Matzek leaves Asheville to work with pitching instructor

June 29, 2011 | 11:24 am | 18  

Struggling left-hander Tyler Matzek was given permission by the Colorado Rockies to leave low Class A Asheville on Sunday to return to California for about two weeks and work with the pitching instructor who helped him as an amateur.

The unusual step came after Matzek, 20, made three unsuccessful starts at Asheville after he began the season at high Class A Modesto and had minimal success. He is a combined 0-5, 10.71 in 13 starts with 61 walks and 47 strikeouts in 42 innings.

Matzek made his third start for Asheville on June 17. After the three-day break for the South Atlantic League All-Star Game, the Tourists resumed play June 23 at home with assistant general manager Bill Geivett there. Initially, Matzek was going to be pulled from the rotation to throw side sessions and simulated games and stay with the Tourists as he worked his way back into pitching in games. But the Rockies agreed on the more aggressive and experimental strategy of letting Matzek leave the team and try to fix his mind set and his mechanics in California.

Roving pitching coordinator Bo McLaughlin is expected to visit Matzek in California.

The Rockies drafted Matzek 11th overall in 2009 out of Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, Calif. and gave him a franchise-record $3.9 million signing bonus. The size of their investment obviously influenced the Rockies decision to let Matzek go work with his personal pitching instructor. But the Rockies strongly believe in Matzek’s talent and desire and are convinced he ultimately will succeed in a big way and are willing to take this unconventional to help make that happen.

Read more about Matzek’s struggles in InsideTheRockies.com’s latest farm report.

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18 Comments »

  • Marty | June 29, 2011 | 11:30 am

    Can’t hurt. Hopefully he shows some progress upon his return.

  • Michael | June 29, 2011 | 1:27 pm

    I’m no baseball insider but I’ve been suggesting this for several weeks. Why the Rockies thought Matzek could solve this himself or that his coaches were getting through to him is the big question.

    This, development wise, a wasted season and now Matzek has a lot of baggage. His talent gives hope but it’s going to be a long, rocky road back to success, confidence and possible MLB top-tier prospect status.

  • Agbayani | June 29, 2011 | 1:45 pm

    Wow. We’re getting close to a Rick Ankiel situation. Can Matzek hit?

  • Marc | June 29, 2011 | 2:00 pm

    Assuming this sabbatical yields positive results, does it create an interesting dynamic?
    From everything I have read; it has been player development and his minor league coaches who prescribed the mechanical changes. If that is correct, and assuming he goes back to his pre draft mechanics, does the organization resign itself to the mechanics that it was convinced may not lead to long term success?

  • rockymountainhigh | June 29, 2011 | 3:17 pm

    Hope Matzek doesn’t go David Clyde on us.

  • progmatinee | June 29, 2011 | 4:11 pm

    I thought he played 1B in highschool and had really good numbers. I remember asking if they would try him a little at both positions when he was first drafted.

  • progmatinee | June 29, 2011 | 4:15 pm

    Found his HS batting stats
    http://www.maxpreps.com/athletes/cvj6ZoyOG0yt-2X6bv5Pqw/baseball-spring-09/stats-tyler-matzek.htm#batting

    112 PA he had 8 HRs, 6 2B, and a BA of over .400.

  • Cameo | June 29, 2011 | 4:52 pm

    The fact that Ankiel actually made it to the bigs and had a pretty successful rookie campaign makes it quite a bit different than Matzek. Matzek hasn’t done anything in pro ball.

  • Michael | June 29, 2011 | 6:29 pm

    Marc, some very interesting questions you pose. I think Matzek looked very good last year, enough to continue getting high praise from scouts and media. His biggest problem in my eyes, the casual observer is a bad lack of control. Too many walks. Thing is I’d take that 2010 control, which was a challenge to overcome over the “sickness” that has been 2011. Matzek looks like a fantasy camp dude this year.

    The player has to take responsibility but I think this is most heavily on the coaches and organization. This franchise just doesn’t develop pitchers well. There are some success stories but many more failures.

  • ali the great | June 29, 2011 | 9:26 pm

    Wonderful goes back to his so called pitching coach. Are we really serious here. So basically if he fixes this kid then someone needs to offer him a job. This guy has no pro baseball experience whatsoever. Now lets say this doesn’t work, then what?

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | June 29, 2011 | 11:37 pm

    “This franchise just doesn’t develop pitchers well. There are some success stories but many more failures.”

    Uh, that’s every team, is it not? With the success of Francis, Ubaldo, DLR, Hammel*, and Chacin, the Rockies seem to be doing pretty well. (*Hammel and DLR are different than the other 3 since they had ML experience prior to joining the organization, but the Rockies were the 1st to coax successful performances out of them.)

    Plus, the team is able to do this while playing in the #1 hitters park in the majors (yes, even with the humidor).

    You’re going to have to substantiate your claim that the org is not good at developing pitching.

  • Agbayani | June 30, 2011 | 12:18 am

    Mike, it is correct to say that this team just can’t develop pitchers they’ve DRAFTED. Obviously that’s a combination of some poor scouting/decisonmaking (Casey Weathers, Greg Reynolds, Chaz Roe) and the inability to get those drafted pitchers to improve (Friedrich, Matzek). It really is astonishing that they haven’t developed a drafted pitcher who’s had any kind of major league career since Jeff Francis in 2004. You’d think that they’d get lucky some year, but it just doesn’t happen. I know pitchers are the most unpredictable and fragile of all draft picks in any sport, but this is getting ridiculous. Peter Tago, no pressure or anything …

  • Max | June 30, 2011 | 1:06 am

    For a pitcher who was signed for over $4m the Rockies must now be questioning who it was that authorized that huge signing bonus for an 18 year old out of High School. Hopefully Matzek will one day show the investment was worth it.

  • Lou Budrow | June 30, 2011 | 2:55 am

    Why didn’t they draft Tyler Skaggs ? I think they need to take a look at there cross checkers. I’m 71 years old and i have been involved in youth baseball in California my whole life. I had spoke with all the south coast scouts. Skaggs was my guy from day one. he was a baby faced,raw, tall and strong skinny ( all muscle) 3 sport athlete. Matzek was already mature, not a lot of growth potential. Skaggs has put on 20 pounds and 5-7 mph on his fastball and he is only 19. he signed at 17 years old at 6-2 190 lbs . now he is 6-5 210 and still growing. sorry colorado but you picked the wrong Tyler..

  • Agbayani | June 30, 2011 | 11:01 am

    It’s awfully unfair to blame the Rockies for drafting Matzek. He was a consensus pick as the top lefty in the draft. We (myself included) have blamed the Monforts for being unwilling to take the really high upside prospects based on expected bonus demands. Here, they did take a reasonable chance. So far it’s been a bust and things are looking bleak, but realistically he has until this time next year to show some progress. I’d expect him to play somewhere low pressure this fall since he’s been so bad he really hasn’t racked up many innings this summer — maybe the Hawaii fall league?

  • Lou Budrow | June 30, 2011 | 12:12 pm

    The only reason he was the top lefty was because of the velosity. Scouts put too much emphisis on velosity. He played in a less than average league so of course he would dominate. Just like Hobgood did. Both pitchers have struggled. I understand all the variables involved and i wish the best to all the kids playing ball.but with the money being handed out you better make sure your scouting reports are A number one. Look at donavan tate. big bucks for nothing, The scout’s i talked to would not have picked him because of his outside of baseball activities. they were right. but one team took that chance and boy are they suffering for it. nice chatting with you . please excuse my spelling at 71 i cant see some of the keys.

  • Don Russell | July 1, 2011 | 10:34 am

    If you’re suggesting Matzek’s high school league was average, I beg to disagree. South Orange County, CA has, and continues to, produce top quality talent for MLB. Two recent examples are Mark Trumbo (Angels 1B and Phil Hughes (Yankees P.) In fact, another member of Asheville’s pitching rotation, Peter Tago, comes from the cross-town rival high school of Matzek.

  • Freddy | July 1, 2011 | 11:36 am

    The kid is 20years old give him a break. He is still learning how to pitch in the pro’s. In highschool you might have 2 or 3 good hitters in the pros everybody hits, relax people!