Prep Baseball Report

Q&A with West Virginia Commit Matt McCormick

By Matt Huck
Area Scout

Recently 2019 C Matt McCormick of St. Laurence committed to West Virginia. McCormick is currently ranked No. 1 in the Class of 2019 in Illinois and No. 13 in the PBR Overall Ranks. McCormick participated in the PBR Future Games in Indiana this past August, representing Team Illinois. Here is a report on him from the event.

Matt McCormickFuture Games 2016 - The 6-foot, 190-pound left-handed hitter, strong, sturdy build, solid lower half, wider shoulders. Advanced plate approach, mature beyond his years. Keeps it simple, minimal moving parts, direct, flat path, extremely strong hands which he uses to backspin balls to all fields. The ball jumps off his barrel with ease and carry. Takes pitches extremely well, calm demeanor in the box, high level of barrel awareness and strike zone. Registered 97 mph exit velocity. Although his left-handed bat is certainly his carrying tool, defensively he is solid. He had pop times that ranged between 1.97-2.07 with accuracy, and was 77 mph from the crouch. 

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

McCormick: Initially I thought that if there was any interest it would come gradually as I got more exposure and played a high school season or so. It didn’t turn out that way though as the colleges started contacting me through Coach Pete Lotus and my coach from Chicago Elite Brian Forystek while I was still in grade school.  That turned into multiple D1 offers prior to my first High School game at St. Laurence this past season and it didn’t slow down until this week when I committed to play in the Big 12 with West Virginia University. This process wasn’t easy or difficult but it sure was stressful because it all happened very quickly and became sort of overwhelming so I had to slow the process down in order to make the decision that was right for me. These were the best coaches in the country with wonderful facilities who were all very nice and wanted me to commit. To make matters worse, while all this was going on I lost my grandfather LeMaster to cancer, my dad’s uncle died and my grandmother was diagnosed with leukemia so 2016 really made me focus on including my family in the decision. Therefore, it took awhile for me to decide but, since I did not start the process, my family and I just tried to survive it. Taking the time to consider all the factors, the schools and all the options was key for me and I know I made the right choice. I want to thank Coach Lotus, Brian Forystek, and my dad for helping me through all this, it wasn’t easy but we did it. Also, Iam very thankful to former St Laurence teammates Jack Cavanaugh, Jake Diaz, George Madera and Anthony Rios for always being there when I had questions.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

McCormick: I wanted to play for a program that knows how to play the game and win but, most importantly, develop its players to the next level. Unfortunately for me all of the schools I visited met those requirements and made the decision that much harder. Facilities and rings were not the most important things, I just really get the most fun out of my coaches and my teammates so I wanted to go to a place where I would enjoy them and the college atmosphere. I had to consider all of these things and it takes time to make the best decision possible. So what my dad did was go over all the contacts from coaches we had and scheduled some visits based on the conversations we had and what other people we respected had to say about the schools. When we visited the schools I looked for things I liked and disliked and I found that there wasn’t much I disliked about any of them. These were top level schools with great baseball programs, it was not an easy decision until I visited West Virginia where all the things I wanted in a school and program were available

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

McCormick: Distance was a factor and became more of a focus when my grandpa died in August when I was in Los Angeles for the Area Code Games. Then when the other things happened it became more of a consideration.  My grandma lives in Eastern Kentucky which is only a couple hours from WVU so that was helpful in deciding on WVU. She is all excited now and is already planning on driving to Morgantown to see all my games.  Without WVU I probably would have stayed in the Midwest to play college ball.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

McCormick: The recruiting process started when I went to a college camp in 7th grade but really heated up when I attended the John Cangelosi College Camp in January of 8th Grade. Cangy is not only the best hitting instructor around but he puts on one of the best showcases in the country. Lots of college coaches and it’s very well run.  I then attended the Perfect Game Underclass showcase in Iowa in the summer of 2015 and the PBR Futures games in Indy along with the Area Code games in California this year. From that point the phone calls increased. I really don’t think it was any one event that was the key to my recruitment. It was a series of events that exposed me to enough colleges that the interest just snowballed. I just needed the time to sort through everything and figure out which schools I wanted to visit.

PBR: Where did the college you chose first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

McCormick: Coach Sabins at WVU said he saw me on some video and he really liked what he saw and decided to follow me. He said he called a couple people around here that he respected and asked them questions. During the HS season he flew up here to see St. Laurence play St. Rita. After that we kept in touch and we said hello at a couple showcases and tournaments this past summer. My dad and I finally got out to WVU in October where we got a tour of the campus and the facilities which I really like a lot.  Since I first met the coaches at WVU I have become very comfortable talking with them.

PBR: What do you like most about the college you committed to and what were the key factors in making your decision?

McCormick: My mom is from eastern Kentucky and I really like the area. My mom’s family all live only a couple hours from WVU so that is an important issue for me. I have been going there since I was born. They are all excited and planning on season tickets to all the WVU games. Proximity is a factor but not the key factor. I was really impressed with Coach Mazey and Coach Sabins. It was obvious they really wanted me and they showed it in many ways from being very respectful to my family to offering me a very nice scholarship. Also, the baseball supporting staff is awesome. Every part of the program from academic advising to strength and conditioning is outstanding.  It’s a great place to get better. I also think the program is on the rise and they have some good recruits coming in. They will make it to Omaha very soon. 

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

McCormick: Arizona State, Iowa, Texas, Arizona and Indiana.

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

McCormick: That probably happened about 3 years ago when I quit hockey to focus on baseball.  I had been doing very well the past couple seasons and just enjoyed playing baseball so much I wanted to give it my best shot. Then when my coaches, who all played pro baseball suggested I should focus on baseball I listened.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

McCormick: Listen to your coaches and respect your teammates. Hard work and practicing the right way are very important but respect is what will get you to the next level.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

McCormick: I have been lucky to have played on some great teams with the Sparks, Chicago Elite and at St. Laurence but that Sectional Championship game against Brother Rice was just the best!  Rice was so good but we were ready and played well. I could not have been happier for my coaches and teammates. 

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?

McCormick: St Laurence will have 7 returning starters and have added a very talented RHP to the rotation. If we work hard and play well we could have an even better season. I expect us to compete every game.

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

McCormick: I play for Chicago Elite in the summer and for Chicago Scouts Assoc in the fall. I really enjoyed the CSA trip to Atlanta last year, it was the most fun road trip I was ever on. On Chicago Elite we have fun all the time when we play in the summer and when we work out in the winter- it’s a great team.

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