Matt Rose has hit some long home runs during his college days at Georgia State University. On Friday night, his first pro hit only went a few feet. The 20-year-old made his professional debut for Eugene at DH, going 2-for-4 with a RBI single.
Rose beat out an infield single in the third for his first pro hit and then delivered a RBI single in the Emeralds three-run fifth. He grounded out to third in his first at-bat and rolled out to second in his final trip.
When the Cubs came calling in the 11th round, it wasn’t the first time Rose had heard his name called, selected in the 24th round out of Palm Bay High School in Florida by the Blue Jays in 2012. He packed his bags and headed to Georgia State.
"I wanted to come to college and mature, and Georgia State helped me to do that," Rose said. "I know I made the right decision. I want to thank my teammates and coaches for an awesome three years. This wouldn't have happened without their support."
Rose impressed head coach Greg Frady since putting on a Panther uniform. "All of us thought Matt had pro potential from his first day on campus, and he did a great job in his three years as an All-American and a very productive player,” Frady said.
The 6-foot-4 two-way player made a name for himself as a freshman, earning all-american honors for his bat at the plate and his arm on the mound. He hit .283/.365/.404 with 4 HR and 32 RBI in 166 at-bats and was 3-2 with a 2.55 ERA and five saves in 16 games, 35.1 IP.
Arm problems as a sophomore limited the right-hander to just four games on the mound, going 1-1 with a 3.92 ERA in four starts. He also spent most of the year at DH, hitting .312/.358/.535 with 11 HR and 34 RBI in 202 at-bats. He spent the summer with the Harrisonburg Turks in the Valley League and was rated as one of the top prospects, hitting .342 with 6 HR and 29 RBI in 39 games to earn all-star honors.
One of the top home run hitters in the nation (tied for 11th) Rose increased all his numbers in 2015, slugging 16 homers with 49 RBI and a .613 slugging percentage. He hit .289 and drew 31 walks while striking out 43 times. His .391 on-base percentage was a career-high and he added 16 doubles, earning first-team All-Sun Belt honors for the second time. He only appeared in three games on the mound this season, earning two saves in 2.2 innings.
While there’s plenty of attention at the majors at third base, Rose could make a quick rise through the lower levels, especially if his power converts to pro ball. You also can’t rule out pitching, since he’s listed on the Eugene roster under the pitchers.