Image: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
2021 season age: 28
Contract: Arb 1
Height: 6’3; Weight: 220
2020 stats: 23G (21.2IP) 32K/6BB, 4.57 ERA/2.22FIP, 4HLD
2020 in review: Maton quickly earned a setup role for Cleveland in 2020 after they picked him up from the Padres in 2019 for international signing money. He had a 2.92 ERA in 2019 in 12.1IP with 13K/6BB and in 2020, he did have an inflated ERA but also had 32 strikeouts in 21.1 innings with just six walks. He allowed 11 earned runs, five of which came in two outings.
On the mound: Maton is a three-pitch reliever, relying heavily on his fastball (46.4% usage rate) though he doesn’t throw hard (93.5) because it has a high spin rate (2458 – 97th percentile). It allowed a .295 average but just a .341 SLG. He also uses a cutter at a 31.7% usage rate at 85 mph. It allowed a .227 average and .364 SLG. He went to his curveball 20% of the time and got a.250 average against it. It also has a high spin (2943) rate and active spin. Everything Maton throws spins at a high rate.
Beyond the stats: Part of what plagued Maton in 2020 was a .415 BABIP though he was in the 99th percentile in exit velocity allowed (82.7 average exit velocity). He only allowed a barrel rate of 1.9% and his walk rate was 6.3%. He kept the ball on the ground at a 44% rate as well. All signs point to Maton being unlucky in his ERA in 2019.
2021 role: Maton should have a solidified role in the back of Cleveland’s bullpen. It doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibilities that he’s working in high-leverage spots from the seventh inning on and possibly be in line for some saves. Either way, Cleveland will be turning to him with the lead in the late innings.
Fantasy impact: Despite his unsightly ERA last year, Maton was a solid reliever. He struck out batters at a high clip and pitched with the lead often. He should be in line for holds, and maybe some saves depending on how things shake out in camp with the closer role. If your league counts holds or saves+holds, you could find Maton useful late in the draft to rack up good rate stats, strikeouts as long as he’s not burned by the BABIP monster again. But don’t spend big or early on him.