Player: Michael Matuella

Position: RHP

DOB: 6/3/1994 (Age: 21)

Height/Weight: 6’7″, 220 lbs

Bats/Throws: R/R

School: Duke

Previously Drafted: N/A (not drafted out of high school)



Nothing hurts a player’s draft stock like injuries, but at the same time, that often sets a player up to be an absolute steal for the team willing to take a chance on his health moving forward.

Last year, it was East Carolina ace Jeff Hoffman.

The right-hander was in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick until Tommy John surgery prematurely ended his season, and he wound up slipping to the Toronto Blue Jays at No. 9 overall.

This year, it’s Duke right-hander Mike Matuella.

Undrafted out of high school, Matuella received just two Division I offers, with Maryland and Duke both willing to give him a chance.

Coming from high school, I wasn’t anybody,” Matuella told Aaron Fitt of “I don’t think I ever threw harder than 88. I got no major league interest. And honestly, I struggled a lot in high school. I struggled a lot with command, and I was really overthinking things.”

He chose Duke, and as a freshman he made six starts and 15 relief appearances, going 4-3 with a 3.72 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 26 strikeouts in 55.2 innings.

As his big 6’7″ frame started to fill out and he started to refine his mechanics, his stuff took offand so too did his performance during his sophomore season.

Moving into the rotation full time, he went 1-3 with a 2.78 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 69 strikeouts in 58.1 innings, but a lat strain bothered him for much of the season.

The lat strain was not his only health issue heading into his junior season, though, as he also dealt with back issues from a pre-existing vertebrae condition known as spondylolysis.

Despite the health questions, his junior year began with plenty of hype, as some had him penciled in at No. 1 on their too-early mock drafts, and he started off strong with a 1.08 ERA through his first six starts.

Arm issues set in from there, though, and he wound up needing season-ending Tommy John surgery before his season really ever got going.


Pick Analysis

With Matuella taking off last summer in an effort to get healthy, and then getting hurt early this season, scouts have not had a ton of chances to get a look at the big righty.

His stuff is impossible to ignore, though, and Jonathan Mayo of’s Prospect Watch provides the full scouting report:

When healthy, he can overpower hitters with his 93-97 mph fastball and make them look bad with his curveball and slider. If that’s not enough, he also demonstrates feel for his changeup and throwing strikes. His 6-foot-7 frame creates difficult plane and angle for his pitches, making him that much tougher.

Even before his Tommy John surgery, Matuella had been plagued by injuries during his college career. He battled lat discomfort as a sophomore and was then diagnosed with spondylolysis, a manageable defect of the vertebra in the lower back. He has thrown just 141 innings during his three years at Duke.

It’s not hard to see why Matuella was in the conversation to be the top pick, with an impressive arsenal of pitches and an intimidating presence on the hill.

There’s no question he’s a risk, but a risk that could pay off in a huge way.


MLB Player Comparison: Brandon McCarthy

This comparison is made as much for the lanky 6’7″ frames and full repertoire of pitches both pitchers possess as it is for the injury histories attached to both guys.

McCarthy has been terrific when healthy, and a strong showing with the Yankees last year was enough to earn him a four-year, $48 million deal in free agency.

However, he’s currently sidelined for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and over the course of his 10-year career, he’s topped the 150-inning mark just twice.

While you certainly root for Matuella putting his injury problems behind him and having a lengthy big league career, he too could tease with his performance while struggling to stay on the field.


Projection: No. 2 starter potential when healthy


Major League ETA: 2019


Chances of Signing: 90 percent

While returning for his senior season and proving he’s healthy could boost his stock, Matuella is probably best suited getting his career started and rehabbing at the pro level with the best doctors and trainers money can buy.


All statistics and background information on Matuella come courtesy of and The Baseball Cube.

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