Tyler Matzek
Tyler Matzek (51101651627) (cropped).png
Matzek with the Atlanta Braves in 2021
Atlanta Braves – No. 68
Pitcher
Born: (1990-10-19) October 19, 1990 (age 31)
Mission Viejo, California
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
MLB debut
June 11, 2014, for the Colorado Rockies
MLB statistics
(through July 12, 2022)
Win–loss record13–21
Earned run average3.48
Strikeouts240
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Tyler Alexander Matzek (born October 19, 1990) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB). He was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the first round of the 2009 MLB draft, and made his MLB debut in 2014. He did not play in the major leagues after 2015 until he pitched for the Braves in 2020.

Career

Amateur career

Matzek played baseball at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, California, where he was a teammate of future big leaguer Kyle Hendricks.[1] He struck out 102 in 86+23 innings pitched with an 0.97 earned run average (ERA) his senior year, leading his team to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) championship and earning the CIF Orange County Player of the Year. He was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the first round, 11th overall, in the 2009 Major League Baseball draft.[2]

Colorado Rockies

On August 17, 2009, Matzek agreed to a $3.9 million signing bonus to join the Colorado Rockies organization.[3] He did not pitch professionally in 2009.

Prior to the 2010 season he was ranked by Baseball America as the 23rd best prospect in baseball. Playing for the Single-A Asheville Tourists, he compiled a win–loss record of 5–1 with a 2.92 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 89+13 innings of work over 18 starts. However, he struggled with control, walking 62 and hitting 4 batters. Prior to 2011 Baseball America ranked him as the 32nd best prospect. He started the season with the High-A Modesto Nuts, but struggled mightily, going 0-3 with a 9.82 ERA with 46 walks in 33 innings. He was demoted back to Asheville, where he made three rather unsuccessful starts before going on a "little mental break" after his start on June 17. He returned to Asheville on July 20 to finish the season.[4] He went 5-4 with a 4.36 ERA with the Tourists in 2011, striking out 74 and walking 50 in 64 innings.

Matzek started the 2012 season with Modesto.[5] He was a mid-season All-Star in the California League, going 4-3 with a 3.24 ERA before the break, striking out 83 and walking 52 in 75 innings. His second half was slightly worse than the first, and he finished 2012 going 6-8 with a 4.62 ERA, striking out a league-leading 153 and walking a league-leading 95. In 2013, he pitched for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers.[6] He was also a mid-season All-Star in the Texas League, going 3-6 with a 4.04 ERA before the break, striking out 55 and walking 40 in 75+23 innings. His second half was slightly better this year, and he finished 2013 with the Drillers 8-9 with a 3.79 ERA, striking out 95 and walking 76 in 142+13 innings. After the year, Matzek pitched for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, where in 10 games of relief, he went 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.457 WHIP, earning him a selection to the AFL Fall Stars Game. Matzek was added to the Rockies 40-man roster on November 20, 2013.[7] He started the 2014 season with the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox.[8][9] He made 12 starts for the SkySox before earning his first promotion to the major leagues, going 5-4 with a 4.05 ERA, striking out 61 and walking 31 in 66+23 innings.

Matzek was promoted to the Colorado Rockies on June 11, 2014, to replace Eddie Butler, who went on the disabled-list after his major league debut. Matzek made his major league debut that day, giving up two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in seven innings in an 8-2 victory against the Atlanta Braves.[10] He also recorded his first hit off of Julio Teherán, an infield-single in the 7th inning, and he later scored. Matzek got his first career complete game shutout September 5, 2014 vs the San Diego Padres. In the game, he gave up three hits and the Rockies won the game 3-0. At the end of the season, Matzek won 6 games while losing 11 in 19 starts.[11]

Matzek began the 2015 season in the Rockies rotation, but after experiencing control problems he was sent down to Triple-A. He would spend the rest of the season in Triple-A.[12] After having surgery towards the end of the 2015 season, Matzek began the 2016 season on the disabled list. He was outrighted off the roster at midseason and was released at the end of the season.[citation needed]

Chicago White Sox

In 2017, Matzek signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox.[13][14] He was released on March 28, 2017. After leaving the White Sox organization, Matzek did not play that year.[15]

Seattle Mariners

In 2018, he signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners. He was released on March 30, 2018.[citation needed]

Texas AirHogs

On April 12, 2018, Matzek signed with the Texas AirHogs of the independent American Association. In 88+23 innings, he struck out 93 batters but walked 66 batters.[citation needed]

Arizona Diamondbacks

On January 15, 2019, Matzek signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks following a showcase with Driveline baseball.[16] He was released on May 16, 2019.

Second stint with AirHogs

On June 9, 2019, Matzek signed with the Texas AirHogs of the American Association. He had a 2.64 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 30+23 innings pitched.[citation needed]

Atlanta Braves

On August 14, 2019, Matzek's contract was purchased by the Atlanta Braves. Matzek began his stint with the Mississippi Braves, their AA affiliate. After just one appearance in which he pitched 2+13 innings and had five strikeouts, Matzek was promoted to the Braves AAA affiliate, the Gwinnett Stripers.[citation needed]

For the 2020 season, Matzek made the Opening day roster, marking his first appearance in the majors since 2015. In 2020 he was 4-3 with a 2.79 ERA in 21 relief appearances covering 29 innings in which he struck out 43 batters.[17]

In 2021 he was 0–4 with a 2.57 ERA in 69 relief appearances in which he pitched 63 innings and struck out 77 batters.[17] In Game 6 of the 2021 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Matzek picked up the win with two perfect innings and four strikeouts. Matzek entered the game in a no-out jam with runners on second and third and struck out the side as the Braves clinched their first pennant since 1999.[18] Matzek was a relief pitcher in Game 6 of the 2021 World Series, which Atlanta won to clinch the title.

Matzek began the 2022 season with 13 relief appearances in which he went 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA. On May 17, this Braves placed him on the injured list due to shoulder inflammation. Matzek did not return to the team until July 4.

Personal life

Matzek is married to Lauren, whom he met in high school.[19] She underwent cancer treatment in 2017,[20] while convincing Tyler to continue his professional baseball career, despite the yips that frustrated both Matzek and his catching partner, his younger brother Kyle.[21] Through Michael McKenry, Matzek met Jason Kuhn, a former collegiate baseball player and Navy SEAL who trained Matzek.[22]

References

  1. ^ "Matzek stakes claim as top prep pitcher". Espn. June 9, 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  2. ^ "Rockies draft hard-throwing prep lefty". Colorado.rockies.mlb.com. March 27, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  3. ^ Jeff Smith, The Oregonian (August 18, 2009). "Oregon recruit Tyler Matzek signs late multi-million dollar deal with Rockies". Blog.oregonlive.com. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  4. ^ Whicker, Mark (July 23, 2011). "Tyler Matzek hits the reset button". Ocregister.com. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  5. ^ "Former top Rockies prospects find the road back". Hardballtalk.nbcsports.com. April 18, 2012. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  6. ^ Moss, Irv (July 20, 2013). "Tyler Matzek an improved pitcher with Double-A Tulsa Drillers". Denverpost.com. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  7. ^ "Tyler Matzek, Rockies' former No. 1 pick, added to 40-man roster". Blogs.denverpost.com. November 20, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  8. ^ Groke, Nick (February 17, 2014). "Tyler Matzek's pro journey pitching a call-up to Colorado Rockies". Denverpost.com. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  9. ^ Briggeman, Brent (April 10, 2014). "Rising star Matzek ready for altitude test". Gazette.com. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  10. ^ Patrick Saunders (December 12, 2012). "Rockies turn to rookie Tyler Matzek to debut Wednesday against Braves". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  11. ^ "Tyler Matzek Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  12. ^ "Tyler Matzek Register Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  13. ^ "Tyler Matzek hopes tough journey from 1st rounder to indy ball ends in Atlanta". March 8, 2020. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  14. ^ "White Sox' Tyler Matzek continues to battle back to the majors". South Side Sox. February 18, 2017.
  15. ^ DiComo, Anthony (October 17, 2021). "Castoff to clutch: Matzek's mettle key in G1". MLB.com. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  16. ^ "Robert Murray on Twitter".
  17. ^ a b "Tyler Matzek Stats". Baseball-Reference.com.
  18. ^ "'Mind-blowing what he just did': Tyler Matzek makes name for himself in leading Atlanta to World Series". USA Today.
  19. ^ Saunders, Patrick (October 12, 2020). "Tyler Matzek, former Rockies' top pick, overcomes yips to shine for Braves' bullpen". Denver Post. Retrieved October 26, 2021. Republished by the Fort Morgan Times
  20. ^ Whicker, Mark (October 25, 2021). "Braves' Tyler Matzek is putting finishing touches on a monumental comeback". Orange County Register. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
  21. ^ Apstein, Stephanie (October 24, 2021). "Tyler Matzek's Improbable Journey to Immortality in Atlanta". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
  22. ^ Saunders, Patrick (October 26, 2021). "How Tyler Matzek conquered the yips and became the MLB postseason's most dominant reliever: "He's all heart and courage"". Denver Post. Retrieved October 26, 2021. Republished by the Press-Telegram