Jeff Mathis
Jeff Mathis
35-Year-Old CatcherC
Texas Rangers
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Mathis' ability behind the plate will keep him employed at the big-league level for the 15th straight season and presumably into a 16th as well, as he signed a two-year deal with the Rangers this offseason. He should help develop some young pitchers, but that will likely be the extent of his value in Texas, as the only time his wRC+ has finished above 68 was when he went 1-for-3 back in 2005. His mark in that stat last season was 47, earned on the back of a .200/.272/.272 line in 218 plate appearances for the Diamondbacks. He figures to start multiple times per week for the Rangers, but Mathis' performance with the bat has been so consistently poor that he's well off the radar in standard leagues. If your league has found a way to give credit for pitch framing, Mathis has value, as he's a star in that regard. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a two-year, $6.25 million contract with the Rangers in November of 2018.
Likely to play often
CTexas Rangers
February 15, 2019
The Rangers want Mathis to start more than half of their games behind the plate, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports.
That's a pretty big ask of a catcher that turns 36 during the first week of the season. Mathis' most starts as a catcher occurred in 2008 when he made 90. Since then, his career path has been as a dependable backup. If Mathis can't hold up, then the Rangers will be asking a lot from Isiah Kiner-Falefa, an infielder turned catcher.
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Batting Stats
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .690 173 18 2 12 1 .238 .326 .364
Since 2016vs Right .530 380 22 3 34 0 .205 .249 .281
2018vs Left .615 79 7 0 5 0 .209 .316 .299
2018vs Right .504 139 8 1 15 0 .195 .246 .258
2017vs Left .677 54 6 1 2 1 .213 .315 .362
2017vs Right .573 149 7 1 9 0 .216 .264 .309
2016vs Left .845 40 5 1 5 0 .324 .359 .486
2016vs Right .498 92 7 1 10 0 .202 .228 .270
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
Since 2016Home .624 257 19 3 18 1 .229 .285 .339
Since 2016Away .539 296 21 2 28 0 .203 .262 .277
2018Home .538 104 6 1 7 0 .194 .269 .269
2018Away .549 114 9 0 13 0 .206 .274 .275
2017Home .749 101 8 2 8 1 .253 .320 .429
2017Away .456 102 5 0 3 0 .179 .235 .221
2016Home .558 52 5 0 3 0 .250 .250 .308
2016Away .630 80 7 2 12 0 .230 .278 .351
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Stat Review
How does Jeff Mathis compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
The D-backs signed Mathis last offseason to bolster their pitching staff with his ability as a defender and pitch-framer behind the plate. He eclipsed 200 plate appearances for the first time since 2013, but the value came mostly in the form of helping out the pitchers that he worked with. That playing time total may have checked in closer to 250 plate appearances if Mathis hadn't suffered a hand injury that put him on the DL for more than a month in late August. As has been the case throughout his career, Mathis didn't offer much as a hitter, and there is no reason to think that will change in his age-35 season. Nevertheless, he'll likely reprise his role starting once or twice per week, perhaps working as the personal catcher to Zack Greinke again, while serving the D-backs as a backup again despite the departure of Chris Iannetta via free agency.
Mathis has been a career backup catcher, known for his defense expertise. The 33-year-old hasn't appeared in more than 100 games in his career, and his career batting average is sitting at .197, but his defensive consistency has earned him a spot on an MLB roster for each of the 12 previous seasons. Mathis played in 41 games in 2016, starting 36 of those, slashing .238/.267/.333 in 132 plate appearances over that span. The defensive stalwart is a free agent this offseason and has attracted interest from teams as a backup catcher but is yet to sign. The Diamondbacks signed him over the offseason, but despite the change of scenery, Mathis has limited value as his best case scenario is maintaining his role as backup catcher.
Mathis landed on the DL with a fractured finger very early in the 2015 season, and when he returned he received limited time; this came as no surprise, because he was expected to be the Marlins' backup catcher from the beginning. He appeared in 32 games and batted .161/.214/.291 with just 15 hits and also striking out in more than 25 percent of his at bats. Though his offensive game is limited Mathis continues to play excellent defense and provides a veteran presence in the dugout. There is no reason to think that this role will change in 2016, and it is very likely he will be the second or third catcher next season.
Mathis is slated to begin the season as the Marlins' primary backup behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia at the catcher position after the team picked up his $1.5 million option for 2015. Though his offensive game is limited (.187/.239/.293 three-year average) Mathis continues to play excellent defense behind the dish and provides a veteran presence to help guide a dynamic young pitching staff. Mathis appeared in 64 games last season and figures to draw a couple of starts per week over the season's first few months. Although Mathis could eventually lose playing time to upcoming prospect J.T. Realmuto, he figures to stick on the roster throughout the season.
Brought in to provide a veteran presence behind Rob Brantly, Mathis missed the first month of the season after sustaining a broken collarbone in the spring before working his way into the primary catcher role down the stretch. The elevation to the everyday lineup, however, had everything to do with Mathis' defense and his handling of a young pitching staff rather than his underwhelming offensive output. While he did slug five home runs in 232 at-bats last season, the .181/.251/.284 line says it all. Mathis is better suited to serve as a backup, a role he will likely compete for during spring training with Brantly after the Marlins signed Jarrod Saltlamacchia to take over as the team's starter behind the plate in December.
Known for his defense, Mathis did little to help fantasy owners even in the deepest of leagues in 2012, batting .220 with a .261 OBP. Surprisingly, the Blue Jays extended him for two seasons. However, Mathis was then shipped to the Marlins where he'll likely serve as a backup and mentor to rookie Rob Brantly.
After spending parts of the last seven seasons with the Angels, Mathis was sent to the Blue Jays in an offseason trade. Mathis draws raves for his defensive skills, but with just a .194 batting average and .557 OPS at the major league level, it’s clear he does not hit enough to warrant regular playing time. As such, expect Mathis to serve as backup catcher behind J.P. Arencibia.
Mathis recorded a hit in each of his first 10 games last season, but a broken wrist knocked him out for the next two months and he really struggled with the bat the rest of the way. Mathis hit .170 and walked just four times in 170 at-bats after his June 18 return, and he was on the bench a lot even though fellow catcher Mike Napoli saw considerable action at first base. Mathis will enter the 2011 season healthy, but Napoli will likely catch more with Kendry Morales back at first base. While Mathis will make a few starts a week because he is better defensively than Napoli, he will not benefit fantasy owners at all unless he makes big strides with the bat.
His ALCS heroics aside, Mathis is a no-bat backup catcher with enough defensive skills to make a long career out of nothing. Manager Mike Scioscia seems very attached to him, enough to make him a slightly better than usual No. 2 catcher in AL-only leagues.
Mathis played in 94 games in 2008 and proved that his offensive game still needs some work. His production at the major league level is a far cry from our expectations generated by his early minor league numbers. Mathis will be Mike Napoli's backup again next season, but could become the starter if the injury-prone Napoli goes down again, or when Napoli goes into one of his patented slumps.
Mathis has long been expected to be the Angels' catcher of the future, but he hasn't been able to prove himself at the major league level yet. He is regarded more for his defense than for his offensive skills, but few catchers are going to get regular at-bats hitting .211 in the majors. Mathis' bat just hasn't looked ready for everyday duty and Mike Napoli will be the Angels' starting catcher to begin the 2008 season, so bid and draft accordingly.
Mathis survived the Bengie Molina era only to be lapped by Mike Napoli, then didn't hit all that well on his return to Salt Lake. He'll get another chance should Napoli falter, and like Casey Kotchman and Dallas McPherson, needs to convert the next opportunity or be cast aside. He's still just 24, and could end up as Mike Stanley down the road.
The Angels feel Mathis is ready for a regular spot on the 25 man roster after a nice rebound at Salt Lake City in 2005. The power is definitely there. If the plate discipline starts to improve, he could join the ranks of the AL upper echelon catchers sooner than later. He's more than adequate defensively, although not superior, but good enough that if he's hitting, he'll earn more than his fair share of starts behind the plate in 2006.
Mathis stalled at Double-A last year, with his OPS dropping from .827 to .695 and his average falling to an eyebrow-raising .221. It appeared as if he started pressing after teammates Casey Kotchman and Dallas McPherson were promoted. Even with the setback, Mathis is still considered a fine prospect and should bounce back in 2005.
Mathis is quickly advancing in the Angels organization. He hit .315 with 13 HR and 93 runs scored between Double-A Arkansas and at high Single-A Ranch Cucamonga. The combination of power, plate discipline and defensive skills at an early age (he'll be just 21 next season) suggest he'll be a star one day. A strong year at Double-A this season could make him a factor at the major-league level in 2005.
Mathis may turn out to be the best all-around catching prospect of the current crop. High praise considering the group includes super-prospect Joe Mauer. He excels in the areas that are most important for a backstop; athleticism, arm strength, receiving, and overall intelligence/makeup. While his home run potential is not off the charts, strong hands and a quick bat make it likely he’ll develop into a medium power hitter that will also produce a decent average. The Angels 2001 first round supplemental pick will begin the season at High Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. It would be unusual for him to advance to Double-A in 2003. Catchers are generally developed at a slower pace than other position players, but the 20-year-olds potential is so high this may the exception.
More Fantasy News
Inks deal with Texas
CTexas Rangers
November 15, 2018
Mathis has agreed to a two-year, $6.25 million contract with the Rangers, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.
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On bench again Tuesday
CArizona Diamondbacks
September 25, 2018
Mathis is not in the lineup Tuesday against the Dodgers.
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Retreats to bench
CArizona Diamondbacks
September 24, 2018
Mathis is not in the lineup Monday against the Dodgers.
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Day off Saturday
CArizona Diamondbacks
September 22, 2018
Mathis is not starting Saturday against the Rockies.
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Back in starting role
CArizona Diamondbacks
September 21, 2018
Mathis is in the lineup Friday against the Rockies for the third straight game and the seventh time in the last 10 contests.
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