Steven Matz

Steven Matz
Davis, Mesoraco, Matz, Rivera, March 2, 2019 -- Steven Matz crop.jpg
Steven Matz in the New York Mets dugout at Citifield on March 2, 2019
New York Mets – No. 32
Pitcher
Born: (1991-05-29) May 29, 1991 (age 28)
Stony Brook, New York
Bats: RightThrows: Left
MLB debut
June 28, 2015, for the New York Mets
MLB statistics
(through 2019 season)
Win–loss record31–36
Earned run average4.05
Strikeouts516
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Steven Jakob Matz (born May 29, 1991) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has played for the Mets since 2015. Matz was born and raised in Long Island and played baseball for Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, New York. The Mets drafted him directly out of high school in the second round of the 2009 MLB draft, with the 72nd overall selection.

The start of Matz's professional career was delayed two years due to Tommy John surgery needed for a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of his throwing elbow. Matz made his professional debut in 2012 and spent three years in the Mets' minor leagues, helping lead the Savannah Sand Gnats and Binghamton Mets to championships. He was named the Mets' Organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2014. He made his MLB debut on June 28, 2015, breaking several hitting records in his first start.

After compiling a 4–0 win–loss record and 2.27 ERA in an injury-shortened regular season, Matz played in three 2015 postseason games, including Game 4 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals. Matz opened 2016 with a 7–1 record, and led all rookie pitchers in wins, ERA, and strikeouts through the end of May. He was named National League Rookie of the Month in May and was considered a contender for NL Rookie of the Year before his season was once again shortened due to injuries, including a bone spur that had to be surgically removed.

Matz again battled injuries in 2017, making just 13 starts in a season that ended with surgery to address ulnar nerve irritation. He played his first 30-start season in 2018, recording a 5–11 record, 3.97 ERA, and 1.25 WHIP. In 2019, Matz had the best ERA of any Mets starting pitcher through June, and though he struggled in later starts, he finished the season at 11–10, his first winning record since 2016. Matz has been involved in several charitable efforts, including starting the charity initiative Tru 32, which honors first responders from the New York City Fire Department, New York City Police Department, and U.S. Military.

Early life

Steven Matz was born on May 29, 1991,[1] in Stony Brook, New York, the second child of Ron and Lori Matz.[2][3][4] He has an older brother, Jonathan, and a younger sister, Jillian.[2] Ron Matz coached a travel baseball team,[3] and was a service manager at a Jeep dealership in West Islip, New York.[2][5] Lori was an administrative employee at Comsewogue High School in Port Jefferson Station, New York.[2] Matz and his family, as far back as his grandparents, were fans of the New York Mets.[6][7] As a child, Matz attended the Nassakeag Elementary School in the Three Village Central School District.[8]

Matz first started playing baseball in the Three Village Little League when he was 8 years old.[2][9] By age 10, Matz began receiving pitching lessons from former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher Neal Heaton.[10][11] He attended Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, New York,[12][13][14] where he pitched and played first base for the school's baseball team.[4][15] He played varsity since his freshman year,[16] during which time his fastball averaged 90 miles per hour. Matz first drew attention from scouts in the New York Mets organization during a baseball showcase tournament in 2008,[7][6][17] and their interest in him continued to grow in subsequent years.[6] MLB scouts began attending his starts regularly during his senior season.[17]

Matz enjoyed a high school rivalry with Marcus Stroman, a friend and future New York Mets teammate, who was pitcher for the nearby Patchogue-Medford High School.[9][12] Matz and Stroman were teammates on the same elite travel team, the Paveco Storm, for several years in junior high and high school.[12][18] The two were roommates during the Area Code Games and pitched against each other several times in high school,[12] including a notable game on April 16, 2009,[11][15][19] which was attended by more than 50 scouts from every MLB team,[15][18][19] and is considered one of the best games in the history of Long Island high school baseball.[15][18] Matz struck out 12 and allowed one hit,[15][18][19] leading his team to a 1–0 victory,[9][18] while Stroman struck out 14 and allowed three hits, and both pitchers threw complete games.[15][18][19] Mets scout Larry Izzo later called it "one of the best duels I've ever seen".[15]

Matz posted a 6–1 win–loss record in his senior season, allowing two earned runs and 14 hits in 54 innings, with 74 strikeouts,[17] and a 0.47 earned run average (ERA),[20] helping Ward Melville win its first league title in 34 years. He also had a .408 batting average with nine doubles, six home runs, and 34 RBIs.[17] Matz was named Newsday's Long Island Player of the Year,[17][21] and won the Yastrzemski Award as the best high school ballplayer in Suffolk County in his senior year.[2][17][21] Forty different NCAA Division I schools attempted to recruit Matz to their college teams.[22]

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