A's Top Prospect Ranking: Why Jorge Mateo Comes in at No. 5 Overall

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine the top 10 prospects in the A's organization. For each player, we will provide a scouting report and a realistic timetable for reaching the major leagues, as well as what he needs to do to stay there.

No. 5 - Jorge Mateo, SS/2B

Mateo had a breakout season at Triple-A Las Vegas, slashing .289/.330/.504 with 19 home runs, 29 doubles, and 78 RBI in 119 games. The 24-year-old also showcased his elite speed with 14 triples and 24 stolen bases.

Mateo originally signed with the Yankees in 2012 as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic. He came to the A's in 2017, along with Dustin Fowler and James Kaprielian, in exchange for Sonny Gray.

Now back to that elite speed -- MLB Pipeline gives Mateo a perfect 80 grade for his running ability. Mateo also boasts a plus arm and fielding ability at shortstop, though he has experience playing second base and even center field as well. That could allow him to become a valuable utility player if a starting middle infield job doesn't work out.

With the A's uncertain situation at second base, Mateo should have an opportunity to compete for the starting job in 2020. This year's starter Jurickson Profar struggled for most of the season and is a realistic non-tender option.

That would leave Mateo, Franklin Barreto, and Sheldon Neuse battling for playing time next season. Of course, the shortstop position could also open up in the future if the A's don't sign Marcus Semien to an extension -- the 29-year-old is set to become a free agent after the 2020 season.

[RELATED: A's No. 6 prospect -- Robert Puason]

Mateo must continue to improve his approach at the plate, ideally becoming a more patient hitter. He struck out 145 times this season, compared to just 29 walks. Those numbers won't allow him to fully utilize his blinding speed, which along with his defense should be his ticket to the big leagues.

At the very least, Mateo's running ability and defensive versatility will allow him to contribute to the A's in some role next year. Whether he can earn consistent playing time remains to be seen.

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