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2021 Mets Draft profile: Matt Rudick

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With their thirteenth selection in the 2021 draft, the Mets selected Matt Rudick, an outfielder from San Diego State University.

Matthew Rudick attended Scripps Ranch High School in his hometown of San Diego. He lettered all four years he was there, standing out as an outfielder and as a left-handed pitcher. At the plate, he hit a cumulative .360/.426/.508 with 8 home runs, 28 stolen bases, and 43 walks to 24 strikeouts in 118 total games. On the mound, he posted a 0.93 ERA in 90.1 innings, allowing 56 hits, walking 32 and striking out 107. He was named 2016 Eastern League Player of the Year after hitting .481/.523/.712 with 5 homers and 14 stolen bases and posting a 1.48 ERA in 28.1 innings with 22 hits, 9 walks, and 33 strikeouts, and was considered one of the better prep players to come out of California available in the 2017 MLB Draft. He ended up going undrafted and honored his commitment to San Diego State.

Rudick made 57 starts and played in 59 of San Diego State’s 60 games in 2018, primarily playing left field. He had an impressive collegiate debut, hitting .319/.419/.363 with 0 home runs, 5 stolen bases, and 34 walks to 34 strikeouts. His batting average was fourth on the team and the highest a freshman player had posted since 2000. That summer, he played for the Willmar Stingers of the Northwoods League before returning to San Diego for his sophomore season. Rudick experienced no sophomore slump in 2019, hitting .320/.403/.394 in 57 games as the Aztec’s lead-off hitter. After the season ended, he played for the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape Cod League and was fairly successful in the prestigious wood bat league, hitting .287/.374/.409 in 35 games with 3 home runs, 5 stolen bases, and 13 walks to 19 stolen bases.

He started all 16 games San Diego State played in 2020 before the season was suspended due to COVID-19, making 10 starts in right and six in center, and hit .313/.347/.478 with 1 home run, 3 stolen bases, and 4 walks to 6 strikeouts. He went undrafted in the 2020 MLB Draft and supplemented his limited playing time by playing with the Warriors of the San Diego League, a now-defunct college summer wood bat league with an analytical bend, where he won League Player of the Year honors. The 22-year-old returned to San Diego State in 2021 for his redshirt junior season and hit .410/.484/.567 in 44 games with 4 home runs, 17 stolen bases, and 26 walks to 9 strikeouts. He led the Aztecs in multiple offensive categories and was named to numerous honorary teams.

At the plate, Rudick stands slightly open, holding his hands high. He uses a moderate leg kick and has a smooth, easy left-handed swing with slight loft. He swings a quick bat and consistently makes solid contact. Majority of his hits are singles, and at 5’9”, 170-pounds at the age of 23, he is unlikely to grow into more power. Regardless, he has line drive power to all fields with the occasional home run to his pull side and does not try to do too much at the plate, knowing the kind of hitter he is and his own limitations. Aiding his ability to make solid contact is his strong eye and advanced approach at the plate, which allows him to draw plenty of walks, rarely strike out, wear out pitchers by laying off or fouling off pitches, and grinding out at-bats.

Though a pitcher during his high school days, his fastball sat around 85 MPH, which is more or less why his time on the mound ended once he began college save a few innings as a collegiate athlete while playing in the Northwoods and Cape Cod Leagues. While, as a pitcher an 85 MPH fastball would be firmly below average, even for a left-hander, 85 MPH is firmly average for a left and center fielder. His fringe-average speed will likely limit him to just left, but he has the ability to occasionally play center.