June 10, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE - John A. Logan College All-American righthanded pitcher Matthias Dietz was drafted in the second round Thursday by the Baltimore Orioles in the opening day of the Major League Baseball Draft.

Dietz went 69th overall, the third amateur player selected by the Orioles on the day. Scouts had him projected anywhere from a late first-round to third-round pick.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound flame-thrower from Orland Park was recently named Junior College Pitcher of the Year by the national publication, Perfect Game USA.

"I had an idea that it could be the Orioles," Dietz said Friday from his Chicago-area home. "And I'm fine with it. I will admit it was a little nerve-wracking at times, the wait and all. I'm glad that part of it is over."

Dietz finished the spring season for the Volunteers with a 12-1 overall record, third-best in the country; was fifth best in earned-run-average at 1.22; and seventh-best in strikeouts at 117.

Only one Logan player has ever been drafted higher than Dietz. That was righthanded pitcher John Ambrose, who was the 41st overall player taken in 1994 by the Chicago White Sox.

"I just feel very blessed," Dietz said. "The way things stand right now, I will probably sign with the Orioles and then go to Sarasota, Florida for a physical and then get assigned either to a Rookie League or low Class A league. My work's not over. It's just getting started."

He would be leaving a full-ride scholarship to Texas Christian University on the table.

Dietz consistently hit the radar gun at 92-to-93 mph this spring as a starting pitcher, often throwing a complete game and would occasionally spike at 95. When throwing short stints last fall out of the bullpen, he touched 98 mph.

"I am more than happy I chose to go to Logan for two years," Dietz said. "I was happy there and things came together for me when I was there. It was definitely the right move for me."

Vols longtime head coach Jerry Halstead said Dietz was as good, if not better, than advertised.

"First of all, I'm very happy for Matthias. It's not a shock to me that he went as high as he did and it speaks volumes about how special a season he had for us."

Halstead said Dietz possesses a good fastball, a decent slider, and an improving change up.

"He did everything we asked of him and then some," Halstead said. "I am confident that Matthias has the tools to be an effective starter, but if for some reason things don't work out, he is more than capable as a reliever."

Halstead said success stories like Dietz enhance the Logan baseball program's credibility.

"I think it makes it very clear that when a talented player like a Dietz comes here, he has a chance to raise his stock with us. History is on our side. Matthias went from a 29th-round pick last summer to a second-rounder this summer. That says a lot about the work he put in, and we'd like to think we helped a little, too."

Slot money for Dietz's draft spot is projected at $930,400.