SAN DIEGO -- Phil Maton has been making memories during his short time in the Majors. His parents have been busy adding to the memorabilia collection waiting for him at home.With eight scoreless appearances to begin his career, the 24-year-old right-hander has quickly worked his way up the Padres' bullpen
SAN DIEGO -- Phil Maton has been making memories during his short time in the Majors. His parents have been busy adding to the memorabilia collection waiting for him at home.
With eight scoreless appearances to begin his career, the 24-year-old right-hander has quickly worked his way up the Padres' bullpen ladder. During the team's recent road trip through Milwaukee and Chicago, Maton earned the first win and save of his career.
Maton, who's from Chatham, Ill., three hours south of Chicago, had plenty of family in attendance for both series. He gave the balls from his two milestones to his parents, who are adding to a case that serves as a timeline of his baseball career.
"They'll have them at home with all the other milestone balls I have from Minor League ball, college ball, high school," Maton said. "Couldn't have really asked for a better road trip. The memories made from that are really cool."
Maton is the eldest of Phil and Ellen Maton's four sons. The Phillies selected Nick Maton in the Draft's seventh round earlier this month. Marc Maton ran track and cross country at Southeast Missouri. Jacob Maton is in Cary, N.C., trying to make Team USA's 40-man roster.
"A lot of good things going on for the Maton family right now," Maton said.
Maton said the ball that began the collection, which also includes jerseys and hats, came on his first home run, hit sometime during middle school. His father, though, said the first ball to carry weight was from Maton's complete-game victory to seal a state title for Glenwood High School.
"When he has a family of his own, hopefully his kids will want that stuff," the elder Phil Maton said. "We know that, on down the road, it's going to mean something."
Unheralded and undrafted out of Glenwood, Maton went to Louisiana Tech. Again, 30 teams passed on him after his junior season. San Diego selected him in the 20th round of the 2015 Draft, after he set the Bulldogs' record for career innings and finished second in program history in strikeouts.
He rose quickly, serving as Triple-A El Paso's closer during the 2016 playoffs. Maton got the ball from each postseason victory with the exception of the Chihuahuas' win in the PCL Championship; it went to manager Rod Barajas.
He returned to Triple-A in 2017, getting promoted to San Diego on June 11 after posting a 2.84 ERA and converting all 13 of his save opportunities. Going back to his final nine games with El Paso, he hasn't allowed a run in his past 17 outings.
"Stress doesn't seem to bother him on the baseball field," Padres manager Andy Green said. "It's good to see in a young guy. He's been very good very quickly."
Maton's only blemish came when he allowed an inherited baserunner to score in Saturday's victory against Detroit, an outing that Green said "actually impressed" him, as Maton remained calm and ended the inning without further damage. He has struck out 10 batters in 6 2/3 innings, with seven of his strikeouts coming up in the zone, thanks to a fastball with an average velocity, but above-average spin rate.
Although Green has no plans to make Maton his closer in the near future, he said the young righty has the look of someone built for the role. That means more baseballs for Maton's collection.
"He's just living the dream," his father said. "I really don't know that the experience could be any better for him."
Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego.