Matthew Ross Drews
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 8", Weight 230 lb.
- High School Sarasota High School
Hard-throwing pitcher Matt Drews was selected by the New York Yankees in the first round of the 1993 amateur draft. He had gone 10-2 with a 1.27 ERA his senior high year of high school, striking out 125 batters in 88 innings. He signed late, for a $620,000 bonus, and did not play for the Yankees system that year. Assigned to the Oneonta Yankees in 1994, Drews went 7-6 with a 2.10 ERA, walked 19 and struck out 69 in 90 frames. The tall right-hander led the New York-Penn League in ERA and was selected as the 2nd-best prospect in the league by managers. Drews did fine with the 1995 Tampa Yankees, winning 15 of 22 decisions and posting a 2.27 ERA. He led the league in wins, innings (182) and starts (28), was second in strikeouts (140) and third in ERA. Managers again picked him as the #2 prospect (behind Scott Rolen and the top pitching prospect. He made the Florida State League All-Star team as one of the top two right-handed pitchers; Shane Bowers was the other.
Rated by Baseball America as the Yankees' #3 prospect (after Ruben Rivera and Derek Jeter) entering 1996, Drews hit the skids. He was 1-3, 4.50 for the Norwich Navigators, 0-4, 8.41 for the Columbus Clippers and 0-3, 7.13 for Tampa. He walked 72 and struck out 56 in 84 innings. He was traded to the Detroit Tigers along with Ruben Sierra for Cecil Fielder. In Detroit's system, he went 0-4, 4.35 for the Jacksonville Suns to complete a horrible 1-14 season.
In 1997, Matt (picked as the #9 prospect by BA entering the year) was 8-11, 5.49 for Jacksonville and 0-2, 6.60 for the Toledo Mud Hens. The former control specialist continued to walk lots of batters, issuing 14 free passes in 15 innings with Toledo. He was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second round of the 1997 expansion draft but sent back to the Tigers in a deal for Travis Fryman. 1998 continued his struggles - Drews was 5-17 with a 6.57 ERA for Toledo, allowing over 250 baserunners in under 150 innings. He managed to avoid leading the International League in losses, as teammate Mike Drumright dropped 19 decisions, though Drews did lead in hit batsmen (16).
Matt went 2-14, 8.27 for Toledo in 1999, with a WHIP of 1.93. He led the IL in losses, runs allowed (136), earned runs allowed (125) and walks (91). Drews' last chance came with the 2000 Durham Bulls, allowing 4 runs, 4 walks and no hits in two-thirds of an inning. His control had vanished entirely, as had his career. Overall, the former 1st-round draft pick went 38-71 in his pro career, 16-58 after his first two years.
He was the grandson of former major leaguer Karl Drews.
Sources: 1994-2001 Baseball Almanacs