Major League Baseball has announced the Peoria Chiefs centerfielder Matt Szczur has been named to the roster for the 2011 XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game. The contest which pits Team USA against The World, will take place on Sunday, July 10 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona to kick off the MLB All-Star festivities. The contest will be televised live on ESPN2 and MLB.com at 5:00 Central Time on July 10.
In the Chiefs first half of the season, Szczur hit .327 with 16 stolen bases, five homers, 12 doubles, 24 RBI and 46 runs scored in 51 games. The New Jersey native is second in the Midwest League in batting average, trailing only his teammate Greg Rohan. Szczur is also third in the league in runs scored and top 10 in on-base percentage and stolen bases. Szczur has led off for the Chiefs in al 51 of his starts this season and has mostly appeared in centerfield while also playing a handful of games in right field. Szczur does not have an outfield error and he started the Midwest League All-Star game on Tuesday in Davenport, IA.
Drafted in the fifth round last June, Szczur was ranked by Baseball America as the Cubs 7th best prospect before the 2011 season. Szczur enjoyed a stellar two-sport career at Villanova University in football and baseball. On the baseball field he was VU’s first .400 hitter since 1997 last year batting .443 while earning First Team All-Big East honors. The .443 mark is the fourth highest single-season batting average in school history and his .392 career average is fifth best for the Wildcats. Szczur made national news last year when he donated peripheral blood cells to a young leukemia patient who had a 1-in-80,000 change of finding a match. The selfless act cost Szczur 10 games during the baseball season due to the medication taken in advance of the surgery and donation.
On the football field, Szczur led the Wildcats to the 2009 Division I Football Championship Series National Title in 2009 and was named MVP of the Championship game with 270 all-purpose yards and a career-high 159 rushing yards. He was the 2009 Colonial Athletic Association Offensive and Special Teams Player of the Year with 813 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on 108 carries while also catching 51 balls for 610 yards and four TD. This past fall the Wildcats lost in the semifinals to Eastern Washington and Matt missed the second half with a concussion. In Villanova’s quarterfinal win over Appalachian State in 2010, Matt recorded five total touchdowns: three rushing, one receiving and one passing.
As a pro last season, Szczur made his debut with the AZL Cubs going 1-for-2 with a steal and a run scored in one game before a promotion to Boise. In the Northwest League he hit .397 in 18 games with nine doubles, eight RBI and 17 runs scored. Szczur appeared in just six games for the Chiefs last season before returning to Philadelphia for Villanova football practice. He delivered a walk-off single to beat Wisconsin on July 29, his second game in a Chiefs uniform.
Szczur’s selection marks the third straight season the Chiefs have had a player chosen to the prestigious event. Last year shortstop Hak-Ju Lee played for The World in the contest in Anaheim, CA and third baseman Josh Vitters played for Team USA in 2009 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo.
article courtesy Peoria Chiefs