WASHINGTON – Matt Suggs said he had little or no contact this past college season from the Washington Nationals.
“I really didn’t talk to the Nationals much this year,” said Suggs, who did fill out a questionnaire for several teams.
But soon after the Major League Baseball draft was over on Tuesday, the catcher and part-time outfielder from North Carolina-Wilmington got a call from Bobby Myrick.
A long-time scout for the Nationals based in Virginia, Myrick offered Suggs a chance to sign with Washington as a non-drafted free agent.
“He isn’t even our area scout,” Suggs told Federal Baseball on Thursday. “He saw me up in Delaware” when UNCW faced the host Blue Hens in CAA action in April.
Former UNCW C (and recently NC State transfer commit) Matt Suggs has agreed to an NDFA with the Washington #Nationals.— Sidelines - UNCW (@SSN_UNCW) July 22, 2022
Thank you for all the memories! We’ll be following your journey to the bigs. @matthewsuggs30 | #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/r9sjxXhryO
“I guess he liked what he saw,” added Suggs, with a laugh. “Right after the draft, he called me up and offered me and it was right what I was looking for. One thing led to another and I had a deal with the Nats. I know UNCW has had some guys drafted by the Nats a real long time ago but nobody recently.”
Suggs heard from some other Major League teams this year.
“I had a couple of calls during the draft and after the draft,” he said.
Suggs, who is from Wilmington and grew up a fan of the Red Sox, hit 13 homers and drove in 48 this past season to pace the Seahawks in both categories.
He won honorable mention All-CAA honors as a catcher in 2022, started 50 of 51 games, and played in 150 games in his college career.
UNCW won the CAA title in 2019 and in 2021.
Suggs hit 26 homers in his college career and was hit by a pitch 30 times, and that puts him eighth on the all-time school list.
He was roommates this past season with infielder Brooks Baldwin, who was drafted by the Chicago White Sox earlier this month.
C Matt Suggs @UNCWAthletics signed as an NDFA this week with @Nationals and told @federalbaseball today he plans to drive from N.C. to West Palm Beach on Sunday to begin his pro career, hoping for a shot to join a Single-A team at some point this season; he was HM all-CAA.— David Driver (@DaytonVaDriver) July 21, 2022
Suggs spent part of last summer with Cotuit in the prestigious Cape Cod League. “Cotuit needed a catcher and outfielder so I went up and played for a month and a half,” he said.
One of his teammates there was Eric Brown Jr., who was chosen in the first round of the draft this year by the Brewers out of Coastal Carolina. “That is awesome for him. We have a pretty good relationship with Coastal Carolina,” Suggs said.
Suggs planned to begin driving to West Palm Beach this past weekend. He has been working out in North Carolina since the college season ended.
He will report to the Washington complex for a physical as his pro journey begins; he hopes to join a minor league affiliate before the end of the season.
“I hope so. I am not exactly sure what their plan is for me,” he said. “I would love to end up with a low-A ball team.”
He is mainly a catcher but played some outfield corner spots to stay in the lineup in college to rest his legs.
“I would much rather be behind the plate than in the outfield,” he said.