Name: Matt Way
DOB: 1/25/87 (24 as of April 1, 2011)
Weight: 195 lbs
Drafted: 5th round, 2009 ($40,000 bonus)
Pre Draft Report: Matt Way attended Washington State after a fine athletic career at Sitka (AK) HS where he lettered in swimming and wrestling in addition to baseball. He worked primarily out of the bullpen during his first three seasons at Washington State, and was drafted in the 36th round of the ’08 draft by the Giants. Heading into that draft, Way was Baseball America’s 5th rated prospect in Washington (Trevor May was 1st). BA’s report at the time calls Way’s stuff solid-average, noting that he throws strikes using a sinking upper-80s fastball and a plus change that comes off like a screwball. It thought he had some room to add velocity and while his slider at the time didn’t play well for a starter, he’d shown the durability to relieve.
He returned for his senior season, and pitched quite well, striking out 124 in 107.1 innings against just 33 walks. Way moved up to 4th on BA’s list of Washington prospects (Kyrell Hudson was 2nd). In projecting him as a 6th round pick, its scouting report was similar to that from when he was a junior, with some added color on his slider, noting that due to his ¾ arm slot, the slider tended to be more sweeping than tilting.
Way signed in mid-June and was assigned to Williamsport.
Career Synopsis: Way began his career in Williamsport’s rotation and made eight starts there before being promoted to Lakewood. Covering 37.2 innings in those starts, Way compiled a 43/8 K/BB ratio and allowed just 28 hits. After getting moved up, he made six additional starts, and his success continued. With Lakewood, he had an identical 37.2 innings, with a 42/4 K/BB ratio and allowed just 32 hits. Across the two stops, he was especially effective against right handed hitters, holding them to a .197 average and just one home run over 234 at bats. He also made two starts for Lakewood in the postseason en route to the 2009 SAL title.
Heading into 2010, Way was ranked as the 28th best prospect in the system by Baseball America. He began the year in Lakewood’s rotation, and after a tough start, recovered to post rates of 8.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 8.3 H/9, and 0.5 HR/9 and twice winning the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week award before being promoted to Clearwater. After just two starts and six innings, Way suffered some back inflammation that ended his second pro season prematurely.
Scouting Report: Below is an assessment of Way’s raw tools, rated on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale. The grades are my estimation based on what I’ve read and those I’ve talked to. The second number is a future projection, the first number is the current assessment
Summary: Way is in the 87-90 range, touching 91 at times and has lived on his command and control, which both rate as average. He creates some deception in his delivery which helps his fastball play up a tick. His changeup rates as slightly above average, while his breaking ball is below average. He had some injury worries in 2010, which brings his mechanics into question as well for the long haul, though I don’t see anything overly troubling there.
Upside: Way has pitched well at every stop in his career thus far, although he has typically been old at each of those stops. His fastball gets to 90-91 and he has a very effective changeup. At this point, he still hasn’t developed much of a slider, which may limit his ability to pitch effectively from the bullpen. 2011 will likely be a make or break season for Way. He should pitch most of the season at Reading, where a good season would establish him as a #5 starter prospect, but time is not on his side.
Way has a very long arm action, and in the side angle view, you can see him drop his arm/hands a touch, though his delivery isn’t all that bad. He remains tall in his delivery and creates average extension to the plate. He comes from a high arm slot, which would allow him to better stay on top of his breaking ball, but it has not developed yet.
Profile Updated: 5 February 2011