Alabama’s Golden Spikes Award finalist became the first of four Tide players selected in Wednesday’s major league draft when the Colorado Rockies took him with the 121st pick.
Matthes became the 19th Alabama product selected in the first four rounds of the draft.
“This is my first time getting drafted, so I am extremely excited,” Matthes said in a release issued by the university. “I got the call from the Rockies and I was able to share that moment with my parents and friends here and that was special. I am excited to be chosen by the Colorado Rockies. They have a great organization and were in the World Series recently.”
Entering his senior season, Matthes wasn’t viewed as much of a prospect, going undrafted following his junior season. But the right fielder quickly made a name for himself with his newly discovered power.
The Southeastern Conference’s player of the year swatted 28 home runs — eclipsing the 20 he hit in the previous two seasons combined — to lead the nation and break the school’s single-season record.
Another Tide senior, catcher Vin DiFazio, was taken by the Texas Rangers in the 14th round with the 467th pick. The junior college transfer hit .329 with seven home runs and 24 RBI.
Alabama pitchers Del Howell and Austin Hyatt were selected with consecutive picks in the 15th round. Howell, a junior, went to the Milwaukee Brewers with the 466th choice while Hyatt, a senior, was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies with pick No. 467.
Howell had a 5-3 record and a 6.53 ERA in his 11 starts while Hyatt went 8-3 with a 3.76 ERA and was a third-team All-American as well as first-team All-SEC.
As a junior, Howell still has the option of returning for his senior season. He said he will weigh his options during the summer before making a decision.
There is still another day remaining in the draft, but this year’s Alabama crop of four marks the third time since 2000 that at least four Tide players were selected.
Other players from the state chosen on Wednesday include:
• 11th, Johnny Gunter, RHP, Chattahoochee Valley Community College (Texas)
• 15th, Bryan Shield, CF, Auburn-Montgomery (Chicago Cubs).
• 19th, Jason Walls, RHP, Troy (San Francisco); Scott Shuman, RHP, Auburn (Tampa Bay)
• 29th, C.C. Watson, LHP, Cleburne County HS (Texas).
Rounds 31-50 begin at 10:30 a.m. today.