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Matt Iannazzo (Photo by Kenny Ong/The Pitt News)

The Chicago Cubs have signed their first undrafted player (as far as I know, anyway), pitcher Matt Iannazzo out of the University of Pittsburgh. The 22-year-old lefty set a bunch of career marks while starting at Pitt, and put up a 3.95 ERA over 100.1 innings this year. He struck out 76, while walking just 22. His 28 career wins are a record for the school, as are his innings pitched (342). He finished third in school history in strikeouts (239).

The Cubs contacted Iannazzo last week, quickly signed him, and then brought him to Arizona yesterday to start working with the Cubs’ rookie league team. Terms of his deal have not yet been disclosed, but, as a graduating college senior, you can imagine that he didn’t receive a huge bonus.

As a smaller guy (5’9″) who doesn’t throw particularly hard, you can understand why he wasn’t drafted. But Iannazzo is excited to be a part of the Cubs’ organization, and wants to play with a chip on his shoulder.

“It’s kind of a surreal feeling. I don’t think I’ll understand or grasp what I’ve done until after I’m done playing,” Iannazzo told the Stamford Advocate yesterday. “It was a dream come true just to see the contract, let alone to sign my name on it …. I feel blessed in order to accomplish this. At the same time, I was disappointed I didn’t get drafted in the First-Year Player Draft and I have a chip on my shoulder from that.”

Good for you, Matt. I hope you prove a lot of folks wrong.

The signing, statistically-speaking, could prove to be largely irrelevant. But, in the new CBA era, you’re going to find that a slightly higher volume of interesting players go undrafted, thanks in part to the spending limitations for those kids who are drafted, and in part to the shortened Draft (down to 40 rounds from 50 – that’s another 300 players who automatically go into the “undrafted” pool).

  • EQ76

    well alright then.

  • baldtaxguy

    Nice write up in the Stamford Advocate.  It really sounds like he does have a chippy on the shoulder.  A fearless little lefty with 5 pitches?  I’ll take him.

    • SouthernCub

      as long as the chip doesn’t come out of his left shoulder, he’ll be alright

  • http://www.fakesite.net vitaminB

    Finally, someone has closed the flood gates of this Cuban invasion.

    • Rcleven

      Speaking of Cubans. Work outs were supposed to be Monday in Mexico. Any word?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I hadn’t heard that was going to be Monday – I had it in my head that it wouldn’t be until the end of the month.

        • hansman1982

          I thought it was supposed to be last weekend-ish.

          • North Side Irish

            Jesse Sanchez said end of January…not sure if there’s an exact date for it yet.

          • CubFan Paul

            it was Hans, it was delayed/postponed. I drink too much to remember correctly.

            • hansman1982

              Woohoo – I’m not fully crazy!!!!

  • Leroy K.

    Obviously the Cubs saw something. They wouldn’t just sign him if they didn’t think he was going to go nowhere. Good deal!

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    A lefty who throws strikes sounds like a good gamble to me.

    • calicubsfan007

      Luke, know any scouting info about this guy from Pitt?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I can’t add anything to what Brett has already posted.  He is small, he has had a very good college career, and his numbers indicate that he throws strikes.  On the other hand, his Cape Cod League numbers are not great.

        • calicubsfan007

          Luke: Any idea what his ceiling is though? That’s really what I am wondering. I should have made that clear, my fault there.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            Most likely, middle reliever of back of the rotation starter.  If his ceiling were any higher than that I think he’d have been drafted.  I can’t say for certain, though.

            • calicubsfan007

              Luke: That’s not a bad ceiling. I don’t mind that. Is it me, or does it seem like the Cubs are loaded with a ton of backend starters with little to no possible front line starters?

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                The Cubs have an army potential No 3, 4, and 5 starters, but you can just about count the potential No 1 and 2 guys on one hand.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Remember, “ceiling” is the absolute best he could become.

                • calicubsfan007

                  Brett: As long as the kid’s ceiling is higher in comparison to Koyie Hill’s, I am fine with the kid’s ceiling.

              • hansman1982

                That was the Hendry MO in recent years. Not the worst way to go as you should be able to fill your BP and 4-5 rotation spots from the farm and build your 1-2-3 slots through free agency. Would be nice to have a front line guy or 7.

  • calicubsfan007

    Hey, I prefer the guys with chips on their shoulders. They tend to be the most dangerous because they have nothing to lose.

  • Andrew

    It seems like a left handed person not playing baseball is losing out on a lot of easy money

    • AP

      Ain’t that the truth. Here I am sitting at a desk reading files like a chump.

      • calicubsfan007

        AP: If you are left handed, check your phone. Theo’s calling. (=

  • True(ly) Blue

    How tall is Jamie Moyer? Not to shabby a career, eh?

    • MXB

      Moyer is 6’0 according to Baseball Reference – a pitcher that knows how to pitch and can throw strikes is worth having

  • Patrick G

    Chris Archer making MLB debut tnte

  • randy

    the cubs signed two other pictures that didn’t get drafted 1left handed relief 1handed starter didn’t write there names down.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      A one-handed starter!? We need his name, stat!

      (I kid. The lefty is Kyle Sheppard, about whom more later.)

      • calicubsfan007

        Brett: How often does CubbiesRumorBlog guy comment on here?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          The HotStove guy? Infrequently.

          • calicubsfan007

            Brett:Sorry, I forgot his name for a split second when I was writing that. In my 20′s and I am already getting amnesia! Ha! Thanks.

    • Andrew

      we signed a 1 handed starter?!?!?

    • calicubsfan007

      Jim Abbott is out of retirement?

  • Awesome link

    Matt is awesome follow him on twitter

  • cubchymyst

    Is there a spending limit for signing undrafted players? I’ve been wondering if a college player could price himself out of the draft and get paid by going this route.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Anything over $100,000 comes out of the pool, just like in rounds 11-40.

      • cubchymyst

        If they sign after the deadline, does it become retroactive and still takes money out of the pool.

    • tim815

      As few pitchers as Boise had, I welcomeany pitcher that can seemingly throw strikes.

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