So it’s officially official in all of it’s official-ness. Wagner Mateo is a St. Louis Cardinal. Big surprise. It’s like opening your Christmas presents early. The bonus amount is believed to be $3.1M, which in this economy is really something. The bonus breaks several records.
- It is the largest bonus given to a Dominican position player. The biggest bonus to a Dominican player was given to RHP Michel Inoa last year by the A’s, at $4.25M
- It’s a record bonus by the Cardinals given to a Latin American signee. The previous record was set last year when the Cardinals signed 3B Roberto de la Cruz.
- It’s the biggest bonus given to an amateur by the Cardinals. J.D. Drew received a $3M bonus when he was drafted.
Some front office reaction:
“Wagner is the top player available in Latin America this year and we have scouted him heavily over the past two years,” stated Cardinals’ Director of International Operations Moises Rodriguez. “His bat is special and we look forward to his continued development as a professional.”
So what about Wagner Mateo as a ballplayer? Some of you may have heard him compared to five-tool talents like Carlos Beltran or Grady Sizemore. Reading after Ben Badler and Jorge Arangure, all that seems like more hype than substance. Don’t get me wrong, Mateo is an elite talent. But he’s not a five-tool talent. He has the all important tool, and that is the ability to hit the baseball. Merely based on what I’ve read, Mateo’s OFP (overall future potential) sounds like it would be graded as such on the 20-80 scouting scale:
Hit: 60, maybe better.
Power: 55, 60 potential. More of a line-drive swing now, but definite power is shown in batting practice.
Run: 40. He’s got a mature body already at 6-1, 190.
Throwing: Not sure, but most scouts think he’s destined for left-field rather than right, so I’d imagine average at best.
Fielding: Again, not sure but you have to think at best average given his speed, although we know there is more to outfield defense than speed.
Putting it all together, you have an left-fielder that could hit around .300 and could have double-digit home-run totals, with some 20-25 homer potential on the high end. Of course, we’re talking about a 16-year old, so that would be one of the best possible outcomes. It’s hard to say for sure what the Cardinals will get, and we’re talking about someone who is a long ways away from making an impact.
Here again are the videos, for your perusal so you can judge for yourself:
This is a red-letter day for Cardinal fans. We won’t really hear much more on Mateo until next year, when the next GCL season starts.
I’ll be talking tomorrow to Ben Badler regarding Mateo and the July 2 signing on BlogTalkRadio. The show will be at 2pm Central, be sure to tune in for more.