October 9, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – John A. Logan College pitcher Matthias Dietz turned down a six-figure signing bonus last June in the 29th round of the amateur draft as offered by the defending World Series Champion, San Francisco Giants, opting instead to return to Logan to finetune his skills.

It may turn out to be the best decision the young man has ever made.

After an outstanding showing in fall scrimmages in which his fastball velocity climbed from low-to-mid 90s to upper 90s, Dietz signed a letter of intent this week to play ball next school year for Texas Christian University, a school ranked in the top five in the nation and a school that has competed the last two years in the College World Series.  

“It’s one of the elite programs in the country right now,” said Vols head coach Jerry Halstead. “Matthias definitely put himself on everyone’s radar when he consistently threw in the mid 90s and touched 98 on the gun this fall. If he stays healthy, he will undoubtedly be a high draft choice, maybe even a first rounder. When you throw 98, you’re pretty much at the top of the food chain even at the Big League level.”

Halstead said Dietz was used as a starter at the beginning of the spring season and finished the year as the team’s closer.

“We’re probably going to start him,” Halstead said. “But, he can do either one. He’s very durable and I think the sky’s the limit for him.”

Halstead has seen his share of pitching talent in his 30-plus years as collegiate coach. None, he said, showed any more potential than Dietz.

“We were pleasantly surprised to see Matthias pass on the Giants’ offer and stay with us,” he said. “Believe me, we’re happy to have him back. When it’s all said and done, I think he could be the highest-profile athlete to ever come out of John A. Logan College in any sport.”

Listed as 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, Dietz is a native of Orland Park, a Chicago suburb. He graduated from Sandburg High School.

With Logan last spring, Dietz finished with a 4-4 record. He allowed 56 hits in 55 1/3 innings; struck out 50, walked only 11, and compiled a 3.09 earned-run average.

“Over the summer, I really got after it in the weight room and got a lot stronger, while putting on about 25 to 30 pounds,” Dietz said. “I just wanted it…you know?”

Dietz said his slider has improved immensely as has his change up, so he won’t be just a one-pitch hurler next spring.

“I’ve been throwing my off-speed pitches for strikes more consistently,” he said.

Dietz said he is excited about the opportunity to pitch at TCU.

“It’s definitely an honor,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was good enough or not. Supposedly, I am. As for pro ball, I don’t think about it very much right now. I want to keep my priorities straight. Right now, it’s all about winning games here at John A. Logan. I think we will have a very good team next spring. Personally, I just want to keep making improvement.”