The Lexington Legends are off to a pretty good start in the South Atlantic League and one of the biggest reasons for that success is a young right fielder named Seuly Matias. If you’re a Kansas City Royals fan, you’ve probably heard his name mentioned multiple times by now.
While the Royals have sent a number of their top prospects to this team to start the season, it is Matias who has drawn the most attention, thus far. Having batted .348 through seven games, with four home runs and nine RBI, he’s busily about making a name for himself here in Lexington.
Probably the first tool that stands out for him is his power. He has a great deal of it, and while a lot of that is raw ability at the moment, he has (obviously) shown it off when it counts.
He is a powerfully-built young man, with a great deal of upper body strength and the demonstrated ability to drive the ball even with one-handed swings on balls outside the zone. He does take a lot of arm swings, so he’ll need to get his lower half involved more frequently. However, he definitely can turn on an inside pitch and blister it. When he becomes more comfortable with off-speed pitches (low and away is a problem area, with change-ups and curves), we’ll see fuller swings and more consistent torque and hip rotation.
He doesn’t turn 20 years old until the end of the season, but even at his young age he doesn’t appear the least bit intimidated or overwhelmed at this level. Indeed, the Royals have placed five 19-year-olds on this year’s Legends roster, all of them prime prospects in a farm system that seems to be perceived as weak. Personally, I’m not convinced that this is true.
Defensively, Matias has an arm made for right field. His throws carry very well, and he gets to the ball quickly. His transfer and accuracy on throws are both sound, though he might be off-target with the cutoff from time to time. I would chalk that up to youthful inexperience.
Personality is not a tool, in and of itself, but another thing I noticed about Matias is his exuberance. He has an infectious smile and laugh, and seems to lighten the mood of the players around him on a regular basis. During the game, Matias is strictly business, but before and after the game he is back to his grinning, laughing, jovial self. I consider that a “clubhouse tool”, so to speak, and it has its value as well.
Even though it is very early in the season, it is clear that Matias is settling into Class-A ball very well. Like many young power hitters, he will have his slumps. Some of them will likely be horrendous. How he handles adversity will tell me a great deal about him going forward. He is still a teenager, so that’s important to keep in mind. But as it appears now, he’s going to be an exciting player to watch in the coming years.