Matos might be the starting center fielder. He might not. Depending on what happens with the Corey Patterson/Kevin Millar/Jeff Conine trio during the spring when positions get decided, Matos could be squeezed out.
Two years ago, Matos had a pretty nice 439 at-bats for the O's, hitting .303/.353/.458 with 13 homers and 15 steals. In 2004 he was hurt and awful when he wasn't, and in 2005 he was injured again and a slap hitter at the bottom of the lineup. If Matos were the type of guy that could steal 50 bases that'd be easier to deal with, but on a team that struggles to score runs, you'd like some more pop, and Luis just didn't have that in 2005. He wasn't awful or anything, but he was below the league average (.712 OPS to .737 for the league, park-adjusted OPS+ of 95). He wasn't a contributor despite the respectable batting average and OBP and it all boils down to the fact that he didn't hit for any power.
He's a good center fielder and if Patterson doesn't show some remarkable improvement from last season, Matos will still be our best choice to go out there every day.
Matos' last three seasons:
AB AVG OBP SLG HR SB/CS BB/K 2003 BAL 439 .303 .353 .458 13 15/7 28/90 2004 BAL 330 .224 .275 .333 6 12/4 19/60 2005 BAL 389 .280 .340 .373 4 17/9 27/58
That's the line: AB, AVG, OBP, SLG, HR, SB/CS, BB/K. Does he finally get back to the promise he showed in 2003, or is this basically his last stab at establishing himself as a regular?