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06/10/09 12:05 AM ET

Mets draft southpaw out of own back yard

Club selects Long Island high schooler Matz at No. 72

NEW YORK -- Steven Matz, meet the Mets.

The Mets selected the left-handed pitcher from Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, N.Y., with the 72nd overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft.

It looks like a perfect match, as the Long Island product will lace it up for his favorite team.

"We're very excited to have someone like that in our own background," said Rudy Terrasas, the Mets' director of amateur scouting. "We think he's got a chance to be a solid pitcher for us."

Matz, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound southpaw, was 6-1 with a 0.47 ERA through seven starts in his senior season, with 81 strikeouts in just 44 innings. He allowed just 11 hits and 15 walks.

Matz throws a fastball consistently in the low 90s and can reach 94 mph on the radar gun. The 18-year-old has the potential to throw even harder once he fills out physically and cleans up a currently violent delivery.

He has also displayed a curveball and changeup as secondary pitches in his repertoire. Matz is not consistent with either pitch yet, but scouts expect his curveball to be above-average at the next level.

"Just like any typical high school player, he just needs some time and experience on the mound," Terrasas said, adding that Matz will likely start play in the Gulf Coast League.

Matz was committed to play college baseball at Coastal Carolina, although the opportunity to play for the hometown Mets should negate that.

"[Long Island] is not Texas, it's not Florida or California," Terrasas said. "But I think history will tell you there's some pretty good arms coming out of the Northeast."

The Mets did not have a first-round pick for the third time in the last four seasons.

Round 3, Robert Shields, SS, Florida Southern:
With the 103rd overall pick, the Mets selected Shields, who hit .345 with five home runs and 37 RBIs as a junior. "He's really a good baseball player," Terrasas said. "He's got a good feel and instincts for the game." Shields will likely start the season in Brooklyn with the Cyclones of the New York-Penn League.

Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.