Joey Bart, Marco Luciano and Heliot Ramos get most of the pub when it comes to the Giants farm system, but the best of the bunch might be flying under the radar.
That’s what former Giants slugger Pat Burrell said when he joined Papa & Lund on Tuesday. Now a hitting coach for the San Jose Giants, Burrell says that 19-year-old Luis Matos, the Giants’ youngest top prospect, is his favorite player coming through the ranks.
“This is the guy I talk about the most,” Burrell said on KNBR. “I can’t get enough of him. I think he led the California league in hits, total bases, doubles, extra base hits, all this stuff. And you don’t see a lot of guys hitting for a high average anymore. He drove in 85 runs. I love that. That seems to be overlooked in this new game but I think it’s really important for a guy who hits 15 homers, which is plenty. But to drive in 85, that tells me this guy has a knack for driving guys in when they’re on base. I love him as a player.”
Burrell isn’t the only one taking notice. Matos has started to fly up the ranks, currently listed as the team’s No. 3 overall prospect by Major League Baseball. The Venezuela native has lived up to that billing in his first season with San Jose, posting a slash line of .313/.358/.494. Burrell seems to think he projects as the centerfielder of the future.
“I mean he’s got a plus-plus arm, like you said he can run. He does chase, he doesn’t strikeout but he doesn’t walk as well. It’s a rare combination. It’s kind of like Pablo where they can cover everything. We’d like to tighten that up, but it’s a tough thing to tell a guy where everything that comes out of a pitchers hand he can hit.
“The bat speed is there. I love his swing, I love the speed he creates, and he’s only going to get better, he’s 18 years old. This guy is going to continue to learn, just get stronger and bigger. He’s my fav.”
Listen to the full interview below.