Draft Profile: Matt Jensen

Seattle Hardball talked to Clovis East High School (CA) coach Jeff Prieto about Matt Jensen, Seattle's 11th-round draft pick. Will Jensen sign with the Mariners or head to college? Read on for more.

When I asked Clovis East High School (CA) baseball coach Jeff Prieto to sum up Matt Jensen in a few words, his answer was clear: "He's a stud."

Jensen was the 11th-round choice of the Mariners in this year's draft, but Prieto said he'd heard that the M's were interested in choosing him as high as the 3rd round, if not for some signability concerns. Jensen has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Cal Poly, and Prieto said that Jensen was given a impressive scholarship package in attempt to woo him to college should he be drafted in a higher round. Prieto said that Jensen's scholarship offer rivaled that of former Cal Poly pitcher Garrett Olson, who is now in the starting rotation for the Baltimore Orioles. Even though Matt was drafted as a second baseman, Cal Poly is reportedly interested in using him in their starting rotation along with playing him in the infield.

Prieto said that Matt compares favorably with former Fresno-area high school stars Aaron Hill and Jason Donald --- the former is with the Toronto Blue Jays and the latter is working his way steadily up the Phillies organization. Jensen played three years at shortstop but Prieto moved him to second base this year to help preserve his arm. Matt was a starting pitcher all four years at Clovis East.

Jensen was a two-sport athlete, and Prieto says he would have been the team's best running back but that he was a bit banged up, so he played mostly on defense. Like Hill and Donald, Prieto says that Jensen is "just a great athlete. He's a real pure hitter, has good makeup, and a great work ethic. He's been our guy for four years." Prieto continued, "He's by far the best high school or JC guy in the (Fresno) area this year, and one of the top prospects in the area overall."

Although he had not talked to Matt personally since he learned of his draft status, Prieto believes that he is leaning toward college. "He can get a free education and work on his game. He's thinking about maybe where he can go in three years." Prieto acknowledged, though, that it Jensen may consider signing with the M's if they bring an attractive offer.

Prieto says that Mariner scout Tom Davis had been following Jensen for some time. "I've been hands on with Tommy all year. He's been coming to a lot of our games and practices. His son played for my granddad (Bob Bennett) at Fresno State."

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