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Zebby Matthews SP Twins


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Zebby Matthews 23/SP/MIN/AA

Height/weight: 6'5"/225

Bats/throws: R/R

Fantrax roster%: 5%

PLive Prospect ranking (Feb' 24): Unranked

PLive Tools ('24): Fastball: 45, Cutter: 50, Slider: 45, Changeup: 40, Command: 70

PLive- (‘24): 86 (4.55 ERA, 17% K%, 6.4% BB%, 41.2% GB%)

2023 stats (A/A+): 105 ⅓ IP, 3.84 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 33% K%/3.5% BB%

2024 stats (A+/AA): 29 ⅓ IP, 1.23 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 34.6% K%/0% BB%

Why to pick up: Zebby Matthews has had some of the best control in the minors, if not all of professional baseball, since he was drafted. He walked just 15 batters in just over 100 innings in 2023, and his stuff has reportedly ticked up without sacrificing his incredible control. According to an April 25th article from Baseball America's Ben Badler, Matthews' fastball velocity has stepped up a full two mph (and added an inch of IVB), and he is now sitting 94-97 and touching 98. Thanks in part to this increase in velocity, Matthews carried a 98th percentile K-BB% and a 91st percentile o-swing percentage during his time in A+ this season. Adding some velo to his control-over-stuff profile could go a long way in seeing his prospect stock rise now that he's been promoted to Double-A. Speaking of the promotion, Matthews' AA debut was spectacular as he went 6 ⅔ IP, giving up three hits, no runs, and striking out nine while continuing his walkless streak to start the season.

Why to think twice: Matthews turns 24 later this month, so he really should have been dominating A+ anyway. His performance in AA is going to be much more telling. Though his control helps his stuff play up, he may still lack a true plus secondary pitch. While still above average, his 64th percentile CSW% and 65th percentile swstr% indicate a need for his secondary stuff to follow suit and improve as his fastball did.

Final thoughts: How Zebby has flown under my radar for so long is beyond me. I typically love this type of pitcher, and I have completely fallen for now that I've dug deeper into him. An arm with this kind of control doesn't come around often, and it is even rarer when that type of arm sees a velocity bump like Matthews in 2024. I'm not one to be big on player comps, and I certainly don't intend for this to be taken as a comp…but this bump in velocity, for a pitcher with this type of control, reminds me of George Kirby's velocity bump while he was in the minor leagues. This situation is very different as Kirby was a first-round pick in 2019, and Matthews was an 8th-round pick three years later, but this development excites me. It is worth noting that, while the grades listed above were given pre-season before the reported velocity bump, there are some differing opinions regarding his secondary stuff - with some saying that he has five big-league caliber pitches and others wondering if the secondaries are even average offerings. I have Matthews ranked just outside my top 250 right now (262 overall), so that's the bar I'm setting for leagues where he should be rostered. This is still a control-over-stuff profile, but his ranking could quickly rise even higher if we see an improvement in his secondary stuff, and he continues to dominate now that he has been promoted to a more age-appropriate level.

Where to pick up: Leagues with 200+ prospects owned

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Great tout. I love a pitcher with plus, plus command like this. Based on 20 minutes of researching him and watching videos, he’s a top 50 prospect for me.

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31 minutes ago, DanClay said:

Zebby? That's a name? What kind of name is Zebby? Maybe I'll add him just so I can say I've got a Zebby on my team.

Daniel Zebulon Matthews, and goes by Zebby.

This is a guy who's ceiling could be better than anyone was giving him credit for...FA is clearly up and killer command. Sort of a kitchen sink approach with secondaries but if one--or hopefully more continue to develop, then we are cooking. I've seen talk that the cutter is shoving this season.

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5 minutes ago, St. Steven said:

Daniel Zebulon Matthews, and goes by Zebby.

This is a guy who's ceiling could be better than anyone was giving him credit for...FA is clearly up and killer command. Sort of a kitchen sink approach with secondaries but if one--or hopefully more continue to develop, then we are cooking. I've seen talk that the cutter is shoving this season.

Gotcha, so a possibility for the minor league stash part of your rankings?

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2 minutes ago, DanClay said:

Gotcha, so a possibility for the minor league stash part of your rankings?

On the periphery, probably still fairly far out though.

He's 24, so it's nice that they have him at a more age appropriate level now. But he just got to AA, so he needs more time in the upper levels to get secondaries developed.

He's good watch material, but I am not adding quite yet--though I did see someone grab him in one of my leagues last night.

Varland has been better in AAA and Festa is the next guy up imo...still have Raya in AA, who is much younger but also has a lot more AA experience and a high ceiling.

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Pretty good article on Zebby here:

https://x.com/twinsdaily/status/1789815321358147852?s=46&t=vsz2NmCJFnXkHNWNR0lVWQ
 

If you read it, watch the last strikeout (25 second mark) in the embedded video from 4/26. Poor guy probably has a family!

 I don’t play dynasty, but if I did I’d aggressively go after this guy. He’s going to be a very solid major league pitcher by the end of this year. He’s got the Meh seal of approval.

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7 hours ago, DanClay said:

Zebby? That's a name? What kind of name is Zebby? Maybe I'll add him just so I can say I've got a Zebby on my team.

I dunno, but Ebby Calvin Laloosh was pretty good...  Maybe Zebby calvin just needs some tantric stuff to really show out....

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11 hours ago, Rook12 said:

I dunno, but Ebby Calvin Laloosh was pretty good...  Maybe Zebby calvin just needs some tantric stuff to really show out....

How about Richard Fitts or Antonio Bastardo? Two of my favorites, lol.

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Here is the latest blurb from Prospects Live..I will post the scouting report for you guys when it comes out.

Zebby Matthews, RHP MIN (Double-A) 5 IP, 3 H, ER, 6 K

“The next Christian Scott.” I say! I have a “scouting report” on Matthews coming out soon and I’m super impressed. The walkless streak continues! If he is out there in your league, go scoop him up. Guys with this kind of command don’t grow on trees. I don’t know where they grow, but you should be harvesting them. He only had five swinging strikes in this game. I’m intrigued to watch this start and compare it to his first Double-A start. He now has 43 strikeouts to 0 walks. His fastball command is elite and his secondaries play well off of them.

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45 minutes ago, St. Steven said:

BREAKING: He walked a guy...and struck a batter TOO

2nd AA start last night; 6IP 3H 1ER 1BB 8K

Timeline for a possible call up? Need to know when to stash, if he’s worth it. 

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A new scouting report from the Twins beat guy via The Athletic from today:

"One of the Twins’ defining draft strategies is using mid-round selections on college starters from small schools and boosting their fastball velocity with mechanical tweaks to turn them into legit prospects. Zebby Matthews was a soft-tossing control artist when the Twins picked him in the eighth round out of Western Carolina in 2022, and now he’s topping out at 97 mph.

What’s especially impressive about Matthews’ vastly improved raw stuff is that he’s retained his pinpoint control, leading to video game-like numbers. Bumped from High-A Cedar Rapids to Double-A Wichita two weeks ago, he has a 1.34 ERA and 51-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 40 1/3 total innings this season. Yes, you read that right: 51 strikeouts and one walk.

Matthews regularly works in the mid-90s with his fastball, and the 6-foot-5 right-hander can also attack hitters with a low-90s cutter, a swing-and-miss slider and a solid changeup. He’s been without question the breakout Twins prospect of the first seven weeks, rapidly raising his profile from back-end rotation filler to potential No. 3 or even No. 2 starter."

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On 5/24/2024 at 2:49 PM, St. Steven said:

A new scouting report from the Twins beat guy via The Athletic from today:

"One of the Twins’ defining draft strategies is using mid-round selections on college starters from small schools and boosting their fastball velocity with mechanical tweaks to turn them into legit prospects. Zebby Matthews was a soft-tossing control artist when the Twins picked him in the eighth round out of Western Carolina in 2022, and now he’s topping out at 97 mph.

What’s especially impressive about Matthews’ vastly improved raw stuff is that he’s retained his pinpoint control, leading to video game-like numbers. Bumped from High-A Cedar Rapids to Double-A Wichita two weeks ago, he has a 1.34 ERA and 51-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 40 1/3 total innings this season. Yes, you read that right: 51 strikeouts and one walk.

Matthews regularly works in the mid-90s with his fastball, and the 6-foot-5 right-hander can also attack hitters with a low-90s cutter, a swing-and-miss slider and a solid changeup. He’s been without question the breakout Twins prospect of the first seven weeks, rapidly raising his profile from back-end rotation filler to potential No. 3 or even No. 2 starter."

Timeline for a possible call up? Need to know when to stash, if he’s worth it.

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7 hours ago, The Real Deal said:

Timeline for a possible call up? Need to know when to stash, if he’s worth it.

I know folks keep asking, but it's really hard to say? This is an older (relatively) prospect on the rise--he just turned 24.

But he also has only 3 starts above A ball...

I think his insanely advanced command portends to a fast rise to the bigs, but I would think he's more of an early 2025 guy? Injuries to any of their 'big 3' could expedite his timeline. Festa is the next guy up and he's throwing very well in AAA. Varland has been better since getting shipped down. SWR and Paddack are barely average types holding down the back of the rotation, but they are perfectly serviceable and not likely to be booted until things really go sideways.

Raya is a more highly ranked prospect in AA, but they have really babied his arm. Also keep an eye on Andrew Morris--4th RD pick from 2022. He moved up to AA right after Zebby and has also seen a major uptick in stuff. I grabbed him in a super deep league last week.

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I thought Festa might get the call sooner but seems like we have to wait rather than guess (depending on roster options for reserves and minor leaguers in non-dynasty).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Minor League full-season pitching leaders:

ERA: Spencer Giesting, 0.94
WHIP: Zebby Matthews, 0.73
AVG: Owen Murphy, .129
IP: Kenny Rosenberg, 67 2/3
K: Matt Wilkinson, 87
K%: Wilkinson, 46.5
BB%: Matthews, 1.2
K-BB%: Wilkinson, 41.2
FIP: Matthews, 1.62
SV: Tony Santillan, 11

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Zebby Matthews, RHP MIN (Double-A) 7 IP, 3 H, 8 K

Zebby is one of my favorite pitchers in Double-A because his skill set is unique. He’s only given up five extra-base hits. When he’s on, he has pinpoint control, especially of the fastball. While a lot of pitchers seem to be attacking hitters with elevated fastballs, Zebby can put it on the outside corner, at the knees. His velocity seems to have ticked up from last year and I think his secondaries have improved. In the couple games I’ve watched of him, I’ve seen him use the cutter to get the ground balls he needs, the gyro curve to get the swing and miss, while the elite fastball control sets everything up. Upside of an ace. Floor of a solid back end starter

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  • 3 weeks later...

Zebby Matthews, RHP MIN (Double-A) 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 6 K

Not only does Zebby not allow walks, but he’s only allowed three stolen bases this year and three homers. A ridiculous 2.1% BB%.

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