You've seen his name pop up a few times in the last week or so as a relief pitcher for Missoula. What only some of you may remember is that Wagner Mateo was once a highly-prized hitting prospect that the Dbacks spent $300,000 on. Out of the Dominican Republic Mateo was originally offered in excess of $1 million by the St. Louis Cardinals but when they discovered an eyesight problem they withdrew the offer. The Diamondbacks signed him for $300,000 in 2010 and spent the next three years trying to develop him as an outfielder/first baseman. To make a long story short that didn't really work out. Late last year they began working with him as a pitcher and he pitched in 8 games in the Arizona Rookie League with poor results.
So back he comes this year with a full off-season of work and he gets assigned to Missoula to start the season. His first game for Missoula was a disaster as he allowed 5 runs without recording an out. On the surface it seemed this wasn't going to work out either. Well, since then Mateo has appeared in three more games pitching 6 innings and has not allowed a hit or a run and struck out 7. At 21 years old it's clearly not too late for Mateo, and this SSS hardly suggests anything magical is about to happen. But it's still a good story that for once he's starting to have some success at something. His diligence is paying off and I'll continue following him if for no other reason than to hope he can keep building on his new journey as a professional baseball player.
3 Stars: Henry Castillo, AZL 3 for 5, 2 DBL, 1 TPL, 2 RBI
2 Stars: Matt Railey, Missoula 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR (2), 2 RBI, 1 SB
1 Star: Nick Ahmed, Reno 4 for 4, 1 R, 1 DBL, 1 RBI
0 Stars: Braden Shipley, Visalia 3.1 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 8 ER, L (1-2)
AAA: Game 1. Reno 2 Albuquerque 3. Brian Cavazos-Galvez homered on Joe Paterson's first pitch in the bottom of the 7th inning for the walk-off win over the Aces in the first game of a doubleheader. Trevor Cahill started and was okay allowing 2 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 5.2 innings, but both runs were via solo home runs. Mike Freeman went 2 for 4 and drove in both runs for Reno, and Danny Dorn went 2 for 3.
AAA: Game 2. Reno 2 Albuquerque 3. A late bullpen problem cost the Aces in this one too as Derek Eitel walked the first three batters he faced in the bottom of the 6th followed by a sacrifice fly that was the difference maker. Michael Lee was called up from AA to make the start and had a shutout going into the 6th before a leadoff triple and a throwing error tied the score. Lee was removed for Eitel to do his thing. The team had a rally going in the top of the 7th when Nick Ahmed singled with the bases loaded that should have tied the score but a base-running gaffe left 2 runners on 3rd base that ended the threat. Nick Ahmed went 4 for 4 with a double and Andy Cunningham had 2 doubles to lead the offense.
AA: Mobile - Game Suspended for Rain
A+: Visalia 3 San Jose 8. As dominant as Braden Shipley was in his last start he was as "un-dominant" in this one. Shipley couldn't get out of the 4th inning before allowing 8 earned runs on 7 hits and 2 walks. Justin Van Grouw and Cody Wheeler followed with 4+ shutout innings of relief with 10 strikeouts. But the offense could only manage 3 runs while leaving 11 on base and hitting 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position. Brandon Drury went 3 for 5 to raise his average to .301 and Socrates Brito clubbed 2 doubles. Dallas Tarleton was perfect going 2 for 2 with 2 walks.
A: South Bend 1 Fort Wayne 3. Fort Wayne scored 1 in the first off Blake Perry but didn't score again until the top of the 12th when they got 2 more off Johnny Shuttlesworth. The offense had plenty of chances to win it but couldn't come up with the big hit. Blake Perry was very good tossing 7 strong strong innings allowing just the 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks. Daniel Palka and Zach Esquerra led the ofense with 2 hits each. Andrew Velazquez went 1 for 3 with 3 walks and 2 stolen bases giving him 28 on the year.
A-: Hillsboro 1 Boise 11. Two singles were all the Hops could come up with while the pitching was even worse. Scott Schultz started and wasn't too bad allowing 3 runs over 4 innings, but it went downhill from there. Not a game worth reviewing any further.
R: Missoula 4 @ Great Falls 3. Brad Keller's third start of the year was on the bumpy side allowing 3 runs over 4 innings, though he did strike out 7. But the offense rallied mid-game with Matt Railey's 2-run homer in the 6th proving to be the game-winner. Railey went 2 for 4 and stole a base in addition to the home run. The bullpen was stellar with Wagner Mateo pitching 2 perfect innings followed by 2 more perfect innings from Will Landsheft, followed by Brody Greer's perfect 9th for his 2nd save. Justin Williams went 3 for 5 and is hitting .333 in his first 12 games.
AZL: Dbacks 12 Athletics 2. Dallas Newton was pretty steady on the mound allowing 2 runs over 6 innings while the offense cranked it up for 12 runs to make him a winner. Henry Castillo was the offensive star going 3 for 5 with 2 doubles, a triple and 2 RBI. Matt McPhearson was 2 for 5 with a double and 2 RBI and looks to be well on his way to bouncing back from a poor rookie season as he's hitting .393 in his first 6 games.