According to a post on MLBTR, the Giants could be in the running to sign 16-year-old Dominican prospect Wagner Mateo.
ESPN.com’s Jorge Arangure reports (via Twitter) that the Giants may be on the verge of signing 16-year-old Dominican prospect Wagner Mateo. A deal could be finalized “within [the] next couple of weeks.”
If you’ll remember, Mateo was one of the hotter prospects on the Latin market this year. He originally inked a $3.1M deal with the Cardinals only to be voided with what the club was calling “pre-existing injuries and physical defects” that related to Mateo’s vision.
From a BA blog post on the subject:
“Our doctors did not sign off on his physical,” said Jeff Luhnow, the Cardinals’ vice president of amateur scouting and player development. “There was a lot of focus on the eye, and that was a big issue. For us to sign a player, a player has to pass his physical, and our doctors would not pass him.”
Before Mateo signed with the Cards, the Giants were one of the rumored teams bidding for his services. One of rumors was that the Giants were considering a bid of $3.5M but got cold feet at the last moment. From a scouting report angle, Mateo’s calling card is his bat. Scouts are split on what kind of power he’ll hit for but he’s shown good power to all fields at times — BA notes that he has hit opposite field HRs in game situations. Some see him as more of a line drive hitter than a 30+ HR masher. He rates as an average runner — a 40 on the 20-80 scouting scale — that will most likely end up in LF.
Here’s a video of Mateo hitting and fielding.
It’ll be interesting to see how much money gets knocked off of whatever deal Mateo signs. Mateo’s agent, Edgar Mercedes, is saying that Mateo’s vision issues are related to problems he had with his contacts. He does wear corrective lenses that keeps his vision at 20/30 that, while acceptable for most people, is considered poor for the average professional athlete. The question is how much his vision could change as he ages. Over the past few years the Giants have shown that they’ll spend money in the Latin FA market. The team spent a combined $4.65M on Angel Villalona (2006) and Rafael Rodriguez (2008) and they had noted interest in Mateo before his deal fell through with the Cards.
For the Giants, picking up Mateo at a discount could be a nice addition to a farm system that’s had some graduations and set-backs. More to come as details emerge.
Update: Here’s a pretty good article on the situation.