Jorge Mateo was a major piece of a talented trio of prospects the A's received from the Yankees when trading former ace Sonny Gray before the 2017 MLB trade deadline.
After a disappointing 2018 season, Mateo displayed the eye-popping athleticism this spring that had the A's so intrigued. Just look at the speed he displays here, scoring on a shallow fly ball that barely reached the outfield.
Mateo was optioned to Triple-A camp on Sunday, but he impressed in nine games with the big league club this spring. He hit .278 (5-for-18) with three runs, a double and a triple.
“I think he’s inspired by being at big league camp and getting an opportunity,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said to reporters on Sunday, via MLB.com. “You look at the numbers he put up last year and you look at his talent level, based on what we’ve seen, it’s like, how did that happen?"
The 23-year-old made his Triple-A debut in 2018, and struggled at the highest level he's faced in the minors. Mateo hit just .230 with a lowly .280 on-base percentage, striking out 139 times to only 29 walks.
Though the numbers are far from what he wanted, Mateo looks at his down season as a needed learning year.
“It’s really different,” Mateo said. “You got different pitching, but you can learn from that so much. I think mentally it made me tougher. If something is going wrong, you have to learn how to deal with that, and I did.”
When the A's first acquired Mateo, he starred right away at Double-A. In his first 30 games in Oakland's farm system, he hit .292 with four home runs, seven triples, five doubles, and stole 13 bases.
The middle infielder is headed for Las Vegas this season to play for the A's new Triple-A affiliate. After a promising time in the desert, counting down his days to Oakland could come quicker than it appeared last year.