Backstop heads for professional ranks
RINDGE, N.H. (June 17, 2015) – After starting every game over his four years with the Franklin Pierce University baseball team, catcher Matt Walsh (Plymouth, Mass.) has signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees organization. He will report to the Yankees rookie-level, Gulf Coast League affiliate, the GCL Yankees, which play in Tampa, Fla.
The signing caps a standout four-year career in Rindge for Walsh, who was a three-time All-East Region selection, a three-time All-Northeast-10 selection and the 2012 Northeast-10 Rookie of the Year. He capped his career this spring as a consensus All-East Region selection for the third time and a consensus All-East Region First Team selection for the second time. He started all 52 games behind the plate and did so while posting a .366/.438/.505 line over 186 at-bats (68-for-186) out of the clean-up spot. He led the league in runs batted in (57). In addition, he ranked second in the league in hits, third in total bases (94), fourth in batting average, tied for fourth in hit by pitch (12), tied for fifth in doubles (14), seventh in on-base percentage, eighth in runs scored (44), tied for eighth in extra-base hits (18) and 11th in slugging percentage.
Walsh becomes the 41st player to advance to professional baseball under head coach Jayson King, and the 30th to sign a contract in affiliated baseball. He is one of eight Franklin Pierce products currently under professional contract this summer, as well as one of six former Ravens plying their trade with Major League affiliates.
"Matt arguably had one of the best overall careers in the history of our program," said coach King. "He is a previous Rookie of the Year, earned multiple All-Conference honors and was Franklin Pierce's [Walter] Peterson [Senior Student-Athlete of the Year] award winner this spring. Now, he adds a professional contract with the Yankees to cap off a distinguished career, and I can't think of anyone more deserving."
Walsh will become the first Raven to play professionally in the Yankees organization. Previously, pitcher Ryan Thompson '12 was drafted by the Yankees in the 36th round (1,109 overall) of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft, but did not sign and elected to return to Franklin Pierce for his senior season instead.
The Yankees field two affiliates in the Gulf Coast League, both of which play at the 11,026-seat George M. Steinbrenner Field. The facility is also the Spring Training home of the parent club, as well as home of the Tampa Yankees, who compete in the Class A Advanced Florida State League. For Walsh, the next step up the organization's ladder after the Gulf Coast League would be the Staten Island Yankees, of the Class A short-season New York-Penn League.
The Ravens (48-4) laid claim to their record-tying fifth Northeast-10 title this spring and played host to the NCAA Championship East Regional for the seventh time. Franklin Pierce captured its fourth straight Northeast-10 Northeast Division title along the way.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce baseball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).