AROUND THE FARM: MATHEWS
Inside the Chiefs’ “Around the Farm” takes a look this week at Outfielder Aaron Mathews who is in his first season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
Mathews saw a 16-game hit streak come to an end on Sunday going 0-4 vs. Portland. The 16-game streak tied Mathews with Adam Lind and Maikel Jova for the longest streak in franchise history. During the streak the 5’10″ right-handed hitter hit .403 (27-67) and overall for the month of June he is hitting .355 (22-62) with 2 HR and 9 RBI.
Mathews’ hot June has vaulted him into the top of the Eastern League batting race where he currently finds himself second with a .335 overall average on the season trailing just Jesus Merchan of Reading. The 25-year old Oregon resident also ranks 5th in the Eastern League with a .522 Slugging Percentage.
After a rough Sunday at the plate Mathews must have enjoyed seeing his Alma-matter, the Oregon State Beavers, capture their second straight NCAA Baseball Championship.
Mathews was drafted by the Jays in the 19th round of the 2004 draft. While other members of the ’04 draft class Curtis Thigpen, Adam Lind, Jesse Litsch and Casey Janssen have sky-rocketed their way through the system to Toronto, Mathews is among a group of a solid class (David Purcey, Ryan Klosterman, Kyle Yates, Patton, Chip Cannon, Mike MacDonald) who are working their way through the system with hopes of finding a spot with the Jays in the future.
Entering 2007 Mathews’ home run numbers weren’t eye popping, just one HR for every 73 at-bats , but he has improved his power stroke this year hitting 5 HR in his first 203 at-bats (one HR per 41 at-bats). And despite lacking the long ball he lead his team in triples in each of his first three professional seasons (2004-06) and had career 23 doubles in 2006.
The Blue Jays went the free agent route to fill the outfield in Syracuse for 2007(Mottola, Vento, Duncan, Lydon) but you can be sure that Toronto is taking notice of Mathews solid performance in Double-A so far this season and a trip to Syracuse is in Mathews’ future.