PCL notes: Maton making most of opportunity

Padres prospect called to Majors after dominating in El Paso

Phil Maton went 13-for-13 in save opportunities for the Chihuahuas before his promotion to the Padres on Sunday. (Jason Wise/MLB.com)

By Chris Jackson / Special to MiLB.com | June 13, 2017 10:00 AM ET

Many of the players taken in the 2015 Draft are probably happy to just be playing at the Class A Advanced level by now.

Phil Maton, on the other hand, has already shined long enough at Triple-A last year and this year to earn himself a promotion to the big leagues.

The San Diego Padres called up their No. 16 prospect on Sunday, less than two years after he was taken in the 20th round out of Louisiana Tech. Prior to his promotion, the right-handed reliever was still basking in the glow of being with the El Paso Chihuahuas, for whom he was a perfect 13-for-13 in save opportunities.

"It's been a completely crazy ride," Maton said. "I've had a lot of things fall my way. I started by getting hurt in '16, so I was out the first month. A lot of pieces fell my way. I felt like I was throwing the ball well that year. A lot of things worked out for me. I was just very fortunate."

Maton capped his 2016 season with a promotion to El Paso for five games in August and September. Then, of course, the Chihuahuas advanced to the playoffs and ended up winning the Pacific Coast League championship.

"Yeah, I got to experience that -- it was baseball at its best," Maton said. "It was so much fun just being around this awesome group of guys. I was very fortunate to be a part of that."

The experience with the fans was something Maton said he would never forget.

"It's crazy -- El Paso is a sneaky baseball town," Maton said. "They really love their baseball. The atmosphere is incredible."

Maton posted a 1.74 ERA and racked up 11 saves across three levels in 2016. He struck out 78 batters in 51 2/3 innings. This season, he had a 2.84 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings.

"I was fortunate enough to face Triple-A hitters last year at the end of the season, so I got a little taste of it," Maton said. "These guys are very good hitters. They make great adjustments. I'm relying more on my offspeed stuff this year, as opposed to just heaters. Really, I'm just trying to improve every day."

Armed with a fastball that sits between 93-96 mph, plus a mid-80s cutter and a curve, Maton has developed into quite the weapon out of the bullpen. He credits pregame preparation with much of his success.

"You've got to do your homework, the guys [in Triple-A] are good -- a lot of them have been in the big leagues," Maton said. "You have to bring your 'A' game every night."

Video: Maton finishes El Paso shutout

Maton also learned how to shrug off the hitter-friendly ballparks of the PCL.

"You can't worry about that -- they're going to get their home runs. That's just how this league is," he said. "If you worry about that too much, that's when it really doesn't start working out for you."

Maton said he wasn't thinking about a call-up at the end of last week when he was playing the Isotopes in Albuquerque.

"You can't think about that," he said. "If you get swallowed up thinking about all that kind of stuff, you're just going to have an awful season. You just have to worry about the next outing, putting up another zero."

As it all turned out, that philosophy did just what Maton, and the Padres, needed it to do.

In brief

Waiting and waiting: New York Mets fans have to be wondering what more top prospect Amed Rosario can do at Las Vegas to earn a callup. The shortstop has hit .337/.379/.494 with six home runs and 43 RBIs and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Reign over Rainiers: Right-hander Andrew Moore has looked sharp since joining Tacoma in May. The Mariners' No. 4 prospect is 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA in seven starts.

Say hey, Willie: The Dodgers have started No. 4 prospect Willie Calhoun in left field for a couple games recently, allowing him to show some versatility. Primarily a second baseman, Calhoun's bat has done most of the talking so far to the tune of a .292/.339/.548 line with 13 home runs and 31 RBIs.

Chris Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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