Sky Sox relief pitcher Matt Daley is a guy a lot of baseball fans may not know about. Flying under the radar is nothing new to him seeing as how he wasn’t recognized initially by any Major League scouts either.
Instead of being drafted, Daley was signed by the Colorado Rockies the week following the 2004 MLB draft as an undrafted free agent.
“I was expecting to be drafted but it just didn’t happen,” Daley explained, “After the draft, my summer coach called me and asked me what had happened and I just told him, ‘I really don’t know.’ So, he ended up calling some of his contacts and one of them was with the Rockies and the Rockies ended up signing me based off that.”
Daley has never let not getting drafted bring him down. He instead has channeled that situation and used it as motivation.
“To know that not one or two, but all 30 teams overlooked you and didn’t think you were good enough has pushed me pretty far and pretty hard,” Daley said, “I knew I had to outwork everybody because I wasn’t a prospect.”
Daley is no stranger to pushing himself, as he has improved every year since being signed. Last year, in fact, Daley was one of four pitchers that contributed to the first ever no-hitter at Security Service Field, the other pitchers involved were Franklin Morales, Steven Register and Chris George . Daley recorded 1 1/3 shutout innings striking out two giving the Sky Sox their second no-hitter in team history and first at home.
This spring the Rockies organization decided to reward Daley with an invitation to his first ever major league training camp.
“It was a dream come true. It was a great experience getting to know the major league coaches and having them getting to know me,” Daley said
All his hard work is starting to pay off this season. Although its still very early, Daley is out to a spectacular start. He has appeared in four games this season and has allowed just one run over 5 2/3 innings with 11 strikeouts posting an ERA of 1.59. His most impressive appearance came in the Sky Sox third game of the season where Daley made quick work of the Las Vegas 51′s tossing two perfect innings retiring six straight batters, four via strikeouts, and only needing 18 pitches to get the job done.
In his most recent game against the Reno Aces, Daley was called upon in a two-out bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the seventh inning where he was able to strike out Aces second baseman Guillermo Reyes to end the scare.
Daley attributes his fast start to having a healthy arm and using the advice the Rockies gave him in spring camp.
“Just getting some confidence in me from spring training has carried over to the beginning of the year,” Daley said, “From my talk with the Rockies they said one of the things I’m going to need to do is get off to a quick start, so I’m trying to use that as motivation.”
He also attributes a lot of his success to his trio of catchers Sal Fasano, Edwin Bellorin and Paul Phillips.
“The catchers are my best source, they are all veteran guys that have been around the game and know how to attack the hitters,” Daley mentioned, “I think that’s a pretty cool thing to be able to pick their brains.”
When asked about what he, personally, and the Sky Sox wanted to accomplish this season Daley was humble in saying, “As a team, obviously, the goal is to get to the playoffs. On a personal level, I didn’t really set any goals, I just want to do the best that I can and pitch the way that I know I can, and if I do that good things will happen.”
So far so good for Daley who will have this entire season to keep on showing people that he is a talent worth making note of.