WORCESTER, Mass. — Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata has the pitch mix to make him a premium relief pitcher for organization. It’s more so a matter of locating his pitches, and staying healthy, that has kept him on the cusp of Boston rather than a bullpen regular.
It’s why Mata has continued to stress an improvement in his command this offseason, and moving forward, as he starts the 2023 campaign in Triple-A Worcester.
“Just staying more consistent in the strike zone,” Mata told NESN.com at Worcester’s media day Wednesday at Polar Park. “That’s the only thing I’m working on because I know my stuff is really good and I can get outs.”
Standing at 6-foot-3 and 238 pounds, Mata doesn’t only have the physical tools but also the raw potential with his fastball clocking 100 mph. However, a combination of back, shoulder and hamstring injures all hindered his development before a lost 2021 campaign due to Tommy John surgery.
“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.”
Mata played in four Grapefruit League games this spring in Fort Meyers, Fla. He pitched seven shutout innings with six strikeouts, mostly relying on secondary pitches with a slider and changeup behind a heat-seeking fastball.
“The spring went really good for me, I had the opportunity to show the team I’m almost there to where I want to be,” Mata said. “I’m learning and trying to do better every day.”
Mata’s projected arrival to Boston is in the middle of the 2023 season, per SoxProspects.com. But it’s likely that arrival hinges on his ability to improve his command in Triple-A Worcester.
Worcester will host Opening Day on Friday with Boston holding its season opener Thursday at Fenway Park. You can watch both games on NESN.