Coming out of high school, Matt Krook was a highly regarded pitching prospect. Due to his makeup and ability, scouts pictured him as a future top of the rotation pitcher.
The Miami Marlins snagged the left-hander with the 35th overall pick in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft. But, after a disagreement over a post-draft physical, Krook didn’t sign and decided to attend the University of Oregon instead.
“I just fell in love with everything about it [Oregon],” Krook said. “From the coaches, the facilities and the great atmosphere that the town provides towards all of its athletics. It’s an all-around good spot to go to college, and I love it.”
In his first season at Oregon, Krook was named a Louisville Slugger first-team Freshman All-American after going 2-1 with a 1.79 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 45.1 innings.
However, he only pitched half the season after feeling stiffness in pitching arm in a start against Washington.
Krook then was forced to miss his entire sophomore season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
It was a difficult time for Krook, but he finally made it back to the mound this past summer, pitching in live action in the prestigious Cape Cod League against top college players.
“You take 13 month off from anything you love and it’s tough,” Krook said. “It’s just a real honor and a weird experience to have my first go around to be out at the Cape Cod with all the best players out there. It was a pretty cool experience for me.”
Krook was brought back slowly, with his workload limited to 45-pitch, two-inning outings in the Cape Cod League.
Although he was understandably rusty at times, he also displayed the premium stuff that made him an intriguing pitcher and first-round pick out of high school.
With the college baseball season only a few weeks away, Krook said his arm is feeling “great” and that he won’t be on any sort of pitching limit this season.
“My expectations are to go out and have a great year,” Krook said. “Perform well for my team and pick up right where I left off.”
Krook has a solid three-pitch mix featuring a fastball that was already back up to the low-90s in short stints last summer. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound hurler complements his fastball with a power curve ball and an average changeup.
If Krook can prove that he is healthy and pitches as well as some people think he can, he will be a first-round pick in June’s MLB Draft.
MLB.com currently ranks Krook as the 21st ranked prospect on their preseason top 50-list. But, if he has a strong spring, while remaining healthy, he will have a shot at being a top 10 pick.
“I don’t really look too much into it,” Krook said. “I don’t worry about it all that much. I just go out and do what I can do. If I do that that will get me where I want to be and get our team where we want to be.”
Oregon is ranked 14th in Baseball America’s preseason top 25 poll after finishing last season 38-25, including a NCAA Tournament appearance.
Expectations are even higher in Eugene, Ore. this season, as they will rely heavily on their top three starting pitchers, including Krook, to lead them to the postseason.
“The expectation is pretty simple,” Krook said. “We feel like this is the year that we will get to Omaha and get it done.
“I think if everyone plays how they are suppose to play and everyone does what they can do, we have the team. I think this will be the year we do it because everyone is so good and so consistent.”
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