From the Wire … Matt Szczur Commits to the Cubs

According to a report from Baseball America, Matt Szczur “has committed to the Cubs and given up a possible NFL career.” Szczur gave the Cubs a verbal agreement and his new contract “is contingent on him passing a physical.”

Szczur originally signed for $100,000 on July 2. His contract at the time called for a $500,000 bonus if he did not attend the NFL combine and provided a written commitment to the Cubs by February 10. According to Jim Callis, the Cubs will pay Szczur $1.5 million to play baseball.

Baseball America ranked Matt Szczur (pronounced Caesar) the seventh best prospect in the Cubs’ system prior to the Matt Garza trade … as well as the Best Athlete and Fastest Baserunner.

Jim Callis reported that Szczur’s “tools may translate better to baseball” than Jeff Samardzija and “his hitting skills could make him a special player.”

From Baseball America:

“Szczur has a knack for barreling balls, which combined with his top-of-the-scale speed will allow him to hit for high averages. He has hit some 400-foot bombs in batting practice, and once he gets more coaching and learns to finish through the ball better, he could have average or better power. He’s still refining his basestealing and baserunning, but his speed alone makes him a threat. Villanova football coach Andy Talley says Szczur is his fastest player ever, ahead of star NFL running back Brian Westbrook.

In his short time in pro ball, Szczur’s center-field play and his throwing made significant strides. He’ll have plus-plus range once he improves his jumps, and his arm strength rated as average after he loosened up and lost some of his football tightness. His competitiveness and work ethic are impeccable.”

Szczur was drafted by the Dodgers in the 38th round of the 2007 draft before deciding to play baseball and football at Villanova. Szczur hit .347/.414/.465/.879 with 10 doubles and a triple in 25 games (Rookie Ball, Boise Hawks and Peoria Chiefs) after signing his pro contract with the Cubs.

Matt Szczur’s Page on Baseball-Reference

The Cubs have persuaded another potential NFL wide receiver to play baseball.

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  • Demitri

    Cubs must have hope for this guy to give him 1.5 mil

  • GrantJones7

    Neil, If we can re-do the top 15 list let me know, now that he is committed i will put him top 6 probly, sorry i dont have time before school to send out an email to you about this

    • Neil

      Grant, I sent you an email.

      • GrantJones7

        Sounds good, il look now

  • John_CC

    *Jim Callis reported that Szczur’s “tools may translate better to baseball” than Jeff Samardzija and “his hitting skills could make him a special player.”

    ahhhh…Let’s hope so, huh?

  • Gary J

    THIS ladies and gentlemen is a good thing. It’s all going to depend on how he adjusts to the higher level of competition – but all signs point to this kid blossoming now that he’s focused on one sport and he’s a good enough athlete that we could be looking at the 2013 center fielder and lead off hitter. Seriously. He’s rated as a top 10 prospect in the system and he hasn’t played a single minor league game yet. He’s good people :-)

    • GrantJones7

      He played a lot last year..

      • Gary J

        you’re 100% right – my bad. I assumed that since he hadn’t committed, he hadn’t played… but apparently it was his success in the minors that played a part in his decision.

        But looking at those minors stats… .347/.414 for a guy with his speed is really encouraging

  • paulcatanese

    Obviously Szczur made the right choice. As the Maven had pointed out earlier that the young man has average speed at best for football its good for baseball. The other thing,he did not play at a high level of football and would soon find out what his shortcomings are. And again the injury factor made this a simple decision for him,plus the $$. After reading his interview in twitter by Paul Sullivan I am convinced his choice was Baseball all along and would have never considerd football,smart business on his part. As for JH telling him that he would like to see him as the starting center fielder in 2014 is typical of someone wanting that player. Have heard that lin from many,many recruiters in the past,and he should take it as just “he wants me to sign”I cannot see Jackson just moving over and leting him have center, but its a nice position for the Cubs. Its a no brainer that this kid is much better at Baseball and in the end the right choice for him.