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Yes, I was surprised


POSTED: June 7, 2011 6:50 p.m.

Not to name drop, but a couple of hours ago I got off the phone with Kevin Matthews, the former Richmond Hill High School ace turned Texas Rangers No. 1 draft pick.
That interview will lead to a story for Saturday's Bryan County News. This link leads to the Texas Rangers website:

You can learn a lot more about why the Rangers picked Matthews there.

In the meantime, I'll admit I was surprised to see Matthews' name scroll across the bottom of the screen last night while I was watching Baseball Tonight on ESPN around 10:30 p.m. In fact, the first time it happened

I couldn't figure out what draft choice he was and had to wait about an hour before it rolled around again -- all while flipping over to local TV stations to see what they knew.

Now, I was surprised not because the kid isn't first-round material. He's obviously a talented pitcher, and left handers who can command three pitches and consistently throw in the low 90s don't grow on trees.

But like most people I've talked to, I figured Matthews would be taken in the second or third round, if not lower, because of his stature-- he's only about 5 feet 10 in an age where big time hurlers are expected to be well over 6 feet tall.

It's bunk, of course, but Matthews said he's heard he's too short to pitch in the big leagues and he uses it for motivation.

I usually stand about 5 foot 6, depending on what shoes I'm wearing. I've often been told sportswriters should be at least 5-11 otherwise they'll start looking like confused but grumpy hedgehogs after about 10 years on the job.

Back to Matthews, who seems a good sort of kid (anyone who returns my phone call the day after he gets picked in the first round of the MLB draft is OK in my book) -- one who'll be easy to pull for in the bigs.

By the way: Dustin McGowan is believed to be the last guy from the Coastal Empire to get drafted in the first round. McGowan was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2000 and, like Matthews, was taken 33rd overall. That same year, Glynn Academy's Adam Wainwright was drafted No. 29 by the Atlanta Braves.


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