June 17, 2004
The Colorado Rockies officially have announced the signing of former Notre Dame third baseman Matt Macri (Clive, Iowa), the Rockies’ fifth-round draft choice in the 2004 Major League draft. Macri has been assigned to the single-A Tri-City Dust Devils, located in Pasco, Wash., and a member of the Northwest League.
Macri – who arrived in Pasco on June 16 – will be reunited on the Dust Devils with former teammate J.P. Gagne, who set the Notre Dame record for saves in a season (13) before being a 14th-round draft pick of the Rockies in 2003.
The viability of progressing from college baseball to the professional ranks is born out in the Dust Devils’ current 35-man roster (including players on the disabled list) – as 28 members of the ’04 roster are former college players, compared to just two who started their pro careers straight out of high school (plus four from the Dominican Republic and one from Australia). In addition to Macri and Gagne, the other college products include players from such noteworthy programs as Texas A&M, Lamar, Louisiana-Lafayette, Oregon State, Virginia Commonwealth, Auburn, Wichita State, Texas Tech, North Carolina, UNLV, Virginia, Pepperdine and the College of Charleston.
The first 10 rounds of the 2004 MLB draft included 70% of players selected from college teams (including four Notre Dame players) and 30% from high school.
The Dust Devils are slated to open their season at home versus the Yakima Bears, on Friday, June 18.
The 2004 MLB draft saw the Rockies and the Chicago Cubs become the first teams ever to draft an active Notre Dame player in three straight years, with Colorado also selecting former Notre Dame third baseman/catcher Andrew Bushey in the 15th round of the 2002 draft. Macri is Notre Dame’s first non-senior ever drafted by the Rockies, who also selected former Irish infielder Craig Counsell in the 11th-round of the 1992 draft. Counsell played for the Rockies briefly in 1997, then was traded to eventual World Series champion Florida Marlins before later helping the Arizona Diamondbacks win the 2001 World Series title (he currently is a member of the Milwaukee Brewers).
Fans who wish to follow former Notre Dame players in minor-league baseball may do so via the following convenient link on the Baseball America website: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/Stats/playerfind.html.
Quick notes on Macri follow below, as does an updated 2004 bio. capsule on Macri, plus a link to his pre-2004 biography and his draft-day quotes:
* Projected by Baseball America as a 1st-rounder in 2001 but he slipped to the 17th round (Twins) due to his strong commitment to play for Notre Dame … also had been eligible for the 2003 draft as a sophomore but was not selected.
* Has earned 2004 second team All-America honors from USA Today Sports Weekly and Collegiate Baseball magazine (others are TBA) … sixth ND player ever named 1st/2nd team All-America by multiple organizations … also named first team all-BIG EAST Conference and then BIG EAST Tournament MVP after batting .429 in three wins (6-for-14, 5 RBI, 2 HR).
* His noteworthy statistical accomplishments in 2004 included becoming: the third ND player (first since ’89) with 80-plus hits (87) and 40-plus walks (40) in the same season; the first BIG EAST player ever to lead the conference in home runs (7) and triples (3) during BIG EAST games; the first ND player with 12-plus HRs (14) and 12-plus stolen bases (12-of-16) in same season; and the fourth player ever to lead BIG EAST in hits and HRs for same season (first since ’96) … also grounded into just one double play during 2004 season (112 at-bats with runners on).
* Finished 6th or higher in 11 of 12 BIG EAST overall categories (all but stolen bases) … led BIG EAST in overall hits (87), runs (76; 4th ND history), triples (7; 6th all-time at ND) and total bases (158; 2nd ND history), also 2nd in slugging pct. (.667), HRs (9th ND rec. book) and “OBS” (1.132 combined OB/slug), 3rd in walks, 4th in RBI (56), 5th in on-base pct. (.456), 6th in batting avg. (.367) and doubles (15) … ranked 1st (13) or 2nd (4) on ’04 team in 17 different categories, including team-best .529 leadoff on-base pct. … stellar .941 fielding pct. (11 Es) included 53 error-free games … hit team-best .410 in May/June (16 RBI, 22 R, 7 HR in 19 GP) …… ranked 11th in nation for runs, 24th in triples.
* Compiled a .316 career batting avg. in 138 games played (.536 slugging pct., .409 on-base pct., .945 “OBS,” 105 RBI, 19 HR, 127 R, 12 3B, 33 2B, 73 BB, 12 HBP, 117 Ks, 5 SF, 8 SAC, 30 Es, .937 fielding pct.) … his 12 triples rank 9th in ND history … owned a .440 career batting avg. at Eck Stadium.
* Missed most of 2002 due to elbow injury before starting at SS in ’03 (switched to 3B in ’04).
* Was part of five ND players selected in the first 14 rounds of the ’04 MLB draft and four in the first 10 rounds (no previous ND team had more than two), with the others including junior RHP Grant Johnson (2nd round, Chicago Cubs), junior 3B Matt Marci (5th rd, Colorado Rockies), junior RHP Chris Niesel (9th rd, Cleveland Indians) and senior 2B Steve Sollmann (10th rd, Milwaukee Brewers), followed by senior C Javi Sanchez (14th rd, Minnesota Twins).
* Combined with Johnson and Niesel to form the core of a 2002 incoming class that was ranked by Baseball America as the nation’s #1 recruiting class for 2002.
* He and Johnson are the highest-drafted teammates in ND history while he and Sollmann are the highest-drafted players from the same ND infield … 6th-highest drafted position player (9th overall) in ND baseball history and 2nd among infielders … the only other time that two ND infielders were drafted was in 1993 (SS Paul Failla, 3rd rd, Angels; utility IF Matt Haas, 44th rd, Expos).
* One of 40 ND players during the 10-year Paul Mainieri era who have been drafted or signed as free agents, including 31 draft picks and 16 who were selected in the first 10 rounds.
* The other 27 college products on the current Tri-City roster (5 are from junior colleges) include five other infielders – Duke Sardinha (Pepperdine), Joe Koshansky (Virginia), Stephen Ghutzman (UNLV), Erik Dean (West Valley JC) and Jason Vankooten (Seward County CC) – and five outfielders: Brett Spivey (College of Charleston), Matt Miller (Southwest Texas), Jud Thigpen (Delta State), John Restrepo (Santa Ana CC) and Mitsuru Sakamoto (Arizona Western JC) … … 13 righthanded pitchers on the roster are former college players: J.P. Gagne (Notre Dame), Steven Register (Auburn), John Tetuan (Wichita State), Scott Beever (Texas A&M), Seven Thomas (Texas Tech), Jim Miller (Louisiana-Lafayette), Matt Prendergast (Virginia Commonwealth), Marc Ion (Lamar), Jarrett Grube (Memphis), Steve Edsell (Rollins), Edren Lia (Cal Poly Pomona), Tomas Santiago (Pikeville) and Jed Songster (Southern Colorado) … the others include two catchers – Chris Ianetta (North Carolina) and Rick Guarno (Arkansas-Little Rock) and three lefthanded pitchers: Jake Postlewait (Oregon State), Nick Webb (Louisiana-Lafayette) and Melvin Rosario (Indiana Hills CC).
Matt Macri 2004 BIOGRAPHY CAPSULE (Jr., 3B; Clive, Iowa/ Dowling HS; 6-foot-2, 190 pounds)
(see PDF link for complete year-by-year and career stats)
Selected by Colorado Rockies in 5th round of 2004 MLB draft … became the 6th-highest drafted position player (9th overall) in ND baseball history and 2nd among infielders, behind SS Paul Failla (3rd rd in ’94, Angels) … others include C Ken Plesha (1st rd in ’65, White Sox), CFs Steve Stanley (2nd rd in ’02, A’s) and Dan Peltier (3rd rd in ’89, Rangers), and RF Ryan Topham (4th rd in ’95, White Sox) … combined with 2B Steve Sollmann (10th rd, Brewers) as highest drafted pair of infielders in ND baseball history (the only other time that’s happened was in 1994, with Failla in the 3rd and then utility IF Matt Haas in the 44th round to the Expos) … had been projected by Baseball America to be a 1st rounder in the 2001 draft but slipped to 17th round (Twins) due to strong commitment to ND … 4th ND player (first non-senior)to be drafted by the Rockies, who now have drafted a Notre Dame player in each of the last three seasons (including current minor-league RHP J.P. Gagne ).
CAREER NOTES – Missed most of 2002 due to elbow injury before starting at SS in ’03 (switched to 3B in ’04) … owns a .316 career batting avg. in 138 games played (136 starts), plus a .536 slugging pct., .409 on-base pct., .945 “OBS,” 105 RBI and 19 home runs (127 R, 12 3B, 33 2B, 73 BB, 12 HBP, 117 Ks, 5 SF, 8 SAC, 30 Es, .937 fielding pct.) … his 12 triples already rank in 9th in ND history … hit just .273 in first two seasons, with .426 slugging and .359 on-base … his ’04 numbers included batting 94 points higher (.367) than his pre-’04 career avg., plus a boost in 241 slugging points (.667) and 94 on-base points (.465) … hit 14 HRs with 56 RBI in ’04 (61 GP) after totaling just 5 HRs and 48 RBI over 77 GP in ’02 and ’03 … his margin of walks (33) plus hit-by-pitch (6) minus strikeouts (71) was -32 his first two seasons but then was even in ’04 (40 BB, 6 HBP, 46 Ks).
AS A JUNIOR – Earned 2004 second team All-America honors from USA Today Sports Weekly and Collegiate Baseball magazine, joining catcher Walt Osgood (’64), centerfielders Peltier (’89), Eric Danapilis (’93) and Stanley (’02), and RHP Aaron Heilman (’00, ’01) as 6th ND player ever named 1st/2nd team All-America by multiple organizations … 1st team all-BIG EAST and then BIG EAST Tournament MVP after batting .429 (6-for-14, 5 RBI, 2 R, 2 HR, BB, SB) … third ND player (first since ’89) with 80-plus hits (87) and 40-plus walks (40) in same season …first ND player with 12-plus HRs (14) and 12-plus stolen bases (12-of-16) in same season … posted team-best .529 leadoff on-base pct., plus 3rd in 2-out batting (.333, 16 RBI) and batting with runners in scoring position (.366) … stellar .941 fielding pct. (11 Es) included 53 error-free games … hit team-best .410 after finals/May and June (16 RBI, 22 R, 7 HR in 19 GP) … finished 6th or higher in 11 of 12 BIG EAST overall categories (all but SB) … led BIG EAST in overall hits (87), runs (76; 4th ND history), triples (7; 6th all-time at ND) and total bases (158; 2nd ND history), also 2nd in slugging (.667), HRs (9th ND rec. book) and “OBS” (1.132 combined OB/slug), 3rd in walks, 4th in RBI (56), 5th in on-base (.456), 6th in batting avg. (.367) and doubles (15) … ranked 11th in nation for runs, 24th in triples … in conference games only, he finished 1st in hits (38), HRs (7), runs (36), 3Bs (3) and TBs (71), 2nd in slugging (.703), 3rd in OBS (1.174), 5th in batting (.376) and 6th in OB (.453) … first BIG EAST player ever to lead the conference in HRs (7) and 3Bs (3) during BIG EAST games … 4th player ever to lead BIG EAST in hits and HRs for same season (first since ’96) … ranked 1st (12) or 2nd (4) on ’04 team in 16 different categories … his other season stats included team-best 61 games played, 60 starts and 237 at-bats, 12 hit-by-pitch, 46 strikeouts, 3 sac. flies and 1 sac. bunt … tied BIG EAST record with three career BIG EAST player-of-the-week awards (two in ’04) … 2nd on team with .333 batting during Feb./March (26-for-78, 22 RBI, 20 R, 3 HR, 12 BB) and then 2nd in April as well (.358, 29-for-81, 18 RBI, 34 R, 4 HR, 5 3B, 20 BB) … owns .440 career batting avg. at Eck Stadium, with team-best .451 in ’04 (50-for-111, 25 RBI , 41 R, 7 HR, 5 3B, 21 BB) … made 58 starts at 3B in ’04 (2 at SS) … bulk of his starts came in leadoff (20) and No. 2 (19) spots … logged 18-game errorless streak …hit .346 batting vs. top-25 teams in ’04 (9-for-26, 8 RBI, 9 R, HR, 2 3B, 2 2B, 5 BB, 1 E) … All-Tournament at FAU Classic (.385, 5-for-13, 7 RBI, 7 R, HR, 3B, 2 BB) and Alamo City Classic (.400, 6-for-15, BB, 3 RBI, 6 R, 2 2B) … led ’04 team with 25 multi-hit games (11 with 3-plus), 2nd with 15 multi-RBI games … grounded into just one double play (112 ABs with runners on) … combined with Craig Cooper (.470 batting) and Matt Bransfield (33 RBI) in making ND first team since ’89 (third in BIG EAST history) with conference leader in batting, HRs and RBI … enjoyed big games vs. Minnesota (4-for-6, 6 RBI, 5 R, HR, 3B), Virginia Tech (5-for-6. 2 RBI, 3 R, 2 HR, including one on ND’s first pitch faced) and Boston College in BE title game (3-for-5, 3 RBI, 2 HR, BB) … his 14 HRs came on eight different counts (three with 2 strikes), with five leading off the inning.
Also see the below link for pre-2004 bio. (including prep and personal data)
Draft Day Comments (June 7, 2004) – Matt Macri (Jr., 3B; 5th-round selection of Colorado Rockies)
“We’ll see what happens with the negotiations. When I talk to them I’ll have a better idea.”
“Leading up to the draft, I kind of had an idea where I would go. The fifth round is about where I thought I’d go and we talked about all the possible scenarios and decided that the fifth round is a good place to go. [If I do sign] I will come back to Notre Dame to finish my education.”
“It’s hard celebrating the day after losing the regional. Yesterday, we lost a game that we should have won. It is tough in the shadows of yesterday, with the disappointment of the season. But you get through it and this is something to be happy about.”
“It has always bee a dream for me to play professional ball and it is becoming a reality. I’m overjoyed right now, also a little overwhelmed, but very happy. I am excited to take the next step and continue what I’m doing.”
“I’ve always been a Braves fan but don’t tell the Rockies that.”
“I don’t have any regrets about coming to Notre Dame. I’m very happy. I was able to get the college experience, grow up a little bit and develop my skills. And now I’m drafted in the fifth round and am extremely happy about that.”
“Yes, the Rockies are looking at me as a third baseman.”
“I talked to [former ND pitcher] J.P. Gagne this morning and actually might have a chance to play with him in Tri-Cities. I might see him there.”
“The whole college experience has been great, as has being on this team with such great teammates and great coaches who helped me to develop into the player I am today. They helped me mature all-around. For every reason I came to Notre Dame, I’ve gotten that plus more out of it.”
“A lot of my success this year had to do with the approach I had and just being more disciplined at the plate and knowing what I want to do with the ball in certain situations. And that can be credited to being able to play every day and not having any limitations of being injured. I was able to play all summer and in the fall and just got back in the swing of things. That was huge just getting all that experience. I was able to better understand my approach and my swing, hone it down to what I needed to do to be able to hit well.”
“[Assistant] coach [David] Grewe was working with me from the first day in the fall on my swing, working on getting my hands in and out. We worked on that every day and every game he would remind me, ‘Keep your hands in, get out in front of the plate and be aggressive.’ He was a huge part of my success in hitting this year.”
“He knows each player so well and what makes each guy hit well. He is able to see if we deviate from that and corrects us. He worked really hard for each one of us every day and that’s great to have from a hitting coach.”
“Back during my senior year in high school, I always listened to the Notre Dame games on the internet. I heard all those players in 2001 making their own niche into the program and doing their special things and now I look back at what we did these last few years and I’m honored to be part of that.”
“[Athletic trainer] Mike Bean was one of the most special people to me in this program. Going down with that elbow injury freshman year, I don’t think any other school could have helped me as much because Mike Bean is the best. He works with you every day and knows how to work with you, not pushing you too fast and not taking it too slow. He did wonders for me. I credit it all to him.”