Matt Shaw wasn’t a highly ranked high school recruit and received just two Division I offers. Overlooked and ignored, he came to Maryland looking to fulfill a dream that spanned generations of Shaws: playing professional baseball.
The infielder led the Terps through three record-setting seasons and helped carry the program to a status never before seen. Once an afterthought, Shaw quickly became one of college baseball’s top sluggers.
After being chosen in the first round of Sunday’s 2023 MLB Draft, he cemented his journey from unheralded infielder to one of the sport’s best prospects. Shaw was selected with the 13th overall pick by the Chicago Cubs, making him the earliest drafted Maryland player ever.
“Somewhere around 12 years old I realized … my goal was to play in the major leagues and that’s something I always dreamed of,” Shaw said in May. “I just never stopped believing that.”
The previous highest-drafted Terp was John Hetrick, who went 17th overall in 1967. Maryland’s last first-round pick before Shaw was Brett Cecil in 2007.
Shaw was named Big Ten Player of the Year, first team All-American and won the 2023 Brooks Wallace award as a junior. In his third season with the Terps, he hit .341 with a 1.142 OPS and 24 home runs. He became Maryland’s all-time career home run leader earlier this season and finished his career with 53 homers.
The shortstop made just eight errors in 303 chances this season, displaying growth at the position he hopes to stick with as a professional. Still, questions remain regarding his long-term viability. Some projections cite a lack of arm strength and say an eventual move to second base is likely for the 5-foot-11 infielder.
But Shaw aims to stay at shortstop, where he blossomed into one of college baseball’s best players. Those who witnessed his steady improvement at the position over three seasons know he’s capable.
“Every scout tells him he’s not a shortstop,” former coach Rob Vaughn said in May. “He just keeps going out and proving those guys wrong.
Maryland has more draft-eligible players who could be chosen in the later rounds including catcher Luke Shliger, right-handed pitchers Jason Savacool and Nigel Belgrave and third baseman Nick Lorusso. The Terps could also see some of their high school recruits chosen, who would then decide between honoring their commitments or signing professional contracts.