Senior catcher Matt O’Neill is excited to continue to play baseball and is more than happy to put off entering the business world after recently earning his degree in finance.
O’Neill was selected by the New York Mets in the 20th round of the MLB first-year player draft on Wednesday. He wasn’t concerned about where he would be drafted, just that he would get his shot.
“I had no expectations of where I would be drafted, I just wanted the opportunity to be able to keep playing,” he said in a phone interview. “Whether it is the 20th round or later I am glad for the chance.”
The 6-foot, 215-pound O’Neill enjoyed an impressive career that began with him being named Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2016 and ended as a unanimous first-team all-Ivy selection this past season.
As a senior, he led the Ivy League with a .405 batting average. He was fifth in the nation with a .527 on-base percentage, which was boosted by setting a single-season school record with 40 walks. He also led the Ivy League with 13 base runners caught stealing.
O’Neill can’t wait to get going.
“I am going to sign as quickly as I can,” he said.
A product of North Jersey’s Seton Hall Prep, O’Neill wasn’t surprised to be drafted by the Mets.
Prior to the draft, he worked out for the team at the Mets’ spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He also had pre-draft workouts with the Phillies and Los Angeles Angels, both of which were held in Philadelphia.