06/07/2004 7:30 PM ET
Draft notes: Hurler in the Highlands
Mets grab Durkin in second round, despite down year
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
|Matt Durkin was ranked the 66th-best available prospect by Baseball America. (Courtesy of San Jose St.)
NEW YORK -- The Mets made one of their most interesting picks of the First-Year Player Draft in the seventh round, choosing Scott Hyde of George Fox University in Oregon.
Hyde was 14-1 with a 1.99 ERA this season, striking out 191 in 122 innings while leading his team to the NCAA Division III National Championship. He struck out 13 in the title game against Eastern Connecticut State, a game in which Hyde threw 140 pitches. His 395 career strikeouts are third all-time among Division III pitchers.
He is currently in Scotland with the Juniors Abroad Program, completing coursework for his degree. That didn't stop Hyde from checking in with MLB.com, though, to find out when his name would be called. MLB.com reached Hyde at a retreat in Inverness, Scotland, where he was enjoying the Scottish highlands.
"I haven't spoken to anyone with the Mets yet," Hyde said. "I actually looked it up on the Internet and called my parents. We were using the MLB.com Draft Tracker. It was pretty crazy. We were scrolling down and waiting, holding our breath."
Hyde wasn't always a dominating, power pitcher. He said that he developed in college, putting 40 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame.
"I just kind of developed," he said. "I didn't throw nearly as hard out of high school. I wasn't the same person I am now. There was a maturation process.
"I'm more of a pitcher. I just try to get ahead of the batter. I don't put any emphasis on strikeouts, it just worked out that way. But when I get ahead of a batter I try to bury him. But I wouldn't say I'm geared toward striking batters out."
Hyde added that he doesn't know much about the Mets other than the fact they drafted his friend, shortstop Seth Pietsch, out of Oregon State in the eighth round last year.
Takin' it easy: Matt Durkin doesn't want anyone to judge him by the numbers he put up this season for San Jose State University.
The big right-hander had a down junior season when compared to what he did as a freshman and sophomore. Yet the Mets saw enough in the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder to choose him in Monday's second round of the First-Year Player Draft.
Durkin, who was rated as the 66th-best player available by Baseball America, went 8-5 with a 4.49 ERA this season after winning 18 games with a 2.72 ERA as a freshman and sophomore.
"I found myself in a little bit of a funk," Durkin said. "I was trying to hard and I was trying to do too much. The previous two years I was laid back and letting people get themselves out. This year I was trying to blow people away. I'm more of a laid-back guy and things go better when I let things happen.
"I tried to force things this year. I talked to a lot of scouts the last few weeks and everyone realized that I just had a down year. But because of my good history and my history in high school, it shouldn't hinder me."
Durkin was originally drafted out of high school in the 10th round of the 2001 draft by Arizona. He didn't sign with the Diamondbacks because he said he "didn't have the best advisor and everything got out of hand." Durkin chose to go to college and will likely be headed to Class A Brooklyn now.
"This is a great feeling," Durkin said. "It's like I had a million pounds lifted off my shoulders. I don't know much about the Mets but their pitching coach [Rick Peterson] is supposed to be a [heck] of a guy. It will be good to work with him."
Durkin had trouble locating his curveball earlier in the season but went back to it as the year progressed and regained his effectiveness with the pitch.
Go West, young man: The Mets continued their westward trend in later rounds, tabbing University of Washington catcher Aaron Hathaway in the fourth round, St. Mary's High (Ariz.) third baseman Nick Evans in the fifth round and University of California-Davis shortstop Ryan Coultas in the sixth round.
Hathaway hit .317 with nine homers and 42 RBIs for the Huskies, who were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament on Sunday. He is more advanced behind the plate than he is at bat, but he has an huge upside.
Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.