On Thursday, the annual Major League Baseball Rule 5 draft will take place, marking the end of baseball’s Winter Meetings in Orlando. Although the Cubs forfeit their first-round Rule 5 pick to settle a grievance with the Phillies, the team could still make headlines tomorrow.
Reliever Marcos Mateo of the Cubs is drawing a high-level of interest from several organizations. According to J.J. Cooper of Baseball America, the right-hander’s recent emergence during winter ball has sparked the attention of teams across the league.
Cubs righthanded reliever Marcos Mateo is emerging as maybe the most fascinating name because of what he’s doing in the Dominican League this offseason. Mateo, who ranked three different times among the Cubs’ top 30 prospects, pitched reasonably well in the big leagues with Chicago in 2011. He then missed all of 2012 and a significant part of 2013 recovering from an elbow injury.
Cooper goes on to describe Mateo’s dominant winter down in the Dominican Republic.
Mateo, now 29, has been absolutely electric in the Dominican Republic, featuring a high-90s fastball and a filthy slider that sits in the upper 80s. He’s got results to back up the stuff, having gone 3-0, 0.98 for Estrellas de Oriente, with 22 strikeouts, seven walks and 11 hits allowed in 19 innings. In his last six appearances as teams finalize their Rule 5 pref lists, Mateo has struck out 12, walked none, allowed five hits and no runs in six innings over six appearances.
Cooper also named several other Chicago Cubs’ minor leaguers that are eligible for tomorrow’s draft as some of the top talent around, including: shortstop Marco Hernandez, outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha and right-handers Matt Loosen and Marcus Hatley.