Appalachian State University baseball senior right-hand pitcher Matt Brill was selected in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 12th round (No. 352 overall) on Wednesday afternoon.
Brill becomes the first App State baseball player to be drafted in the top 12 rounds since Garrett Sherrill in 2008 (12th round, No. 368 overall) and the 10th Mountaineer all-time to go in the first 12 rounds.
“I feel extremely grateful to have an opportunity to continue to play the game that I love at the next level,” Brill said. “I thank my family, friends, coaches and teammates for helping me along the way.”
“I am so proud of Matt!” App State head baseball coach Kermit Smith said. “During one of my first days on the job, he walked into my office and told me about his goals. It was very obvious that he was determined to do great things. What a great day to watch him achieve one of the many that he spoke of. The Diamondbacks just got an incredibly motivated young man.”
After recovery from Tommy John surgery that took him out for the 2016 season, Brill returned stronger than ever in 2017, becoming Appalachian’s closer – finishing a team-high 16 games last season. The Coal Valley, Illinois native finished with four saves and a career-low 4.45 ERA and career-high 38 strikeouts. Holding opponents to a career- and team-best .198 batting average, Brill achieved almost a 2.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (38 strikeouts, 16 walks) over the course of the season. On the year, he made nine no-hit and 13 scoreless appearances.
Against the Sun Belt Conference, Brill held opponents to a .169 batting average while allowing just 13 runs over 27.2 innings for a 3.72 ERA. He also punched out 22 hitters in league play on the year.
At the plate, Brill ended the season strong, hitting .304 over his last 17 appearances while getting 17 hits, four doubles and all five of his home runs. He finished with eight RBI in 69 at-bats overall while leading the team with a .536 slugging percentage.
For his career, the hard-throwing right-hander finished with 29 appearances, two starts and four saves in 41.2 innings of work. He finished with 51 strikeouts and a .209 opponents batting average. In the batter’s box, Brill finished .286 for his career, with 81 hits, 15 doubles, 11 homers and 38 RBI for a .456 slugging percentage.
Brill was previously drafted out of high school, selected in the 24th round (716th overall) of the 2013 MLB Draft by the New York Mets. He was the first high-school player from the state of Illinois selected in the 2013 draft and the first player from Moline High School to be drafted since 1969.
Brill becomes the 42nd Mountaineer to hear his name called in the MLB Draft since 1969 and the 13th player in the last five years.