Binghamton Mets pitcher and Ward Melville native Matz is carried...

Binghamton Mets pitcher and Ward Melville native Matz is carried off the field by series MVP Xorge Carrillo while being doused with champagne after the Mets' Eastern League championship-clinching win on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014.. Credit: Bruce Adler

Long Island native and prized pitching prospect Steven Matz makes his first Triple-A start Thursday night for Las Vegas in the Mets' affilliate's season-opening game at Fresno.

Matz, who was born in Stony Brook and went to Ward Melville High School, was selected in the second round of the 2009 draft and is universally considered one of the Mets' top prospects. He had a 2.24 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 24 starts last season with Single-A Advanced St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton. He helped lead Binghamton to an Eastern League championship in 2014.

Now, after just 12 starts in Binghamton in 2014 -- and an impressive performance in major league camp during spring training -- Matz finds himself one step away from the majors.

Three other Mets affiliates also begin their regular season Thursday:

- Matt Koch starts for Binghamton at Akron. The righthander (third round, 2012) had a 4.64 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 22 starts for St. Lucie in 2014.

- Robert Gsellman starts for St. Lucie at home against Bradenton. The righthander (13th round, 2011) had a 2.55 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 20 starts for Single-A Savannah in 2014.

- Corey Oswalt starts for Savannah at West Virginia. The righthander (seventh round, 2012) had a 2.26 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 12 games (11 starts) for Single-A short season Brooklyn in 2014.