Is Mark Mathias really this good of a hitter? If so, chalk up the Texas Rangers’ only trade deadline move this year as another masterclass led by GM Chris Young.
Mathias, 28, was the less-regarded player of the two that would move to Arlington as the Rangers sent veteran reliever Matt Bush to the Milwaukee Brewers in a deadline trade back in early August. It now appears that Texas received two quality assets in that deal, especially as Mathias has blossomed with playing time as Ranger.
Since joining the boys in red, blue and white, Mark Mathias has done nothing but rake, posting a scorching .366 average and a 1.190 OPS with four home runs in 41 at-bats. That, as we might say, will play.
Mark Mathias has really blossomed for the Texas Rangers since coming over in the Matt Bush trade
The sample size is still rather miniscule, sure, but nonetheless productive. Mathias knocked two home runs, including a walk-off in Tuesday night’s 8-7 Rangers win over the Oakland Athletics as interim manager Tony Beasley had the confidence to put him in the two spot in the batting order, typically reserved for the best hitter in the lineup. And the 28-year-old was certainly that.
At minimum, Mathias has earned everyday playing time for the remainder of the 2022 season with the Texas Rangers. But he’s more than likely also earned a chance to compete for the 2023 roster with this impressive showing down the stretch. His right-handed bat complements the lefty swing of Nathaniel Lowe as a different look at either first base or DH. It’s always good to have options, even if Mathias is ultimately tracking towards becoming an asset off the bench, especially as the roster improves next year.
Mathias won’t be able to give you much with the glove, though he can play first base and the corner outfield spots. The way he’s hitting at the moment, however? The Rangers will find a spot for him. Any team would.
We’ve talked so much about Mark Mathias, but we haven’t forgotten about the other player Texas acquired for Bush, prospect left-hander Antoine Kelly Jr. He’s a promising pitcher in the minor leagues who currently ranks 14th among the Rangers’ top 30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.
On the flip side, Matt Bush has really struggled with the Brewers since landing there, getting hit around to a 4.86 ERA in 18 appearances. We feel for Bush, who was a great story of resiliency for the Rangers, but looking at the haul the team got for him, coupled with his struggles in Milwaukee… it’s hard not to love how this trade is working out for Texas.
Chris Young looks to have pulled off yet another trade heist as Rangers GM, with Mark Mathias becoming someone who can help this team now, and with the prospect Kelly on the way.