Former No. 1 Matzek Looks to Revive Career in Independent League

Tyler Matzek was a phenom. The 11th player selected in the 2009 draft, and given a $3.9 million signing bonus by the Rockies, he was rated the 23rd best prospect in baseball in 2010, before he even threw his first professional pitch.

Nine years later, Matzek is looking to hang on. Released out of minor league camps at the end of spring training by the White Sox in 2017, and the Mariners this year, Matzek has signed with the Texas Air Hogs, a member of the independent American Association, to pitch this season.

Matzek pitched for Palm Springs Chill, an independent winter league in California, to try and restart his career. It led to his spring invite by the Mariners, but after that failed to work out he decided to sign with the Air Hogs.

Matzek spent parts of the 2014-15 seasons with the Rockies. He was 8-12 with a 4.06 ERA in 25 games, 24 starts. He, however, underwent surgery, and was released after the 2016 season by the Rockies.  

"Being with the Rockies was a great opportunity, and a great experience, obviously," Matzek told the Desert Sun newspaper. "I had some great teammates up there and my catcher most of the time was Mike McKenry, and he was great for me, and we have a lifetime friendship from the time we spent up there. Those are the kind of things I think about from my time up there."

Even in his pro debut at Class A Asheville there were signs of concern hidden behind the fact he went 5-1 with a 2.92 ERA in 18 games for the Tourists. He struck out 89 batters in 89 1/3 innings, but walked 62 and hit four batters.

"I just kind of lost control, couldn't hit the zone as consistently as I should have," Matzek said.

In Monday's Games:

Triple-A Albuquerque (6-6) won 12-11 against Sale Lake City. Tom Murphy tied a team record with three doubles. Drew Weeks hit his fourth home run. Jason Fuentes hit his first home run. Austin House earned a one-pitch save.

Double-A Hartford (2-7) was postponed for the second day in a row. Hartford will make up Monday's postponement as part of a doubleheader at Portland on Tuesday.

High-A Lancaster (6-6) lost 4-1 against Rancho Cucamonga. Matt Dennis (0-3) allowed three runs, two earned, in five innings. The Jethawks were limited to four singles and committed five errors.

A Asheville (2-9) lost 9-6 to Rome. Antonio Santos allowed four runs in six innings striking out nine without a walk. Casey Golden hit his third home run, raising his average to .340.



Tracy RingolsbyComment