VanMeter, Maton off to fast starts in Arizona Fall League

Padres prospects have 3.00 ERA in AFL

VanMeter, Maton off to fast starts in Arizona Fall League

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Right-handed reliever Phil Maton has allowed one baserunner with six strikeouts in his first four innings in the Arizona Fall League while infielder Josh VanMeter is off to a 6-for-15 start with a homer and four RBIs after four games.

The 23-year-old Maton, who finished the 2016 season as the playoff closer for Triple-A Pacific Coast League champion El Paso, has allowed one hit with no walks in four scoreless innings for Peoria of the AFL. He has one of Peoria's three wins.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Maton was the Padres 20th-round pick in the 2015 draft. He pitched for three teams during the 2016 regular season - Single-A Fort Wayne, Advanced Single-A Lake Elsinore and El Paso - posting a combined 1.74 earned run average over 51 2/3 innings in 38 appearances. He had 78 strikeouts during the regular season against 11 walks and had a 5-3 win-loss record with 11 saves in 13 chances. In the PCL playoffs, Maton appeared in four games allowing no runs on three hits with five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. He also had four saves.

VanMeter, 21, has a .400 batting average, a .500 on-base percentage and a .600 slugging percentage through his first four AFL games. He ranks ninth in the AFL in batting.

The second baseman, a fifth-round pick in the 2013 draft, had a combined .251 average between Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio this season. He had a combined 14 homers and 56 RBIs.

Franchy Cordero and Michael Gettys are sharing center field for the Javelinas. Cordero, 22, is off to a 4-for-14 with three RBIs. Gettys, who turns 21 Oct. 22, is 4-for-19, with a home run, a steal and three runs scored for the Javelinas.

Left-hander Kyle McGrath, 24, has allowed a run on a hit with a strikeout in three AFL innings. Left-hander Brad Wieck, 25, has allowed two runs on two hits and two walks with four strikeouts in two innings. Right-hander Jason Jester has allowed two walks with two strikeouts in two hitless and scoreless innings to earn a save.