27 Outs Baseball Network

Yankees Prospect Jorge Mateo Blazing Path Through Double-A

Photos by Tony Capobianco

Jorge Mateo has made quite the first impression in his first two weeks with the Trenton Thunder. The New York Yankees fourth-ranked prospect was recently named Eastern League Player of the Week Award for the period of June 26th through July 2nd after hitting .522 (12-for-23) with one home run, three triples, and 10 RBIs in his first six games in Double-A.

“I think he’s excited to be here and to finally be able to move forward and out of [Class A Advanced] Tampa,” Trenton manager Bobby Mitchell told MiLB.com. “He’s very motivated right now and you can see it in his play. He’s having fun and he’s part of a great group of guys who have accepted him with open arms. He’s a key part of our club now and we expect him to help us a lot.”

That award was clinched on the final day of the week with his first professional grand slam on the road against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. That game was also a personal high in single-game RBIs with five.

“He’s been patient at the plate and when you do that, you end up getting into good hitters’ counts and finding pitches to hit,” Mitchell told MiLB.com on Saturday. “He doesn’t miss when he gets his pitch. It’s just really fun to watch him play.”

This promotion to the next level came after stealing 28 bases for the Tampa Yankees of the Single-A Advanced Florida State League despite batting .240 in 69 games. Mateo is one of the fastest runners in Minor League baseball and possibly a close comparison to Cincinnati Reds speedy center fielder Billy Hamilton. His speed is usually the difference between a bloop single and an extra base hit.

“I think it was time for him to be challenged and to move on [from the Florida State League],” Mitchell said. “He’s showing that he’s a dynamic player for our organization, but it’s all about consistency. He went 4-for-4 tonight, which is great, but the league tends to start making adjustments very quickly. He needs to do so as well, and there’s no doubt he can. He’s still very young, but he just needs to stay focused and adapt, which I’m sure he will.”

Mateo led all of Minor League baseball with 82 stolen bases in 2015 before dipping to 36 last season. He came into last year as the Yankees’ top-rated prospect until Gleyber Torres arrived from the Chicago Cubs as the main payoff from the Aroldis Chapman trade knocked him off the throne by the end of the season. Torres is out for the season after an injury shorted a seemingly successful season and Mateo has a chance to show himself on the Eastern League’s winningest team.

“He’s hit Double-A now, so he realizes he’s on the map,” Mitchell said. “He’s close. He just needs to keep doing it and stay healthy. We’re looking forward to having him for the rest of the season and then moving on from there.”

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