Cal Poly second baseman Mark Mathias is undeniably one of the best hitters in this year's draft class. With his unique combination of bat speed and ability to recognize pitches, Mathias entered the season looking to prove himself defensively. His draft profile would be much more appealing if he could convince scouts that he could stick at second base long term. Then, with his defensive future already unclear, Mathias had shoulder surgery, and was expected to miss the first full month of the college season.
The term "labrum surgery" is cringe-inducing in the baseball community. It's usually a term applied to pitchers, and it can be the kiss of death to a player's arm strength and throwing velocity. Mathias, however, had a small SLAP (superior labrum tear from anterior to posterior) tear, about one centimeter in size. Labrum surgeries begin with an examination of the damage, and while Mathias was expecting to miss more significant time, he was pleasantly relieved to find out that his labrum had not fully torn from his biceps tendon, meaning that he could be back on the field and throwing relatively early in the season.
Mathias has returned faster than expected, and he's hit the ground running; through five games, all as a designated hitter, he's 9-for-23.
"My shoulder feels great. After surgery I hit physical therapy pretty tough and got my shoulder back to full potential and started swinging (in games) on Feb. 24, and started my throwing program about a week ago,” he said. “So I'll be cleared to throw March 24."
• Texas A&M righthander Grayson Long tossed seven dominant innings this weekend, striking out 10 in a gem against Houston. Armed with a 6-foot-5, 215-pound pitcher's body, Long worked in the low 90s, touching 93. His fastball is his main weapon right now, while his changeup and curveball are both below average pitches.
• "Video game numbers" wouldn't do justice for what Cal State Fullerton's Thomas Eshelman has accomplished thus far. He's walked more than one batter in an outing only twice in his career, including his two-walk "struggle" against Baylor last weekend. Eshelman used his deceptive upper 80s fastball to strike out 14 in a masterful performance against Texas Tech this weekend.
• Boston College slugger Chris Shaw has reached base in 35 consecutive games. He doesn't always make contact, but when he does, the ball jumps off his bat. Shaw's raw power is among the best in the class, but his hit tool is still a work in progress. The reviews on his ability to play the outfield are uninspiring, and, as a first base prospect, Shaw has a similar profile to Angels 1B/DH C.J. Cron, whose power, albeit from the right side, made him the 17th overall pick in 2011.
• North Carolina outfielder Skye Bolt showed glimpses of life with a three-hit performance on Friday, but he went hitless for the rest of the weekend. Bolt's early season struggles have scouts from multiple teams pessimistic about his ultimate projection, though he should have ample opportunity to prove himself against quality pitching in the ACC as the season unfolds.
• After reaching base seven times in seven plate appearance against Evansville on Tuesday, Rhett Wiseman went 7-for-13 in the Dodgertown Classic this weekend. The Vanderbilt outfielder has few weaknesses offensively, and if he continues to perform at this level, Wiseman could hear his name called on Day One of the draft.
|Rhett Wiseman||Vanderbilt||UCLA/USC/TCU||13||3||7||1||3||0||1||2B, HR|
|Mark Mathias||Cal Poly||Pacific||15||6||6||2||0||2||1|
|Blake Trahan||Louisiana Lafayette||Troy||10||6||6||2||0||4||0||4 2B, HR|
|David Fletcher||Loyola Marymount||Arkansas||14||4||5||1||2||0||0||HR|
|Alex Bregman||Louisiana State||Houston/Baylor/Nebraska||13||2||5||0||0||0||3||2B|
|Andrew Benintendi||Arkansas||Loyola Marymount||12||3||5||5||3||1||1||2 2B|
|Christin Stewart||Tennessee||Grand Canyon||10||2||4||3||1||1||0||HR|
|Kyle Holder||San Diego||Mississippi State||12||1||4||1||0||0||0|
|Ian Happ||Cincinnati||Niagara||6||3||4||6||1||2||0||2B, HR|
|C.J Hinojosa||Texas||Stanford||14||3||4||0||2||3||0||2 2B|
|Cam Gibson||Michigan State||Toledo/Akron/UMBC/Coastal Carolina||16||2||4||2||2||2||2||3B|
|Kal Simmons||Kennesaw State||Alabama-Birmingham||11||3||3||3||1||1||1||HR|
|Skye Bolt||North Carolina||Duke||13||3||3||2||1||0||1|
|Matt Rose||Georgia State||Eastern Michigan||9||1||3||2||2||3||0||2 2B|
|Jaylin Davis||Appalachian State||Georgia Southern||10||1||3||2||6||0||0|
|Andrew Stevenson||Louisiana State||Houston/Baylor/Nebraska||10||2||3||0||1||0||1||3B|
|Mark Laird||Louisiana State||Houston/Baylor/Nebraska||12||1||3||0||0||0||0||2B|
|David Thompson||Miami (FL)||Louisville||10||0||3||3||0||3||0||2 2B|
|Taylor Ward||Fresno State||Oregon State||11||0||3||0||2||3||0||2B, 3B|
|Chris Shaw||Boston College||Florida State||10||2||2||2||4||1||0||HR|
|Steven Duggar||Clemson||NC State||12||2||2||1||3||2||0|
|Logan Taylor||Texas A&M||Nebraska/Houston/Baylor||11||1||2||0||2||0||0||2B|
|Tate Matheny||Missouri State||Wright State||13||1||2||1||2||2||1||2B|
|Gio Brusa||Pacific||Cal Poly||9||0||1||2||5||5||0|
|DJ Stewart||Florida State||Boston College||8||1||0||1||3||3||0|
|Thomas Eshelman||Cal State Fullerton||Texas Tech||9||5||0||0||1||14||W|
|Jon Harris||Missouri State||Wright State||7||4||2||2||2||13|
|Kolton Mahoney||Brigham Young||Hartford||7||5||0||0||3||11||W|
|Grayson Long||Texas A&M||Houston||7||3||0||0||0||10||W|
|Dillon Tate||UC Santa Barbara||Sacramento State||7||5||0||0||3||10||W|
|Alex Young||Texas Christian||UCLA||8||3||1||1||1||9||W|
|Ryan Kellogg||Arizona State||Long Beach State||7||5||2||2||2||8|
|Kyle Cody||Kentucky||Northern Kentucky||7||4||1||1||0||8||W|
|Mitchell Traver||Texas Christian||Southern California||5.2||6||3||2||1||7|
|A.J. Minter||Texas A&M||Nebraska||5||4||1||0||0||6|
|Kevin Duchene||Illinois||Oklahoma State||7||3||1||1||1||6||W|
|Justin Jacome||UC Santa Barbara||Sacramento State||7||6||4||4||2||6|
|Travis Bergen||Kennesaw State||Alabama Birmingham||6.2||7||1||0||1||5||W|
|Brett Lilek||Arizona State||Long Beach State||5||4||2||2||2||5||W|
|Tyler Jay||Illinois||Oklahoma State||4.2||3||0||0||2||5||S, W|
|Walker Buehler||Vanderbilt||Texas Christian||4||3||1||1||1||5|
|Justin Garza||Cal State Fullerton||Texas Tech||6||6||2||2||1||5||W|
|Alex Robinson||Maryland||UNC Wilmington||2.1||0||2||0||1||4||S|
|Kyle Twomey||Southern California||Vanderbilt||5||12||4||4||0||4|
|Trey Killian||Arkansas||Loyola Marymount||3.2||4||1||1||0||3|
|Cole Irvin||Oregon||St. John’s||4||2||0||0||0||3|
|Riley Ferrell||Texas Christian||UCLA/Vanderbilt||2.2||1||0||0||1||3||2 S|
|Ryan Burr||Arizona State||Long Beach State||1||0||0||0||1||2||S|
|Blake Hickman||Iowa||Middle Tennessee||6||4||1||0||2||2||W|
|Cody Poteet||UCLA||Southern California||3.2||8||4||4||1||2||L|
|John Kilichowski||Vanderbilt||Southern California||4.1||5||5||3||1||2|
|Jake Lemoine||Houston||Texas A&M||6.1||6||5||3||1||2||L|
|Trevor Megill||Loyola Marymount||Arkansas||2.1||6||5||4||4||1||L|
|Trent Thornton||North Carolina||Duke||1||1||0||0||1||1|
|Zack Erwin||Clemson||NC State||1||5||6||6||2||1||L|
|Garrett Cleavinger||Oregon||St. John’s||1||1||0||0||1||1|
|Tyler Alexander||Texas Christian||Vanderbilt||1.1||1||0||0||0||1|
|Dylan Nelson||Radford||College of Charleston||4.1||4||6||3||2||0||L|
|Michael Matuella||Duke||North Carolina||3||1||0||0||1||0|