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Prospect Notes: Michael Roth, Luis Mateo

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Michael Roth
Michael Roth

***The Los Angeles Angels promoted southpaw Michael Roth to the major leagues a few days ago, less than a year after drafting him out of the University of South Carolina. You might think that means Roth is an outstanding prospect given his rapid rise, but he didn't rank highly on prospect lists entering 2013. Roth was extremely successful in college, leading NCAA Division I in wins (14) and ERA (1.06) in 2011, then following up with another strong season in 2012 (9-1, 2.43). However, he lasted until the ninth round in the draft last year.

For all of his success, his fastball isn't very fast, just in the mid-80s and sometimes slower than that. What he does have is an excellent changeup and a decent slider, plus a deceptive approach that drives hitters nuts. He's thrown four innings of major league relief so far and has already fanned six. Despite the lack of burning radar readings, Roth could wind up having a long career as a bullpen option.

***New York Mets pitching prospect Luis Mateo was placed on the disabled list at Double-A Binghamton following a difficult start on Monday, April 15th. He was throwing his usual 95 MPH fastball in the first three innings, but in the fourth inning his velocity suddenly sagged into the low-80s before he was pulled from the game. The official diagnosis is "elbow strain" but Mateo has a history of elbow trouble including a diagnosis of bone chips in 2010. Mateo's fastball and hard slider give him one of the highest ceilings in the pitching-rich Mets farm system, but at this point we have to enter wait-and-see mode on his health.