As the 2021 MLB Draft progressed from Sunday to Tuesday, a pair of Quakers heard their names called.
Peter Matt, an outfielder who graduated from Penn in 2020, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 10th round (304th overall), and shortstop Josh Hood was drafted in the 20th round (586th overall) by the Boston Red Sox.
Out of the Ivy League, Penn had the most prospects taken in the draft, as five players in total were drafted from the Ancient Eight. Columbia’s Liam McGill was taken in the ninth round (277th overall) by the Atlanta Braves, Dartmouth’s Ben Rice was taken by the New York Yankees in the 12th round (363rd overall), and Yale’s Rohan Handa was taken in the fifth round (146th overall) by the San Francisco Giants.
Matt and Hood will become the seventh and eighth Quakers respectively to have been drafted to the MLB since current Penn baseball head coach John Yurkow took over in 2013. Additionally, since 1991, there have now been a total of 16 players drafted from Penn.
During his four years as a Quaker, Matt saw increases in almost every statistical category during each successive season he played. After a freshman year in which he averaged .223 at the plate, Matt bumped his batting average up to .308 his sophomore year and .328 his junior year. Before his senior season was cut short after eight games due to COVID-19, he averaged .457, which was good enough for 10th in the nation, and had an Ivy-high 16 hits. With 16 hits through eight games, Matt averaged two a game, good enough for second in the entire country.
After he transitioned from the infield to the outfield his sophomore year, Matt earned a second team All-Ivy nod and then followed that up by notching a first team All-Ivy selection his junior year.
With an extra year of eligibility in hand after his senior year was cut short, Matt utilized a graduate transfer to play at Duke. There, he batted at a .297 average and was third on the team in hits with 65 and second in homers with 15. That same year, Duke won the ACC Championship after Matt’s sacrifice fly RBI was the only score of the game against NC State.
Unlike Matt, Hood drew a lot of attention early after a stellar freshman year in which he was unanimously named Ivy League Rookie of the Year and was voted first team All-Ivy. That season, Hood, who played at shortstop, started in all 41 of Penn’s games and hit at a .331 clip. He also led the team with eight home runs and 25 extra-base hits.
Then, along with Matt, Hood’s sophomore season was canceled after eight games due to COVID-19. During those eight games, Hood was second on the team in hits with 10 and batted at a .263 average.
Penn has been no stranger to MLB success recently, as relief pitcher Jake Cousins became the first former Quaker to be called up to the majors since 2013. Since he’s been called up, Cousins has done quite well for the Milwaukee Brewers, pitching 9.1 total innings and giving up no earned runs and just one hit.
Time will tell if the same fate exists for both Matt and Hood.
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