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Friday, March 18, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL STOCK WATCH: STEVEN MATZ ENDURING BRUTAL SPRING

When it comes to spring training, 9 times out of 10 the numbrs accumulated during the Grapefruit and Cactus exhibition slate can be taken with a clear grain of salt.  With most players tinkering with their swing or pitches, spring training is a time where kinks are worked out before the real games count.  This line of thinking changes a bit though when disucssing young players and this is especially true for young pitchers who are trying to make hay against Major League hitters in their youth.   Many a hyped fantasy baseball prospect in fact have had such issues in the spring that it results in a failure to stick with the big league club, dashing the hopes of his owners and the player himself.  While such an extreme is not likely to happen, there is growing concern about the brutal spring performance thus far of New York Mets top lefty pitching prospect Steven Matz.  After absolutely lighting up Triple-A last season (and in the thin air of Las Vegas might we add), Matz ;looked like the real deal when he compiled a 2.27 ERA and 8.58 K/9 in his introductory run through the majors in 2015.  While still very young at 24 and with a long history of injuries already under his belt (including a Tommy John), Matz has universally been considered one of the best under-25 arms in the game.  Thus he was given a firm rotation spot to begin 2016 and only more injuries could hold him back due to the potency of his stuff. 

Well like many scripts, things have not totally right in line with the plan this spring as Matz was bad again on Thursday when he gave up 3 runs in 4 innings against the Miami Marlins to raise his ERA in the exhibition schedule to an ugly 7.00.  Matz clearly is not het comfortable with his stuff this spring based on the results and you always have to wonder if health is a factor here.  Since the Mets or Matz have not said anything about any aches or pains, we have to just assume Matz is going through a bit of a rough match.  Which really is to be expected for someone who is so young and raw agianst Major League hitters.  Don't forget that these hitters have had a full offseason to digest the Matz repertoire and thus the pitcher himself might need to re-adjust his approach.  Also Matz is so gifted that there is no reason to panic and make a dumb move like trade him.  Matz will be just fine as long as he stays healthy and SP 2 numbers are possible.  The kid is going to be a good one real quick this season. 


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