Back on October 12, 2013, the New York Yankees signed infielder Welfrin Mateo out of the Dominican Republic to a minor league deal. In his four seasons in the organization, he has a slash line of .287/.359/.406 with eight home runs, 82 RBI’s, and 30 stolen bases (caught stealing 22 times).
Mateo has not advanced past the Short-Season level, but he’s only 22 years old (23 in September) and has plenty of time left in his development. He has shown versatility in the infield as he has played second base, third base, and shortstop. While second base and shortstop are clogged up in the system at the moment, third base is where Mateo could have the best chance to move up:
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights Mateo has had with the Yankees up to this point:
Mateo began his professional career playing for one of the two Dominican Summer League teams (DSL1). In 57 games, he had a slash line of .290/.391/.416 with four home runs, 27 RBI’s., and 12 stolen bases. He was tied for first in doubles (13), tied for second on the team in home runs, and second in hits (62).
Right out of the gate, Mateo had a good start to the season as he hit .311 in his first 32 games, hit three home runs, and had an on-base percentage of .415. But, the numbers went down in the second half as the average dropped 50 points (.261) and he struck out 19 times in 25 games.
During that season, Mateo had three hits in a game on four different occasions, had three doubles in a game on June 7, and drove in three RBI’s in one game on August 5.
As for his defense, he played in 50 games at second base and five of them at shortstop. But, that trend wouldn’t continue for much longer as he made 13 errors at second.
For the bulk of 2015, Mateo stayed in the DSL, but he was with the second of the two teams. The production remained steady at the plate. His slash line was .297/.387/.441 with a pair of home runs, 21 RBI’s, and ten stolen bases.
Mateo’s best month of the season that year was in August when he .371 with the aforementioned two homers and drove in 13 runs to go with an on-base percentage of .451 (seven walks). On August 3 against the DSL Pirates, he hit for the cycle and had the walk-off home run in the Yankees 5-4 wi
On August 13, Mateo was promoted to the Gulf Coast League and got a chance to play in five games (.222 average). While he stayed in the middle infield, the primary position for him in 2015 was at shortstop, but the error problems continued (19).
Mateo made his way up to the Appalachian League as he played for Pulaski for the bulk of the year. In 45 games, his slash line of .289/.315/.408 with the exact same stat line as 2015 (two home runs and 21 RBI’s).
The only problem with these stats compared to the year prior was that he walked only four times while striking out 29 times. Despite the lack of walks, he still finished in a tie for fifth on the team in RBI’s.
His best month of the season came in July when he hit .299 with a home run and 14 RBI’s in 22 games. On July 28 against the Burlington Royals, he did have a four-RBI game for the first time in his career, but Pulaski lost that game 14-6.
He did get a chance to move up to Short-Season for a couple of games when he got promoted to Staten Island on September 2. While he played 29 games at second base, Mateo did play 13 games at the hot corner as well. He made four errors in 12 games while he was with Pulaski.
Mateo spent the whole season in Staten Island, but only played in 32 games in the New-York Penn League. His slash line was .256/.296/.300 with four doubles and ten RBI’s.
Despite having only 23 hits last year, he did have a pair of three-hit games down the stretch. He was 3-for-4 against Lowell on August 29 and 3-for-5 against Aberdeen on September 4. He did play 17 games at third base and only made one error, so the defense was improved.
This season, Mateo is likely to start off the year with Staten Island if he’s not at Low-A Charleston. He only has had four walks in each of the last two seasons, so plate discipline is something to keep an eye on. That being said, it is his ability to play all around the infield at age 22 that will help him in the long run.
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