Auburn’s Scheffler signs with Seattle Mariners
AUBURN, Ala. – Senior catcher Matt Scheffler agreed to a free agent deal with the Seattle Mariners Tuesday. Scheffler is the fourth member of the 2020 team to pursue his goal of playing professional baseball, joining Tanner Burns and Bailey Horn, who were drafted last week, and Ryan Watson, who also signed a free agent contract Sunday.
“It’s hard to put into words how amazing Auburn has been,” Scheffler said. “From a junior college kid coming out of Washington, the campus and community welcomed me with open arms. My coaches and teammates made me a better baseball player and a better man and have prepared me as much as possible to take on the next level. I know I have all the support from the Auburn Family, and I cherished my time on The Plains. I can’t wait for this next opportunity.”
In parts of two seasons on The Plains, Scheffler made 77 appearances and started in 75 contests, 74 of which came behind the plate. A transfer from Pierce College prior to the 2019 season, Scheffler was instrumental in the Tigers’ run that culminated in Omaha, Nebraska, for the first time since 1997. The senior backstop was a .289 career hitter and tied for the team lead with a .412 average through 18 games in 2020.
”He’s made everybody on our team better, our coaching staff better,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “Yeah, he can run for a catcher, way above average, and he has a great arm and can block, but his leadership to serve everybody on our pitching staff and on our team has been exceptional. People see the tools, but what puts him over the top is that the intangibles are off the charts and create a chance for him to have a long professional career.”
The Kirkland, Washington, native turned in a .989 fielding percentage behind the plate and threw out 14 would-be base stealers while picking off four others in his career. He handled a pitching staff that turned in 777 strikeouts and 12 shutouts during the last two seasons.