Hype alert! Mets prospect Steven Matz compared to Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner


This story from John Harper of the Daily News about Mets pitching prospect Steven Matz is pretty good. It talks about his recovery from Tommy John surgery, some odd advice from Dr. James Andrews that proved to be a breakthrough for Matz and gives a good introduction of Matz to people who don’t know the guy very well.

But, for better or for worse, fans tend to gravitate toward comps. Is this guy as good as that other guy? Does he pitch more like Shalbotnik or more like Smedley? GIVE ME A NAME! This despite the fact that your better scouts and personnel people will tell you that comps obscure more than they reveal and that providing them creates unrealistic expectations.

So, when you see the comps tossed out about Matz, yeah, you know it may be tough for him to meet expectations, even if he’s excellent:

Certainly there is something about Matz that inspires visions of greatness. Last year Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen compared him to another lefty, one Clayton Kershaw, raving about how explosively the ball comes out of his hand.

And now Frank Viola, the Mets’ Triple-A pitching coach whom Matz credits for teaching him the mental part of pitching when they were both in Class-A Savannah in 2013, invokes the name of the lefty who all but singlehandedly won the World Series for the Giants last season. Yep, Madison Bumgarner.

Worth remembering at this point that Matz turns 24 in May. When Clayton Kershaw was 24 he already had a Cy Young Award, a pitcher’s triple crown and 716 major league innings under his belt. Madison Bumgarner was 24 for most of last season. A season in which he collected his third World Series ring and crossed the 1,000 innings pitched mark if you include the postseason.

Obviously Dan Warthan and Frank Viola know that and are not saying that Matz is the equal of two of the best pitchers in baseball. But, no matter what Matz does, there will now be people who say “hey, he was supposed to be our Clayton Kershaw!” or “he’s no Madison Bumgarner!” Which is a damn shame, but that’s how this kind of crap tends to go.

Report: Angels and Anthony Rendon agree on seven-year, $245 million contract


Another big free agent domino has fallen at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. Third baseman Anthony Rendon is signing with the Angels on seven-year, $245 million contract, per Jon Heyman.

Rendon, 29, was the top free agent position player. He’s coming off of a season in which he helped the Nationals win their first championship, batting .319/.412/.598 with a league-high 126 RBI and an NL-best 44 doubles along with 34 home runs and 117 runs scored in 646 plate appearances. Rendon also continued to play solid defense at third base. During the postseason, Rendon hit .328/.412/.590 with seven doubles, three homers, 15 RBI, and 11 runs scored in 75 trips to the plate.

The Angels badly needed to make a big free agent splash this offseason, and third base was as good a place as any to do it. Rendon will now slot easily into the middle of the Angels’ lineup along with Mike Trout. It remains to be seen if the Angels are done making moves, but they could use a corner outfielder and another starting pitcher.

Humorously, Rendon has said he’d like to retire by age 35, as Jesse Daugherty of the Washington Post alluded to on the Nationals Talk Podcast. This contract will take him through his age-36 season.