Film Recap: Jonathan Stiever, Julio Pablo Martinez and More

Written by: Trevor Hooth (@HoothTrevor)

Follow us on Twitter! @Prospects365

Welcome back to Film Study Friday! This is a combined recap from last week and this week, so we have plenty of prospects to get through, including a draft prospect and some other interesting players. This is another fun group.

The premise of Film Study Friday is to get quick looks and opinions on prospects, with a deeper dive in this recap. I’m hoping to help followers and readers by getting my eyes on players, but also to just talk with the Twitterverse about what they see and think as well. If you want to get involved, I’ll tweet out the call for guys to watch on Wednesdays from my account, @HoothTrevor, or you can find it shared from the P365 handle.

We start among the draft ranks with Florida commit Coby Mayo. This might honestly have been my favorite player of the group.

Mayo has a really nice frame, listed on his Perfect Game profile at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds. Everything about his swing is quick, from his trigger mechanism to his hands that creates some nice raw power. He starts with a lot of weight over his back leg, but recent reports suggest he’s become more balanced. The scouts also believe he can stick at third base thanks to a plus arm.

I love this swing. It’s not too fluid, but it’s quick and there’s a lot of potential there. I think there’s a lot to like, especially if he can tap into his raw power. The biggest question for him will be if he can be swayed away from Florida. Either way, I think Mayo is solid.

For as much as I like Mayo, Jonathan Stiever is just as exciting of a prospect. The pitcher has been shooting up prospect ranks.

I think Stiever throws downhill well and utilizes a solid breaking ball. That pitch pairs with his mid-90’s fastball to create whiffs. The curveball has good vertical movement, and he also has a reported slider. Continuing to develop the breaking ball duo will help him reach his ceiling, which is listed as high as an SP2. 

His delivery is pretty simple, but he does fall off towards the first base side. That said, he struck out just over nine batters per nine innings and walked under two batters per nine last season. His performance was great. A quick Google search of him doesn’t disappoint either. In a feature on, the article reports Stiever has been working on cleaning up his mechanics, and he talks about how he’s open to more. There’s quite a bit to like here.

Up next is a player who accrued his first 61 MLB plate appearances last season. Let’s talk about Sheldon Neuse.

For me, the best part of Neuse is that not only can he use the whole field, he does so very equally. That works on the defensive side of the ball too. He can play anywhere, which is good, considering Matt Chapman is in his way at third base for the foreseeable future. While there’s a lot to like about Neuse, he does have trouble recognizing pitches at times. In the small sample size at the MLB level, he struck out in over 30 percent of his plate appearances. Based on his MiLB numbers, going down on strikes will likely continue to be a part of Neuse’s game moving forward.

The 25-year-old’s spray chart practically mirrors itself. It’s impressive that he can remain the same hitter regardless of what field he hits to. Many prospectors talk about how he is a sneaky athlete, which is obviously a good thing. If Neuse can find a way to suppress the swing-and-miss a bit, he might find his way to every day playing time in Oakland. 

Julio Pablo Martinez has not done what people thought he would to this point in his stateside career.

He was advertised as a power/speed combination that fans could drool over. Martinez has shown the speed, stealing a combined 32 bases in 2019. He also took a step forward in the power department, hitting 15 homers between Low-A and High-A as a 23-year-old. There are some really great signs that his trajectory is looking up. To be honest, his numbers have never been bad, just underwhelming based on how much he signed for. 

Despite not being the biggest guy in the world, he is able to create some raw power because of a quick bat. His strikeout numbers are still very high, and that will be a huge detractor from tapping into the raw power. The good news is that he is taking strides according to some prospectors, and hopefully that continues so we can see what Martinez might become.

How about a possible two-way prospect? Our next player is Will Matthiessen.

Matthiessen was a two-way player at Stanford, and most of the video I could find was of him on the mound. However, he didn’t pitch in his draft year, and I’m not sure how the Pirates plan to utilize the right-hander moving forward. As a hitter, he’s got natural power behind his 6-foot-7 frame. He also does a good job getting his bat through the zone.

The numbers are—small sample size and all—essentially what I figured they would be. He struck out 25 percent of the time, but he also walked at a 10 percent clip. He hit .220 with a 99 wRC+. Since there’s no indication of him getting on the mound, it appears hitting is what he’ll primarily lean on as a professional. There’s certainly power potential, but he’s got a long way to go for a post-draft college bat. 

Next was Brandon Lewis, and he scares me a bit more. 

Lewis has a long swing, but he is still able to hit well. The natural hazard of that is swing and miss, which he certainly possesses. Despite the strikeout concerns, I actually find myself more concerned with one of the infielder’s swing mechanic nuances. As a timing mechanism, Lewis actually lifts his back foot off the ground slightly as he begins his swing. It’s certainly abnormal, and I worry pitchers will find ways to keep the infielder off-schedule at the plate. 

I don’t love Lewis as a whole, but there are things about his profile worth liking. He posted a 190 wRC+ in 32 games at Ogden (Advanced Rookie Ball). His bat is good enough to carry him through the minors, and that was the Dodgers’ focus when they drafted him. My biggest complaint is a mechanical flaw that should be easily fixable within the Dodgers Developmental Machine, so I’ll have my eye on Lewis moving forward.

We’ll wrap things up this week with Makhi Backstrom


This is a big teenager who creates solid power with his swing. Everything in his swing is simple; when you pair it with his 6-foot-5 frame, Backstrom generates a lot pop. In his draft year, he struck out nearly 33 percent of the time. He’s still young (he was actually young for his class), so hopefully that number will improve as he becomes accustomed to professional pitching. He also walked at a 14.6 percent clip, so I’m curious as to how much passivity is in the approach. 

From a swing standpoint, I love Backstrom. He’s still pretty raw, so his development will be a bit of a slow burn. That’s not a terrible thing considering he’s a first baseman in the Braves system. Since time isn’t of the essence, the organization can take their time in maximizing Backstrom’s skills and lofty ceiling. 

That’s it this week, thanks for all the names! Keep an eye out so you can get your request in next time!

Follow P365 contributor Trevor Hooth on Twitter! @HoothTrevor

Follow us on Twitter! @Prospects365

Featured image courtesy of photographer Scott Kinser

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