Senior slugger highlights Day 2 for Rox
Golden Spikes Award finalist Matthes drafted in fourth round
DENVER -- Orlando, Fla., native Kent Matthes thought about attending Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night. In the end, he decided to stay home with family and friends, expecting to be drafted on Day 1 of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Matthes, a senior right fielder at the University of Alabama, was disappointed he didn't hear his name called Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Rockies drafted Matthes in the fourth round, No. 121 overall.
"Today was a lot easier watching the computer for five minutes as opposed to watching the TV and computer for five hours and not getting my named called yesterday," said Matthes, who had never been drafted prior to this season. "I couldn't ask for a better experience to share with my family and friends. The Rockies have a great tradition and I can't wait to get started."
In his first three seasons at Alabama, Matthes was an ordinary player compiling 20 home runs, 105 RBIs and never batting higher than .307 in any season.
In 2009, Matthes had a season to remember, as he was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, an award given annually to the USA Baseball Player of the Year, a unanimous selection for Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and a unanimous selection for First-Team All-SEC. Matthes accomplished all those feats by hitting .358, blasting a school-record 28 home runs and driving in 81 runs.
"Individually, I couldn't ask for anything better," Matthes said. "It was great to get the accomplishments and the awards. I'm excited to go to St. Louis for the Golden Spikes Award."
Matthes credited his ascent to taking last summer off. Instead of playing in summer leagues, he put on 15 pounds of muscle and worked on his plate discipline.
Rockies -- Top five selections
|11||LHP||Tyler Matzek||Capistrano Valley HS|
|32||CF||Timothy Wheeler||Cal St Sacramento|
|34||LHP||Rex Brothers||Lipscomb U|
|59||3B||Nolan Arenado||El Toro HS|
|90||1B||Benjamin Paulsen||Clemson U|
|Complete Rockies Draft results >|
However, Matthes' hard work didn't get him drafted on Day 1 and he thinks he knows why.
"I guess a lot of teams went the high school route," Matthes said. "There's so many good players, a lot of teams like to go different routes. As a senior, I probably wouldn't have been taken as high as a junior. That's baseball."
If and when Matthes signs with the Rockies, he might have a leg up on most of his college brethren in what might be the biggest transition from college baseball -- swinging wooden bats instead of aluminum bats. Matthes doesn't expect a long adjustment, since his father, Dieter, had him hit with a wooden bat since he was 12 years old.
"I definitely think if you can hit good with wood, then you can hit extremely well with aluminum," Matthes said. "It's helped me prepare to where I am now."
Here are the Rockies' other picks from Day 2 of the Draft:
Round 5 -- Joseph Sanders, 3B, Auburn: The junior hit .320 and led the Tigers with 19 home runs and 55 RBIs in 2009. Sanders was on pace to break the school record for home runs, but he was hit in the face by a pitch and missed three weeks. In 2008, Sanders scored the game-winning run for the Harwich Marines, the 2008 Cape Cod League champions. He hit .273 with four home runs and 17 RBIs. He was selected to the Cape Cod League All-Star team as a utility player. Auburn baseball coach John Pawlowski has said that Sanders told him that he would return if he's not drafted in the first seven rounds.
Round 6 -- Christopher Balcolm-Miller, RHP, West Valley College: The sophomore was the Vikings' best pitcher in 2009, as he went 7-5 with a 3.02 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 83 1/3 innings. The Royals selected Balcolm-Miller from the two-year school in the 35th round in 2008.
Round 7 -- Erik Stavert, RHP, Oregon: The junior made his debut with the Ducks in 2009 after spending two seasons at Chabot College, a two-year school. Stavert went 5-6 with a 3.04 ERA, earning more than one-third of Oregon's 14 victories. Drafted by the D-backs in the 42nd round in 2008, he's expected to forgo his senior season.
Round 8 -- Rob Scahill, RHP, Bradley: The Braves ace boasts a mid-90s fastball and was ranked as the 10th-best prospect in the Great Lakes League by Baseball America in 2008. Scahill, a redshirt junior went 3-3 with a 4.05 ERA, but he was a perfect 3-0 with an 0.86 ERA at home. He was selected in the 48th round by the Yankees in 2008.
Round 9 -- Thomas Musick, LHP, Houston: After undergoing Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2006, Musick made the Conference USA All-Freshman team in 2007. Musick went 5-7 with a 5.97 ERA in 2009. He was drafted in the 46th round by the Astros in 2005.
Round 10 -- Charles Ruiz, RHP, Long Beach State: After spending two years at Chabot College, Ruiz took over the closer role for the Dirtbags. He finished 2009 with 11 saves to complement his 2-2 record and 3.60 ERA. Ruiz utilized his filthy sinker to strike out 42 in 25 innings. Head coach Mike Weathers doesn't expect Ruiz to return to Long Beach State.
Round 11 -- Avery Barnes, LF, Florida: The first Gator drafted in 2009, Barnes batted a team-high .364 and led the team with 18 stolen bases. He also swatted eight home runs after hitting five in his first three years.
Round 12 -- Jared Clark, 1B, Cal State Fullerton: The veteran first baseman was clutch in 2009, driving in a team-high 81 RBIs to go with his .363 batting average and 12 home runs. In 2007, he tore his ACL and missed the season. This will be the fourth and final time he's been drafted. Clark and the Titans will be playing in the 2009 College World Series on Saturday.
Round 13 -- Paul Bargas, LHP, UC Riverside: After having ERAs over 6.00 in his first two seasons, Bargas made major strides in his junior campaign. Bargas showed plenty of control, walking only nine in 75 innings. He finished 2009 with a 5-3 record and a 4.44 ERA. He's currently recovering from a sprained ankle.
Round 14 -- Jeffrey Squier, SS, Mississippi Valley State: Squier is coming home, sort of. Squier is a Sterling, Colo., native, and he was named to the Southwestern Athletic Conference's First Team in 2009. The speedy shortstop led the SWAC with 41 stolen bases while batting .352.
Round 15 -- Tyler Gagnon, RHP, Diablo Valley College: Gagnon broke his arm his senior year in high school, but he has since bounced back. In 2009, he led the two-year school with a 3.20 ERA.
Round 16 -- Dom Altobelli, 3B, Illinois: The First-Team All-Big Ten selection finished his senior season hitting .361 with eight home runs and a team-high 53 RBIs. Altobelli comes from a baseball family, as his father, Mike, played three years in the Atheltics' organization.
Round 17 -- Josh Hungerman, LHP, Cleveland State: Hungerman meets the Rockies, part two. The Rockies selected Hungerman with their final pick (50th round) in 2008. He was selected to the All-Horizon League Team, but not as a pitcher, where he was 5-6 with a 4.60 ERA, but as a designated hitter. Hungerman batted .345 and had team-leading totals of 11 home runs and 50 RBIs.
Round 18 -- Richard Testa, RHP, Lamar: After spending all of 2008 in the bullpen and compiling a 3-2 record with a 6.55 ERA, Testa spent 2009 in both the rotation and the 'pen. He improved to 8-3 with a 4.13 ERA and struck out a team-high 84 in 76 1/3 innings in 2009.
Round 19 -- Dustin Garneau, C, Cal State Fullerton: Garneau is a strong-armed catcher whom Fullerton assistant coach Jason Gill said is blue-collar and a hard worker. Garneau hit only .293 in 2009, but as he told the Los Angeles Times, "They take my offense pretty much as a bonus." Garneau will be handling the Titans pitching staff in the 2009 College World Series on Saturday.
Round 20 -- William Tarleton, C, Elon: The senior hit .293 with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs. The Elon coaching staff said Tarleton's defense has been improving. His father, Mark, has been an associate scout for the Mariners in the past year.
Round 21 -- Chandler Laurent, RF, Delgado College: The sophomore from Louisiana's oldest and largest community college had a stellar 2009, leading the team with a .431 batting average. He also hit eight home runs and stole 23 bases.
Round 22 -- David Born, LHP, Long Beach State: Born was little-used in 2008, but he made 30 appearances in 2009. The reliever went 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA and struck out 23 in 20 1/3 innings.
Round 23 -- Jose Rivera, 2B, Universidad Interamericana: Rivera is an infielder from Puerto Rico who can also play shortstop. He's been clocked getting to first base in 4.61 seconds.
Round 24 -- Joey Wong, SS, Oregon State: Wong batted just .255 in 2009, but he's a slick-fielding shortstop who committed six errors in 2009. He will play for the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod League for the second straight year. He hit .256 in his first go-round. According to the Oregonian, Wong is expected to return to Oregon for his senior year and improve his stock.
Round 25 -- Trevor Gibson, RHP, San Jose State: Gibson is a reliever who went 3-1 with a 4.72 ERA in 2009. The hard-throwing right-hander can also close, posting a pair of saves.
Round 26 -- Rhett Ballard, RHP, Virginia Tech: Head coach Pete Hughes called the 6-foot-6, 244-pounder "one of the most physical impressive specimens he's ever coached." Ballard, the ace of the Hokies' staff, went 7-4 with a 4.05 ERA. He finished his career fourth on Virginia Tech's all-time strikeout list with 263 strikeouts, eight more than Angels pitcher Joe Saunders.
Round 27 -- Daniel Perkins, RHP, Delaware State: After missing all of 2008 due to injury, Perkins bounced back in 2009, posting a 5-5 record, a 2.65 ERA and throwing five complete games. Perkins was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Pitcher of the Year. Perkins is the first Delaware State player to be drafted since 2004.
Round 28 -- David Dinatale, LF, Miami (Fla.): Dinatale batted .311 in 2009, and is a sure-handed outfielder who has committed only one error in his three years as a Hurricane since transferring from the University of Central Florida. He was drafted in the 22nd round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2005.
Round 29 -- McKenzie Dickerson, OF, Meridian Community College: Known to many as Corey, Dickerson batted an impressive .381 in his first year of college ball, knocked 15 home runs as well as 21 doubles and had 54 RBIs. Dickerson also led his team with 14 stolen bases.
Round 30 -- Bryce Massanari, C, Georgia: On paper, the Rockies may have gotten a steal here, as Massanari, a preseason All-American, batted .305, slammed 19 home runs and had 57 RBIs in 2009. Massanari was selected in the 41st round by the Phillies in 2004.
Cheng Sio is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.