University of San Diego pitcher Brian Matusz, a graduate of Phoenix St. Mary’s High School, was the first player with East Valley connections to be picked Thursday in Major League Baseball’s amateur draft.
Matusz, from Cave Creek, was selected No. 4 overall by the Baltimore Orioles.
Another player from Cave Creek went in the fourth round when the Detroit Tigers took Cactus Shadows graduate and Vanderbilt pitcher Brett Jacobson at No. 133.
Matusz, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound lefty with a fastball in the low 90s, led the NCAA with 141 strikeouts and went 12-2 with a 1.71 ERA this season. The junior is the Toreros' all-time leader in strikeouts (396) and was named the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year and a Louisville Slugger first-team All-American.
Matusz, who out of high school was picked in the fourth round of the 2005 draft by the Los Angeles Angels, has four pitches in his arsenal – fastball, slider, curve and changeup – and front-of-the-rotation potential.
Jacobson, a 6-6, 205-pound right-hander, possesses the size teams covet but is still working through control issues. The junior reliever who throws a fastball, curve and changeup was 2-4 with four saves, 42 strikeouts, 20 walks and a 5.09 ERA in 46 innings this season. Jacobson was taken by the Diamondbacks in the 11th round out of high school.