that sort of sentiment from a seven-time MLB All-Star certainly was not lost on the 23-year-old Mata. And he expressed just that while speaking with NESN.com during Triple-A Worcester’s media day at Polar Park on Wednesday.
“I mean, it’s like an honor because I was watching those guys when I was younger doing the things they do every five days when I was little. And I didn’t know what that takes to be,” Mata said. “It just makes me feel a little proud of myself because I know I’m doing good. And just keep doing my thing.”
That’s surely what the Red Sox will be looking for when Mata starts the 2023 campaign in Triple-A, as well. Mata is the highest-ranked pitching prospect in the organization and is on the Red Sox 40-man roster. He is projected to arrive in Boston at some point during the 2023 campaign.
Mata pitched seven shutout innings in four games during spring training. It came after Mata recorded a 3.47 ERA in five starts in Triple-A Worcester during the 2022 campaign, quickly ascending after undergoing Tommy John himself in 2021.
He is looking forward to building on that continued health and success.
“Right now I’m feeling really good,” Mata said. “I don’t have to worry about anything because my body is in good shape. Heading into the season I was preparing myself during spring training to be ready for the season and I feel like that right away.”
It won’t be long before Mata is able to showcase his stuff to Sale and the rest of the major league club. Triple-A Worcester opens its season Friday at 4 p.m. ET, and you can watch the game live on NESN.