Per NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury, the Phillies are set to sign former Villanova football and baseball player and South Jersey native Matt Szczur to a minor-league contract with an invite to Spring Training.Embed from Getty Images
Szczur, 30, was the Chicago Cubs fifth-round selection in the 2010 MLB draft. In 667 major league plate appearances, Szczur slashed .240/.315/.318 with 12 home runs and 61 RBIs. He spent a majority of the 2019 season with the Diamondbacks AAA affiliate in Reno, where he hit eight home runs, drove in 28 and had an OPS of .967. He’s an outfielder who can play all three positions at a high level.
Szczur is also a former World Series Champion, having played with the Cubs in 2016. He batted .259 with five home runs and 24 RBIs and posted a defensive WAR of 4.1 en route to a championship ring that year. He was traded to the Padres in 2017 and signed a minor league deal in Arizona in 2019.
He also has a pretty remarkable backstory. On the Villanova Wildcats football team, Szczur played wide receiver, running back and quarterback in the wildcat formation. He was apart of the first Wildcats team to win the FCS Championship in 2009 and was a consensus All-American that same season.
That same year, Szczur also donated bone marrow to a 15-month-old girl from Ukraine with leukemia. His donation saved her life and Szczur got the chance to speak to the girl through Skype three years later as part of an ESPN documentary.
Szczur will have a chance to compete with Josh Harrison and Phil Gosselin for one of 26 roster spots at Spring Training. If he makes the team, he’ll be a key depth piece in the outfield.
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