Baseball – Draft: Reds Select CBA Alum Matt Pidich in the 8th Round
Former Christian Brothers Academy and current University of Pittsburgh standout Matt Pidich became the first Shore-area player selected in the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft when the Cincinnati Reds selected him in the eighth round on Tuesday.
Pidich went off the board on day two of the Draft as the 229th overall pick - the fifth pick of the eighth round. According to MLB.com, the pick carries with it an approximate signing bonus value of $177,700.
In his redshirt senior season in 2018, Pidich ascended to the top of the Panthers rotation with his best season as a collegiate pitcher. He went 6-2 with a 3.05 earned-run average over 91 1/3 innings and 15 starts while striking out 99 and walking 26 during his final year at Pitt.
Pidich left an impression in his final start by defeating Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament opener. He allowed one run on just three hits and one walk while striking out eight in a 2-1 Panthers win.
The 2015 season appeared as though it might be Pidich's breakout, but the former Colts flamethrower missed his junior season in 2016 while recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. As a sophomore in 2015, Pidich made eight relief appearances during which he struck out 23 and walked five over 15 2/3 innings, pitching to a 1.72 ERA.
Pidich returned to action as a redshirt junior last year and posted a 4-5 record with a 4.61 ERA over 16 appearances, which included the first nine starts of his collegiate career.
Pidich has a fastball that has played in the 89-to-91 miles-per-hour range this season, but it is his secondary offerings that have led to his all-around breakout in 2018. He throws a quality slider at 84-to-85 miles per hour and his changeup - which he throws in the low-80's with arm-side fade - has become, arguably, his best pitch.
The development of that secondary stuff has been key for a pitcher that CBA coach Marty Kenney lauded as a freshman in high school, predicting at that point that Pidich could wind up being the hardest-throwing pitcher CBA had ever had up to that point.
As he did in college, Pidich battled through some early-career injury issues at CBA to post a stellar senior season in 2013, during which he went 6-3 with a 2.19 ERA, 59 strikeouts and 22 walks in 48 innings and earned All-Shore Third Team honors from All-Shore Media/Shore Sports Network.
The Red have a history of taking chances on Shore Conference players, including two high-profile success stories. Cincinnati selected Todd Frazier out of Rutgers University in the the 2007 supplemental first round and traded for former Colts Neck star Anthony DeSclafani, whom the Toronto Blue Jays selected out of the University of Florida in the 2011 sixth round. DeSclafani made his first MLB start since Sept. of 2016 on Tuesday after missing all of 2017 due to injury.