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Red Sox's No. 1 Pitching Prospect Bryan Mata To Join Team In Toronto

The right-hander will have a unique role Friday

The Boston Red Sox reportedly are bringing their top pitching prospect across the border this weekend to take on the Toronto Blue Jays along with three others.

"Ronaldo Hernandez will join the Red Sox taxi squad tomorrow," MassLive's Chris Cotillo tweeted Wednesday. "And three others will join the team to travel: Bryan Mata, Jarren Duran and Josh Winckowski."

Of the bunch, Mata is the most enticing. The right-hander is the No. 7 Red Sox prospect according to MLB Pipeline. After rookie starter Bryan Bello lost his prospect status by exceeding 50 innings pitched, Mata became the system's top arm.

There is no guarantee that Mata will be activated for the series, but he's certainly on the radar and could join the official roster should an injury or illness occur in the next few days. 

Mata returned from Tommy John surgery in June, but quickly reached 100 mph on the radar gun in extended spring training and ran it up to 99 mph in his first rehab outing

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The 23-year-old had not seen any game action since 2019 prior to his first outing of the season but came back without a hitch. 

Mata posted a 7-3 record with a 2.49 ERA, 105-to-46 strikeout-to-walk ratio and .201 batting average against in 83 innings across four levels spanning from Single-A Salem to Triple-A Worcester.

Mata's main issue is command, as he's walked three or more batters in four of his five starts. Ideally, the Red Sox would give Mata some more time to iron out the kinks before rushing him up to Boston, a mistake they made with Bello, as noted by Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez.

While it would be fun to see manager Alex Cora run out a top prospect in a lost season, the best thing for Mata might be to remain in the dugout while he prepares to control his electric arsenal that includes a blazing heater, slider, curveball and changeup. 

One thing is for sure, if Mata's number does get called, he'll have no problem racking up strikeouts.

More MLB: Former Power Hitter Dominating In Red Sox System As Hard-Throwing Reliever