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Mathias Drafted by Cleveland in Third Round; Mundell Goes in Seventh

Mathias Drafted by Cleveland in Third Round; Mundell Goes in Seventh


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly junior second baseman Mark Mathias was drafted in the third round of Major League Baseball's 2015 First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday by the Cleveland Indians at the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, N.J.

Mathias, a two-time All-Big West Conference first-team selection, is the eighth-highest draftee in the program's history as he was the 93rd player chosen in this year's three-day draft. Cal Poly has had three players selected in the first round, two more in the second and Mathias is the seventh Mustang drafted in the third round.

Mustang first baseman/designated hitter Brian Mundell was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the seventh round while one of Cal Poly's 14 recruits who have signed the National Letter of Intent or a financial aid package was drafted Tuesday. Shortstop Luke Williams of Dana Hills High School was taken in the third round, the 83rd overall pick, by the Philadelphia Phillies.

A total of 35 Mustangs have been drafted in the first 10 rounds since the first MLB Draft in 1965, including 26 players since Larry Lee took over as head coach of the program in 2003.

Mathias (6-0, 205, Fremont, CA/Irvington HS) hit safely in 23 of his last 24 games this season (a 19-game hitting streak was snapped by UC Riverside on May 16). In his last 29 games of the 2015 campaign, Mathias hit .400 (48 of 120) to lift his average 54 points to .356 with seven doubles, three triples, one home run and 28 RBI.

Winner of the team's Monty Waltz Big Stick Award for the second year in a row, Mathias led the Mustangs with 24 multiple-hit games despite missing the first seven games of the 2015 season following labrum surgery in early December. He was Cal Poly's designated hitter for five weeks before returning to his more familiar position at second base on March 31.

As a result of his return to the field, which triggered several other lineup and position changes, Cal Poly won 17 of its last 26 games after falling eight games below the .500 mark. The Mustangs hit .303 over their final 23 games, improved their defense by fielding at a .980 clip (27 errors in their final 34 games) and made a run for the Big West title before settling for a fourth-place finish and a break-even 27-27 record. Cal Poly has finished fourth or higher in the conference 12 times in its last 14 seasons, including its first Big West title in 2014.

"We just could never recover from our 1-6 start," said Lee, who recently finished his 13th season at the helm of the Mustangs. "We struggled early and didn't start playing well until Mathias came back. By the time we got him back  at second base, we started playing much better. Before then, we made too many errors, but from the Oregon State series on, we played pretty well.

"Mathias' return completely changed our defensive lineup," Lee added. "Once he was at second base, we were able to put players in positions where they had a chance to be much more successful. The defensive changes affected our hitting as well. You never realize how valuable one key player can be. Getting Mathias back at second base was the main reason for our turnaround."

Mathias led the Mustangs with nine steals in 13 attempts, struck out just 19 times in 231 plate appearances and was Cal Poly's batting champion for the second straight year, hitting .386 as a sophomore en route to 2014 Big West Field Player of the Year honors.

Also as a sophomore, he produced 14 doubles, one triple and a pair of home runs, knocking in 37 runs. The Jason Maas Captain's Award a year ago, he stole 12 bases in 16 attempts in 2014, produced 17- and 14-game hitting streaks, hit safely in 44 of his last 48 games and led the team with 24 multiple-hit contests. Mathias went 77-for-185 (.416) during his last 48 games and struck out just 18 times in 250 plate appearances in 2014.

Undrafted out of high school, Mathias played on USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team in the summer of 2014, hitting .263 with a team-high 19 walks along with seven doubles, 10 RBI and 15 runs scored. Starting all 28 games on Team USA, Mathias failed to reach base just twice.

Mundell (6-3, 230, Valencia, CA/Valencia HS), also not drafted out of high school, is a three-year starter for the Mustangs with a career .275 batting average. His 20 career home runs are one shy of the top five in Cal Poly's 21 Division I seasons and Mundell also contributed 29 doubles, five triples and 117 RBI.

Mundell, used strictly as a designated hitter in his first two seasons at Cal Poly, sandwiched around offseason Tommy John surgery, started 14 games at first base in his junior campaign before returning to the designated hitter's spot. He finished with a .282 average, 11 doubles, one triple, five home runs and 34 RBI. He had 16 multiple-hit games and nine multiple-RBI contests in 2015.

As a sophomore, Mundell hit .279 with 12 doubles, four homers and 41 RBI en route to second-team All-Big West honors. He broke the school freshman Division I record for home runs in 2013 as he hit 11, drove in 42 runs and hit .265 on his way to a spot on the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America Team.

Williams hit .315 for the Dolphins this season with three doubles, two triples and four home runs, knocking in 19 runs and striking out just eight times in 121 plate appearances. Dana Hills finished 24-8 overall in 2015. As a junior, Williams hit .326 with 11 doubles, one triple, four homers and 12 RBI. He stole 26 of 27 bases in each of his final two seasons at Dana Hills.

Catcher John Orton is Cal Poly's highest draft pick ever, chosen by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as the 25th overall selection in the first round in 1987. Outfielder Mitch Haniger was the 38th overall pick by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012 and, last year, southpaw Matt Imhof, the sixth selection in the second round, 47th overall, by the Philadelphia Phillies, moved past Garrett Olson, another left-hander who was selected 48th overall by the Baltimore Orioles in 2005.

Both Haniger and Olson were compensatory picks between the first and second rounds. Cal Poly's only other second-round selection besides Imhof is outfielder Grant Desme, taken by the Oakland Athletics as the 74th overall selection in 2005.

Rounds one and two of the draft were held Monday, with rounds three through 10 completed Tuesday. The final 30 rounds of the 2015 MLB Draft will be conducted Wednesday starting at 9 a.m. PDT.