Cubs' fifth-round pick impressive off the field
Two-sport star Szczur donated bone marrow to infant girl
MILWAUKEE -- Matt Szczur was a two-sport star at Villanova. He is the first hitter to top .400 there since 1997. But what the outfielder did off the field may be even more impressive.
The Cubs selected Szczur in the fifth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft on Tuesday. He batted .443 to earn first-team All-Big East honors. His batting average was fourth highest in school history, and his .392 career average ranks fifth all time for the Wildcats.
Baseball America ranked Szczur as the second-fastest runner among all college position players in the Draft and the 19th-best center fielder among all Draft-eligible players.
Szczur led Villanova in eight different offensive categories and posted a .487 on-base percentage and a .667 slugging percentage. His 13 doubles, seven triples and four home runs were all team highs for the year as were his 38 RBIs. He was a 38th-round pick by the Dodgers coming out of high school, so this was his second turn in the Draft.
The junior from Erma, N.J., throws and hits from the right side. In 2009, he led the team in hitting, runs scored, hits, walks and on-base percentage and tied for the lead in stolen bases.
Szczur didn't play baseball in 2008 because of a football-related injury. In '09, he was the only Division I college football player in the country to register touchdowns as a rusher, receiver, passer and kick returner.
But there's more to this young man. In March, he donated bone marrow to an infant girl battling juvenile leukemia.
"I'll miss a couple of baseball games, but it's a no-brainer to do it," Szczur told the Delaware County Daily Times in March. "One of my best friends back home is fighting cancer. If I could do anything for her, I would. So I figure, I should do anything to help this little girl out."
Szczur also was considered a possible NFL Draft pick.
"In my heart, I really want to come back," he said in March about playing at Villanova his senior season. "I would say the chances of me coming back are pretty good. But it depends on how my year goes with baseball, what round I get picked up in and how much money I would make. If I'm a first-rounder, I've go to go. And anybody would agree with me, too."
Now, Szczur has to make another decision after being selected by the Cubs.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.