Mateo powers RockHounds into postseason

Athletics No. 4 prospect goes deep twice and drives in four runs

Jorge Mateo totaled 60 extra-base hits in 129 games across two levels in 2017. (Matthew Barnett/Midland RockHounds)

By Michael Leboff / | September 4, 2017 7:26 PM ET

Jorge Mateo saved his best game for the biggest moment in the Double-A RockHounds' season. 

Oakland's No. 4 prospect homered twice on a three-hit night and drove in four runs as Midland secured a postseason spot with a 9-3 win over Frisco in the regular-season finale Monday. 

Gameday box score

"It was a monster game from Jorge," Midland manager Fran Riordan said. "He came through when we needed him the most. If we lost this game, we go home, and if we win, we go to the playoffs. For him to show up in such a strong way in that type of moment was such a huge boost for our ballclub."

Video: Midland's Mateo goes deep

Mateo attempted to bunt with one strike in the third, but pushed the ball foul. It turned out to be a lucky mistake as he drove the next pitch from starter Collin Wiles (9-12) over the left-field wall.

"We were down, 1-0, in a must-win situation and he's battling and battling until he finally got a pitch that he gets up in the air and drives out of the ballpark. That was a huge momentum boost for us," Riordan said.

Video: Midland's Mateo hits second homer

Mateo's line single with two outs in the fifth scored Michael O'Neill and gave Midland a 7-1 lead. The native of the Dominican Republic wasted little time in his final at-bat of the regular season, jumping on the first pitch from Shane McCain for a two-run homer. 

"It was a pitch that he put a really good swing on and drove it out to left and over the fence again," Riordan said.

MiLB include

Over his last four games, Mateo batted .450 (9-for-20) with two homers, six RBIs, six runs and a stolen base. In 30 contests with Midland after being acquired from the Yankees on July 31 in a trade involving Major Leaguer Sonny Gray, the 22-year-old posted a .292/.333/.518 slash line with four homers, seven triples and five doubles. 

In 130 games with three teams across two levels, Mateo put up a .781 OPS with 12 homers, 18 triples, 30 doubles and 57 RBIs. He also finished with 52 steals to tie Biloxi's Johnny Davis for second in Minor League Baseball. 

"His ability to change the game with his talent is impressive," Midland's skipper said. "Obviously, his legs are a huge asset. When he gets on base, he changes pitchers' cadences and focus. He takes the focus off the hitter and puts it on him. He has power, he's a great defender so he's a guy with game-changing ability. The more he gets on base and the more he gets comfortable, he's going to be really successful."

Riordan acknowledged that the 6-foot, 190-pound infielder is a good bet to start 2018 at a higher level.

"I think a player with his ability needs to be challenged," he explained. "He's got enough talent to do well at any level, and I think he's going to show that he deserves the opportunity to move up in our organization."

Athletics No. 17 prospect Max Schrock recorded his third-straight multi-hit contest and scored twice for Midland. The 22-year-old second baseman finished the regular season with a .321 average in 106 games.

Michael Leboff is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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