2017 Eyewitness Evaluation: Nick Maton

Nick Maton, SS

6’2″, 165 lb

Bats/Throws: L/R

Played for: Williamsport (Short Season A/New York Penn League)

Dates Seen: 7/7-7/9, 9/2

Drafted: Philadelphia Phillies 2017, 7th Round (Lincoln Land Community College)

Eyewitness Stats: 8/16, 2B, 4 R, 3 RBI, BB, 4 K

What the Numbers Say

Williamsport (Short Season A): 58 G, 246 PA, .252/.350/.333, 9 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 34 R, 10/15 SB, 12.2% BB, 19.1 K%, 111 wRC+

Fielding: 57 G (56 starts) at SS, 481.1 total innings, 264 chances, 133 assists, 33 double plays turned, nine errors, .966 Fld %

Maton’s first five games were pretty forgettable as he only went 1/18 with five walks and six strikeouts. Over the next 51 games, he hit .286/.373/.374 with a 11.8% BB and 17% K before he finished the season with an ugly two games (0/10, five strikeouts). He never went more than two games without a hit after his sluggish start and reached base in 47 of the 57 games he recorded an at-bat for the season. Maton overall scuffled down the stretch a little bit hitting just .225 with a .651 OPS after the NY-Penn League All-Star game (.269, .702 OPS prior).

Maton showed real obvious splits facing left handed pitching as he only hit .158/.226/.228 with five walks and 16 strikeouts in 62 plate appearances. Versus right-handers he hit a very solid .288/.391/.373 with 25 walks and 31 strikeouts in 184 PA. He also hit 10 of his 12 extra base hits versus righties.

The balls hit in plays by Maton were pretty well balanced. He ended up putting up a real solid line drive contact rate of 25.9% to go with a solid 39.5 fly ball percentage. He put more balls in play to his pull side (45.7%) and not a lot of balls back up the middle (23.8%). A lot his opposite field hits were more soft singles.

One of Maton’s strongest situational statistics this season was that he was good at being the table setter as Williamsport’s primary leadoff hitter. When leading off an inning, he hit .304 with a .753 OPS in 79 at-bats.

On the weak side of situational statistics, he really struggled with runners in scoring position hitting just .179 with a .532 OPS, though he did walk 10 times compared to nine strikeouts in about 49 plate appearances. He was even worse in that situation with two outs hitting only .111 in 35 such situations

Tale of the Tape

Maton’s top tool is probably his discipline. He never truly swung at a pitch that was horribly outside the strike zone. He struggled getting to fastballs on the outside, but other than that he fought off a lot of tough pitches. He is short and quick to the ball with a compact left-handed swing. He’s doesn’t have a lot of loft on his swing, but the amount of line drives he produced was encouraging. The combination of his swing mechanics and some of the contact data leads me to believe that if he fills out he has the chance to have average power. He didn’t really have a showing going the other way in my eyewitness accounts and when he did it wasn’t strong enough contact, so right now he’s more of a pull hitter. He’s a good athlete with about average running ability getting out of the box to 1B in about 4.18 to 4.21 seconds Defensively, he has showed a plus arm and never looked over his head at shortstop. His arm could play well at 3B too if he outgrows shortstop a bit more.

What Lies Ahead

Maton was probably one of my favorite picks in the Phillies draft class this year based. While he has a ways to go to fill out, Maton has the frame to eventually be capable of average power. He likely won’t be anymore than a 10-15 home run player. But based on where many of the hits I saw landed he could hit the right center gap consistently for more doubles. Maton’s play at shortstop suggests to me he can handle the position in the future. He will likely play multiple infield positions down the line, which will probably give him a better shot at making the majors four to five years from now. I don’t see a future regular, but Maton’s discipline and versatility can make him a platoon player who can really hit RHP if he hits his ceiling. Maton will likely be the starting shortstop next season in Lakewood.

Author: Jeff Israel