The Threshers Nick Maton is on a hot streak. In his last ten games he is hitting .462. His home run Tuesday night was the hardest hit ball that I have seen hit all season. It went out of Spectrum Field to right before I could catch up to the ball as it went over the fence. Only a couple of fans standing on right field walking path could be seen turning and watching the ball go into the swamp-like retention pond behind the walking path fence. Watch HERE.
Watching Maton develop this season at Clearwater reminds me of Chase Utley. They both swing left handed and have a similar build. Though I never saw Chase play at Jack Russell Stadium for the Clearwater Phillies back in 2001, he was the same baseball age, 22, as Nick Maton is now.
Utley hit .257 with a .747 OPS back then. He also hit 16 home runs and had 59 RBIs in 122 games with the then Clearwater Phillies. With a little over a quarter of the FSL season in the books, Maton is hitting .316 with a .847 OPS. He has hit three homers and has 21 RBIs with the Threshers.
The major difference is that Utley played mostly as a second baseman in his career while this season Maton has started 24 games at shortstop, and three games at third and four games third. With the shift now prominently used in today’s game a middle infielder has to have minor league experience at all three of those infield positions.
So far, Nick Maton measures up well to Chase Utley’s numbers at the Florida State League level. We can only hope he does as well as Utley had done at the major league level.