We are now Phil Maton days away from San Diego Padres Opening Day 2019.
Good Sunday morning, San Diego Padres fans. It is truly hard to imagine that there are only two days left in 2018 when it feels just like yesterday that I was out at spring training soaking in those beautiful first sights and sounds of baseball season. Those sights and sounds will be returning so, as today marks 88 days until Opening Day 2019, aka Phil Maton days away!
Phil “Spin Rate” Maton appeared in 45 games for the Padres last season, pitching to a 4.37 earned run average and 3.25 FIP across 47.1 innings at the major league level. Outside of his near 11% walk rate, Maton made noticeable progress across most metrics in his second season with San Diego,
A fastball/slider reliever, Maton owns an advanced spin rate, averaging 2562 RPM on his fastball and 2749 RPM on his slider, per Baseball Savant. For reference, only 13 pitchers in all of baseball can spin a fastball more (one of those pitchers being Garrett Richards).
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Maton struck out 26% of hitters he faced and excelled at missing bat barrels in 2018. Opposing hitters were able to barrel a baseball against Maton just 2.2% of the time, well below the league average of 6.1%. He also allowed a hard-hit ball (95 mph+) just 27% of the time, a significant drop from his rookie season.
Looking deeper into the numbers, Maton seemed to be hurt by poor defense in the outfield. Hitters were able to get the ball in the air at a higher rate against Maton, resulting in hitters posting a .265 average and .359 BABIP. However, hitters had a .201 expected batting average against Maton, meaning the defense behind him largely failed.
With a better defense and more command of his fastball, the Padres have themselves yet another valuable bullpen piece in Phil Maton heading into 2019. He keeps the ball in the ballpark and never looks phased on the mound, bringing with him a mentality that Andy Green and his staff can take solace in. The major separation point moving forward will be his fastball. Without improved command, opposing hitters will feast on the pitch.
Just 88 more days, Padres fans. Enjoy your New Years celebrations and let’s hope the new year brings some good news our way.