- Full name Juan Manuel Mateo
- Born 12/17/1982 in Bani, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 235 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 08/03/2006
Organization Prospect Rankings
Chicago almost lost Mateo when St. Louis took Mateo in the major league Rule 5 draft at the 2005 Winter Meetings. But he showed up in Cardinals camp out of shape last spring, and the Cubs gladly took him back for half the $50,000 draft price after he cleared waivers. It didn't take long for him to get into condition, as he pitched well in Double-A and spent the last two months of the season in Chicago's rotation. Managers rated Mateo's fastball the best in the Southern League last summer. It has good velocity at 90-95 mph, and it's also notable for its life and his command of the pitch. He also throws a slider and a changeup, but they're just borderline average at their best right now. He always has done a good job of throwing strikes and he showed little fear in his stint in the majors. Because he doesn't have a deep repertoire, he may well wind up back in the bullpen, where he spent most of his first four years in pro ball. After signing Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis, the Cubs believe they've filled the holes that riddled their rotation in 2006, so Mateo probably will serve in long relief if he makes the big league club.
Though they're going to contend again in 2006, the Cardinals decided Mateo was too tempting to pass up in the major league Rule 5 draft at the Winter Meetings. They'll have to keep him on their active big league roster all season, or else they'll have to put him on waivers and offer him back to the Cubs for half his $50,000 draft price. Mateo may have the most upside of the 12 players taken in the big league Rule 5 draft. He throws strikes with a 91-94 mph fastball, an improving slider and a rudimentary changeup. Mostly a reliever for his first three seasons in the Chicago system, Mateo moved to the rotation last May. After taking a few starts to adapt, he went 4-1, 1.79 over his final 10 outings. He'll pitch out of the bullpen in 2006 for the Cardinals, who should be able to find him enough innings so it won't be a totally wasted year of development.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Fastball in the Southern League in 2006