The Cincinnati Reds have added to their infield depth by picking up Mark Mathias on a free agent deal. He signed a minor league deal after spending the past two seasons working his way around five different organizations. Mathias spent parts of 2022 in the big leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers, and parts of 2023 in the big leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. In 2023 he was also with the Seattle Mariners in Triple-A for a month before he was traded to the Giants.
Mark Mathias has hit .246/.317/.391 in 73 big league games. His .708 OPS works out to a 95 OPS+ (slightly below league average). The right-handed hitter could potentially be a super utility player. While much of his time in the big leagues has come on the infield – mostly at second base – he’s also played left, center, and right field in his big league career, too.
During the 2023 season in Triple-A, Mathias hit .292/.402/.411 with 30 walks and 50 strikeouts in 204 plate appearances between time spent in Indianapolis, Tacoma, and Sacramento. The only positions he didn’t play in the minor leagues last year were center and catcher.
Power has never really been a part of his game. His 12 home runs hit back in 2019 in Triple-A, when they were famously using a juiced baseball, is a career best and the only season in which he reached double-digits in homers. He doesn’t steal many bases, but when he has run he’s been successful at a high rate (83% success rate in 80 attempts). You can see his career stats here.
With the number of infielders in the big leagues with Cincinnati, Mathias’ ability to play in the outfield could eventually work in his favor to get back to the big leagues. If he were an infielder only, it may be a tough sell to get him onto the bench as the infield is already overcrowded and that’s before we even consider that Spencer Steer is actually an infielder who’s likely to play a lot of outfield.