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Matt Brunson

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Larry Matthew Brunson

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[edit] Biographical Information

Matt Brunson is a former minor league player who played from 1994 to 1996 and from 2005 to 2007. A former first-round draft pick, Brunson was deemed a bust after washing out in three years. He is the son of former NFL wide receiver Larry Brunson.

[edit] Draft

Known for his glovework, Matt had hit .429 as a high school senior with 16 steals. He was drafted 9th overall in the first round by the Detroit Tigers in the 1993 amateur draft and offered an $800,000 signing bonus. Matt was just the third position player taken, following Alex Rodriguez and Trot Nixon and ahead of Derrek Lee, Jason Varitek, Torii Hunter and others who went on to greater stardom.

[edit] 1994-1995: Tigers prospect

Before he played a game, tools-focused Baseball America rated him as the #4 prospect in the Tigers organization. Matt debuted on a sour note with the Fayetteville Generals and Lakeland Tigers. While his 53 steals and 83 walks led the Tigers' minor leaguers, he only hit .216/.367/.247 for Fayetteville and .179/.273/.257 for Lakeland. Still, thanks to his speed and walks, he scored 79 runs, only two less than Detroit minor league leader Bobby Higginson. He finished second to Jeremy Kindall in stolen bases (50) in the South Atlantic League. Baseball America moved him up to second on their list of Tigers prospects, behind only Tony Clark.

Brunson fared no better in 1995. He hit .129/.272/.159 for Lakeland and .222/.329/.306 for Fayetteville. He stole 25 bases in 33 attempts overall.

[edit] 1996: Marlins minor leaguer

He was traded to the Florida Marlins for Randy Veres on March 11, 1996. With the Brevard County Manatees, his third year in A ball looked like the first two. He hit .205/.322/.242 and stole 28 bases in 39 tries as his walks and speed were not enough to overcome his lack of contact or power. Moved to second base, his 31 errors led all Florida State League players at the position.

[edit] 1997-2004: College and overseas

Oddly, Brunson spent 9 years between North American professional baseball teams. This is because after playing in the Marlins organization in 1996, he was released and then went on to play college football for the University of Colorado. After that, he went on to play ball in Taiwan for a while. It is not clear that he played in either the Chinese Professional Baseball League or Taiwan Major League and he might have been in the minors there.

[edit] 2005-2007: Independent leagues

In 2005 with the Yuma Scorpions of the independent Golden Baseball League, Brunson walked 67 times while striking out only 52 times. He also stole 32 bases that year in only 77 games. Matt hit .284/.442/.376 and scored 67 runs. He led the Golden Baseball League in steals. He was third in the GBL in runs and walks.

Matt moved to the Brockton Rox in 2006 and hit only .224/.338/.269 with two steals in four tries before being released. The Newark Bears picked him up and he batted .286/.414/.336 with 46 walks in 60 games and 16 steals in 24 tries, showing good OBP abilities once again. In 2007 with the St. Paul Saints, Brunson hit .261/.361/.303 in 45 games, stealing 17 bases.

Overall, Brunson hit .229/.361/.280 with 404 hits and 173 stolen bases in 528 games over 6 seasons.

Sources include 1994-1996 and 2006-2007 Baseball Almanacs, Newark Bears and Brockton Rox websites, 1995 Baseball Guide

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