In 2009, the Mets used their first pick, 72nd overall, in the MLB draft on a high school senior named Steve Matz. The lefty played his high school at Ward Melville, located in Setauket, New York, located a little over an hour east of Citi Field on Long Island. You might say he was born to play for Mets.
Because he did not officially sign with the team until mid-August, Matz didn’t get an opportunity to play professional ball in 2009. Poised to play in 2010, Matz suffered a setback when he underwent Tommy John surgery last May, and thus has yet to throw a pitch for the Mets organization. Now nearly nine months into the rehab process, Matz will most likely be assigned to one of the Mets short-season affiliates in 2011. Fortunately for RisingApple.com, Steve was kind enough to take some time and answer a few questions about the rehab process, high school, his future and development and more. Steve won’t be on the major league scene for a few years, but we at RisingApple.com wish him the best of luck and look forward to watching him develop in the Mets farm system.
Q: Going to school on Long Island, did you grow up a Met fan? If so, what was that like? If not, what was your favorite team growing up?
A: Yes I did grow up a Met fan. I loved watching all baseball but would root for the Mets. Some of my family are bigger Met fans than me so it was really cool to get drafted by the Mets.
Q: What has the rehab process been like recovering from Tommy John surgery?
A: The process recovering from Tommy John has been a roller coaster ride. Some days you feel great, other days it feels stiff. It’s a long process and I got to just be patient. That is the main thing-just being patient.
Q: What would you say is your approach to pitching?
A: I haven’t really established myself in professional baseball enough to say my approach. Back in high school I would attack hitters with fastballs and rely on that. Pro ball is a whole different game though. I am going to have get command of my change up and curveball to really be successful.
Q: What pitcher would you say your most model yourself after, and why?
A: That’s tough to say. My style of pitching is similar to Andy Pettitte I guess. Not super over powering, big leg kick. I guess that’s the best I can give you.
Q: You are expected to begin the year with a short season team. What do you hope to gain in your first professional baseball season?
A: This year I hope to just pitch healthy the whole season and try to gain command on all of my pitches, because command is key in this game.
Q: Is it intimidating to be still relatively young, working out with the veterans around Port St. Lucie?
A: Definitely not intimidating. If anything it is beneficial because these are the guys who have been in my situation and have to work there way up. They are all friendly and I like to pick their brains, and get anything I can get. Some have even been through Tommy John surgery as well so it’s good to have someone with you who’s been through it.
Q: While rehabbing, you’ve been working out close to home. What has that experience been like now that you are with the Mets organization?
A: I have been at Garden City. I love it there. My therapist Tim Mauro has been great and really helped me. They also have a training facility in the back so I have been doing that as well to stay in shape. I love it.
Q: What would you say is your best pitch? Which one would you say you’d like to improve the most?
A: My best pitch is my fastball right now. I mostly relied on that in high school. I would like to improve my change and curveball’s command wise and making it all look similar out of my hand. I may even want to add a cutter down the line.
Q: What was your greatest high school baseball moment?
A: My greatest high school baseball moment was when I faced Pat-Med [Patchogue-Medfod] High School. It was me vs. [Marcus] Stroman. Stroman is now at Duke and doing unbelievable. We ended up winning 1-0. We both went seven innings there were tons of fans. We won-scored on a dropped third strike. That was a fun game.
Q: Is there any major leaguer currently playing that you would love to pitch against?
A: No not necessarily. I just want to get there; I don’t care who I pitch against.
Q: My friend who went to Ward Melville said that making an entrance at prom was a huge deal. If this is true, what kind of entrance did you make?
A: [Laughing] Yeah. It is a huge deal. I didn’t do anything too fancy just a big party bus with a bunch of people.