Travis Mattair came into the 2012 season as a relative unknown prospect who the Reds plucked up in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft from the Phillies the previous offseason. A former 2nd rounder, he took off the 2010 season to play college basketball before returning for the 2011 baseball season.

Things got off to a rocky start in April for Mattair. He played in 18 games for the Bakersfield Blaze and racked up 59 at bats where he struck out 19 times and had 6 walks while hitting .136/.209/.390. He smacked five home runs during the month, meaning that the other 37 times he put the ball in play, he only recorded a hit 3 times. That is a BABIP of .081 for the month. That may be the worst luck I can recall seeing.

Things turned around for the better in May. The third baseman stepped to the plate 116 times for the month. He walked 15 times and struck out 28 times while hitting .277/.371/.455 with 10 doubles, a triple and two home runs. He really caught fire from the 19th through the 26th as he went 15 for 31 with 5 extra-base hits in that week time frame.

June was a strong month from a statistical standpoint. Mattair went out and hit .304/.355/.490 during the month in 110 plate appearances with 7 doubles and 4 home runs. His plate discipline did take a step backward during the month though, drawing just 8 walks while striking out 26 times.

July was a step backwards from a production standpoint, though it was still a solid month. With 122 trips to the plate he hit .255/.328/.455 with 4 doubles and 6 home runs. His plate discipline was a step back in the right direction as he drew 10 walks with 27 strikeouts.

August and the first three days of September were the strongest month of the year for Mattair. He got 135 plate appearances in that time frame and hit .333/.393/.500 with 10 doubles, 2 triples and 2 home runs while walking 11 times and striking out just 19 times.  The Blaze qualified for the playoffs for winning the first half and lost in a 5 game series where Mattair continued his hot hitting. In those 5 games he hit .350/.381/.850 with a double and 3 home runs in the series.

PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
550 492 73 135 31 3 19 82 3 6 50 119 .274 .344 .465

Overall Thoughts

The 2012 season was the first breakout for Travis Mattair, who had put together some iffy seasons prior to the one with the Blaze. After an incredibly unlucky start in April, he hit .296/.363/.492 from May through the playoffs. The former second round pick of the Phillies has some good tools to work with and while he is still a little older than your typical prospect at his level, between the tools and the season he took off to play college basketball, he remains a very intriguing prospect to keep an eye on. If he can build upon 2012, he could really vault up the Reds prospect rankings.

To see other Season in Review articles click this link.

34 Responses

  1. Tim

    What kind of potential do u see in Mattair??? can he stick at 3rd?? Overall how does he compare to Frazier??

    • Doug Gray

      All Star potential if the scouting reports are true. I haven’t ever seen him play though and his breakout was in the California League, so I was hesitant to rank him too highly because of that.

      • Randy in Chatt

        So were a couple of guys named Harper and Trout……..just sayin’ :)

      • MK

        Harper hit .333 with 6 homers in AFL as a teenager
        Trout hit .245 as a teenager

        Mattair .188 as a 24-year old

      • Doug Gray

        Still was just 32 at bats. One more hit would have been worth 30 points to your average at that point. When you are looking at a sample size that small, nothing really matters unless you are talking about something like 16+ strikeouts.

      • Randy in Chatt

        You’re right, should have done better homework on Harper. I remember he was struggling thru much of it then really turned it on at the end of the AFL. Trout was un-Trout-like in last year’s AFL. Goes to show you, the AFL is not always an indicator of future success but does expedite the process of stars…..maybe for Mattair, it will speed him up too. A good experience all the same.

      • Doug Gray

        He played in a handful of games after joining them mid-season.

  2. IndyRedsFan

    Doug,

    Here’s a potential topic for a slow news day.
    Could you explain how the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft works??
    ie;
    …who is at risk for being drafted?
    …what does the drafting club have to do to keep the draftee? (analagous to a ML Rule 5 Draftee having to be kept on the 25 man roster)

    I think we all fairly well understand the rules for the ML Rule 5 draft, but I for one, have never understood the rules for the minor league rounds. For example, I would have guessed that someone drafted in the AAA phase of the Rule 5 draft would have to spend the following year at AAA. But, obviously, that wasn’t the case with Mattair.

  3. Alan Horn

    The Braves traded Hanson for what looked like a much lessor return. However, Hanson has a violent delivery. I remember telling my brother(who is a big Braves fan) that he is a arm injury waiting to happen(the first time I saw him pitch). He was quite good for a few years.

    • Doug Gray

      Both guys involved in that trade saw DL time with arm issues last year. Hanson has been losing velocity for a few years running now, so that isn’t a good sign.

  4. Beard

    Doug what did you think of the Span trade in terms of what the Nationals gave up?

    • Doug Gray

      I equate Meyer to a Cingrani/Corcino level prospect. A guy in that 40-75 range on prospect lists. I wouldn’t have made the deal for the Reds with any three of those guys. I can understand how some would have though.

  5. Joered

    My thoughts are, just thinking, mike leake will be traded for a lead off hitter. Alex Gordon would be right up the reds ally. Gold glove and lead the AL in 2b last season. The royals are looking for pitching and we have it. What would it take to get him and what area the odds it happens? Or maybe a bad move altogether? Thoughts anyone?

    • Alpha Zero

      I’d say Alex Gordon would be a heck of an acquisition. He plays a solid LF, has posted good OBPs the last two years, and has a little bit of pop. He’s also under control for a reasonable amount for 3 more years. He’d look very nice at the top of the lineup. I’m just not sure what a package for Gordon would have to look like. Maybe Leake, Heisey, one of Corcino/Cingrani, and another solid prospect in the 5-10 range? I’m not really sure if that’s enough, but I’d probably do it if that’s what it would take.

      On the other hand, Shin-Soo Choo is every bit as good a fit as Gordon, but he’d be a one year rental. That might actually be a good thing for the Reds’ current situation since it would likely take a little less to acquire him, and the Reds would almost certainly get a draft pick when he leaves at the end of 2013.

      If I were Jocketty, these are the top two guys I’d be targeting. They both make a tremendous amount of sense for the Reds.

      • RobL

        Under the CBA, in order to get compensation, you have to tender the player for 13 million dollars. No way Choo gets tendered.

      • David

        Choo would at least be in line for a contract like Upton. Whoever has him will tender.

  6. Joered

    Or any thoughts on jacoby ellsbury? Maybe a we could get him for cheap right now.

  7. hunr4redsoct

    Phipps and Negron non-tendered, would this be to open up spots on the 40-man for a signing or rule 5? Their salaries are not big so why not just wait until the spots are needed, they both can help at aaa Louisville.

    • IndyRedsFan

      They signed them back to minor league deals with invites to ST. Good move by the Reds.

    • Norwood Nate

      I think this was a good move by the Reds. To be honest, neither was going to make much of a contribution to the big league squad. Hard to say what the move was made for. But if we’re looking at non-tenders from yesterday, John Lannan and Nate Schierholtz are two names that peak my interest. Lannan has had some success pitching at the big league level, and is a LH. If we are packaging Leake and maybe one of Cingrani/Corcino it may be good to have another MLB quality SP on hand. And I think he needs a change of scenery.

      I love what XP was able to do last year, after struggling for half a season to find any sort of LH bat off the bench. But Schierholtz also provides a little bit of pop for a PH that XP doesn’t have. That can be pretty valuable off the bench. Just an interesting name out there.

      I really have no idea what the Reds will do, maybe rule 5. Maybe just wait out the FA market. These moves were likely to come regardless of any other plan in mind.

  8. RobL

    Nice article over on fangraphs about the increased reward for the stolen base. As bop has dipped over the last five years, reducing scoring, the reward for each run has increased. In 2000, the break even point was 75percent. Now it’s 66 percent. The Reds have moved away for the stolen base. I think it’s time for Billy Hamilton to bring it back.

    • Doug Gray

      Steals are nice, but I am more worried about hitting. It is far more important.

      • fromcubawithluv

        I too am worried about hitting….. but

        Doug, do you think the new 66% number is accurate? and if so that could make a significant jump in value for a few folks that were borderline. Mike Trout just became more valuable, lol

      • Doug Gray

        I haven’t seen the article, so I don’t know what kind of math that was used to determine that rate of success.

  9. Daryl

    What about a low incentive laden deal for Brian Wilson? I just don’t trust Broxton all that much. I like him as a setup guy but not the closer. Thoughts anyone?

    • Doug Gray

      I doubt the Reds add anymore bullpen arms. The bullpen is already crowded and I have to imagine that the Reds feel pretty good with where it is at.

  10. Mark

    One guy I find interesting to consider is signing Jair Jurrjens who was let go by the Braves. I think they need to trade Leake, Heisey, Stubbs for outfield help and Jurrjens may be good enough to fifth starter leaving Chapman as closer. I just don’t understand the reasoning of weakening your closer position by making Chapman a starter, Broxton is no Chapman when it comes to closing out games, he doesn’t have the stuff to get the K’s.

    • Norwood Nate

      But what does “weakening the closer” mean in reality? The numbers say that Chapman 2012 was only just as effective Cordero in 2011 as far as number of saves vs blown saves. You don’t think Broxton can replicate that? His numbers from KC and the few games with the Reds suggest he can.

      With the trade off being a more dominant starting rotation, then I’d say that will be add more value to the team overall. The difference in saves vs blown saves (which is what really matters as a closer) is likely to be minimal, if at all, and the difference between Chapman and Leake starting has the potential to be great and have more impact on games (more innings pitched etc.). If anything you have to figure out if Chapman can do it. That’s what we brought him in for.

    • Doug Gray

      He could be a very good defender according to scouting reports. He needs to improve his error rate right now though.

  11. Michael

    What would everyone think about a nyjer Morgan/reed johnson platoon for center/leadoff and try and go for a leake plus prospect pkg for mike morse for left/cleanup. Right handed batter dusty has to have to slot between votto and bruce. That trio would probably make about $10 million and cost could be offset by trading leake and seeing if we could flip Stubbs for backend sp or longman to take what would be leake’s spot.