Feb. 6, 2006
BEVERLY, MA - Hot Stove chatter flows freely in the off-season and there is always plenty of hype to go around, especially as the spring draws closer.
But for Matt Bishop, the hype is real.
The Woburn, Massachusetts native had a stellar junior season at Endicott College in which he went 5-0 on the hill with a 2.42 ERA, piling up 68 strikeouts in 52 innings of work. Those stats coupled with a fastball consistently in the high 80's and low 90's were all the Houston Astros needed to see.
Houston selected the right-handed pitcher in the 37th round of the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft. But Bishop, the first player ever drafted in Endicott College history, opted to return to the Beverly school for his senior season and the move is already paying off in 2006. Baseball America recently listed the 6-foot-1 210-pounder as the No. 3 top prospect in Division III for the 2006 MLB Draft.
"This is an obvious honor for Matt, and it's well-deserved," said Endicott baseball coach Larry Hiser. "But it hasn't changed him one bit. Matt is just one of those kids you don't have to coach. He's so humble and he raises the intensity level of the team by the way he goes about his business."
Bishop set up an office at the plate as well as on the mound. He batted .368 with eight home runs, 10 doubles and 30 RBI last spring. On the hill, Bishop faced 195 batters, issuing 23 free passes and 14 earned runs for the ECAC Tournament Champion Gulls, who received a 10-inning gem of an outing from Bishop in the semifinals.
"Matt was recruited as a shortstop, but you could see he had a very live arm. He went to Division II Bryant College and pitched 55 innings as a freshman. When he came to Endicott, Matt dragged too many walks around so a hit here or there would hurt him. But he's really worked on improving his strike to ball ratio. His production and work ethic have been great for our program," Hiser added.
During the summer, Bishop appeared in four games for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League, pitching shutout ball. In 7.1 innings of work, he fanned five, walked five and scattered four hits. After the stint on the Cape, Bishop returned to Woburn where he starred for the Cassell Club of the Boston InterCity League.
Heading up Baseball America's Division III top prospects list was Garner Wetzel, a shortstop from Millsaps College in Mississippi who was a 2005 10th round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2005, while Aurora University (Ill.) right-handed pitcher Brady Salter was the No. 2 top prospect. Salter was the New York Yankees 43rd round selection in 2005.