Phillies: There’s a lot to like about prospect Nick Maton

Before the 2021 season, Philadelphia Phillies infielder prospect Nick Maton has largely gone “under the radar.”

The 24-year-old was selected in the seventh round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Lincoln Land Community College in Illinois and is ranked 19th on the most recent top 30 Phillies prospects — trailing fellow infielders Bryson Stott, SS; Luis Garcia, SS; Casey Martin, SS; Kendall Simmons, 2B/SS/3B; and Jamari Baylor, SS.

Phillies prospect Nick Maton is putting up great numbers early on.

Maton never played above the Double- A level prior to his big-league debut last Monday. Playing in 114 combined games between the Clearwater Threshers and Reading Fightin Phils in 2019, he slashed .266/.349/.376 with 27 extra-base hits and 51 RBI spanning 456 plate appearnaces.

At that point, Scott Kingery was long believed to be the next-best homegrown Phillies infielder. But, the “tides have changed” — especially considering Kingery started the season at the alternate training site in Lehigh Valley.

So far through four games, Maton appears to have jumped Kingery on the “long-term depth chart.” Logging 16 at-bats, Maton is slashing .438/.438/.563 with five singles, two doubles, one RBI, and just five strikeouts. He has logged multiple-hit games in each of the last two contests, including on Wednesday in which he slugged three singles to help the Phillies to a 6-5 win over their former manager Gabe Kapler and the San Francisco Giants.

According to Sportradar, Maton is tied for logging the fourth-most hits (7) for a Phillies rookie across the first four games of their respective careers, since 1906 — trailing only Richie Ashburn (9, 1948), Art Mahan (9, 1940), and Joe Ward (8, 1906). Five other Phillies have similarly collected seven hits as Maton in this span.

But, there is plenty more to like about Maton other than his great on-the-field statistics — including a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage through 21 combined chances at second base and shortstop. As the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Breen reports, Maton once played three weeks at Double-A with a broken finger. He did not tell anyone, however, as he felt that he just wanted to play. Because of that, Larry Bowa says the rookie has a mindset like Chase Utley.

Drawing comparisons to Utley, as well as putting up great numbers all-around early on, surely has all signs pointing in the right direction for Maton. Hopefully, he can keep it up.