Meet Matt Hyde, the man Friday for Anthony Volpe and Ben Rice

Yankees scout Matt Hyde is with Anthony Volpe and his parents.

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Ben Rice achieved his lifelong dream of playing in the major leagues on Monday. Upon informing his family, he promptly reached out to Matt Hyde, the Yankees’ Northeast area scout who had signed him. The next day, standing in the Yankee Stadium dugout, Rice expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Matt Hyde.

Similarly, when Anthony Volpe discovered he would start as the Yankees shortstop last spring, Matt Hyde was among the first he called. Both Rice and Volpe attributed their journeys to the big leagues to the scout, underscoring the significance of the scout-player relationship.

The debut of a top prospect brings exhilaration to fans, yet for scouts who have invested years in these young players and their families, it represents the ultimate validation of their dedication. Matt Hyde, a Yankees scout since 2005, now witnesses the fulfillment of his efforts with two of his signings, Ben Rice and Anthony Volpe, on the Yankees’ infield.

His influence extends beyond player scouting; he also played a pivotal role in shaping Matt Blake’s journey to becoming one of baseball’s most respected pitching coaches. Recognizing Blake’s potential early on, Hyde enlisted him as an associate scout, catalyzing his rapid ascent to success.

While the selection of a draft pick involves collaboration among various evaluators, the scouting director ultimately makes the final decision. Nonetheless, the evident excitement among the Yankees’ amateur department on Tuesday following Ben Rice’s call-up underscores their deep respect for Matt Hyde, the scout instrumental in signing both Rice and Anthony Volpe.

Matt Hyde collaborated closely with the late Kelly Rodman, a revered scout who passed away from cancer in 2020, in identifying and signing Volpe. The shortstop expressed heartfelt appreciation for the scout, acknowledging him for bringing him into the Yankees organization and aiding him in realizing his dreams, cementing a lifelong connection soon after his MLB cap.

Who is Matt Hyde

Matt Hyde, the regional scouting director for the New York Yankees, brings a rich and diverse baseball background to his role. He graduated from Phillips Academy in 1992 and went on to play collegiate baseball for four years at the University of Michigan. Following his playing career, Hyde embarked on a nine-year tenure as a college assistant coach at Harvard, Michigan, and Boston College.

Since 2007, Hyde has also coached the Northeast Area Code Team, amassing extensive experience in identifying and nurturing baseball talent from high school through to the professional ranks. Throughout his career, Hyde has been associated with teams that secured two Big Ten titles, two Ivy League titles, and two Cape Cod titles, solidifying his reputation as a highly esteemed figure in the baseball scouting community.

Ben Rice, initially recognized as a standout high school hockey player from Massachusetts, was initially overlooked as a baseball prospect. According to Matt Hyde, the Yankees scout who discovered Rice, while Cornell showed some interest, only Dartmouth committed to recruiting him, as he wasn’t on the radar of top-tier baseball programs like N.C. State or Vanderbilt. Matt Hyde pointed out that athletes like Rice, who excel in other sports, often face the challenge of proving themselves in baseball.

During the pandemic, several events played a crucial role in bringing Rice to the Yankees’ attention. Damon Oppenheimer, the team’s amateur scouting director, spent considerable time in the Northeast in 2020 watching his son play hockey, which coincided with Rice’s emergence. Additionally, Rice took the initiative to organize workouts with Ivy League players at a baseball complex in Northborough, Mass. Matt Hyde was impressed by their dedication and self-motivation, noting how they arrived in uniform, ready to play without external assistance.

Matt Hyde’s discerning eye for talent and Rice’s determination eventually led to the Yankees signing the promising prospect. Rice’s promotion to the majors on Monday underscored his relentless effort and the Yankees’ confidence in his skills. It also marked a proud moment for Hyde, who played a pivotal role in Rice’s journey to the major leagues.

Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees’ amateur scouting director, keenly considered drafting Rice based on Matt Hyde’s strong recommendations. Ultimately, the Yankees chose Rice in the 12th round of the 2021 draft, recognizing his potential and the value he could bring to their roster.

According to Matt Hyde, both Rice and Anthony Volpe possess a rare quality among young players: a deep understanding of the game. While many young pitchers today focus heavily on spin rate and velocity, and hitters rely on technology to analyze launch angles and bat speed, Rice and Volpe maintain a holistic approach to baseball. Matt Hyde attributes this mindset to their upbringing, where both players engaged in game-like scenarios during practice sessions with their fathers.

New York Yankees’ Ben Rice smiles on first base after hitting a single against the Baltimore Orioles during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in New York.
AP Photo/Pamela Smith

Matt Hyde believes this ability to envision and execute different scenarios mentally has been pivotal to their success, setting them apart from their peers. By prioritizing the entire game rather than isolated skills, Rice and Volpe have developed a comprehensive approach to baseball. This approach has fueled their rapid advancement through the Yankees’ system and culminated in their recent major league debuts.

Matt Hyde: Baseball Ambassador and Game Expert

In a touching homage to baseball’s often overlooked heroes, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman lauded scout Matt Hyde as a genuine ambassador for the sport last year. With over two decades guiding the Yankees’ baseball operations, Cashman disclosed Hyde’s pivotal role in assessing amateur prospects, dubbing him his trusted advisor in the field.

Hyde’s immense contributions were celebrated at the recent Hot Stove League awards, where he clinched the esteemed Scout of the Year title. This accolade, previously bestowed upon legendary figures like Gene Michael, Tom ‘T. Bone’ Giordano, and Cesar Presbott, underscores the magnitude of Hyde’s achievement.

In his acceptance speech, Hyde graciously credited his colleagues and the scouting community, underscoring the collaborative essence of their efforts. His unwavering commitment and expertise have significantly shaped baseball’s future, as he continues to identify and foster the next crop of gifted players.

The New York Yankees demonstrated their strong endorsement of Matt Hyde, recently honored with the prestigious Scout of the Year award at the annual Hot Stove League awards ceremony. The attendance of Yankees scouting chief Damon Oppenheimer and cross-checker Tim Kelly underscored the organization’s deep respect for Hyde’s exceptional achievements.

Kelly lauded Hyde, asserting that no one deserved the award more, particularly given the challenges of scouting in the Northeastern United States. He praised Hyde for consistently delivering outstanding results year after year, despite the region’s inherent difficulties.

In a poignant acceptance speech, Hyde paid homage to the late scouting legend Tom ‘T. Bone’ Giordano, who had served as a mentor to many in the scouting community. Giordano’s teachings on the profound significance of scouting in baseball deeply resonated with Hyde, who acknowledged the sacrifices and dedication demanded by this demanding profession.

Hyde’s fervent dedication ensures that young players aspiring to reach the majors receive equitable opportunities for recognition and development. His commitment, shared by all baseball scouts, offers hope to aspiring players who once awaited a scout’s business card.

While analytics have gained prominence in modern baseball, the sport’s leaders acknowledge that nothing can replace the invaluable role of baseball scouts. The event, perpetuated by longtime Chicago Cubs scout Billy Blitzer, serves as a tribute to these often unsung heroes of the game, highlighting their indispensable contributions.

Yankees’ scout Matt Hyde and Anthony Volpe

Matt Hyde, a Northeast area scout for the New York Yankees, described Sunday as the most pivotal day in his baseball career. During a doubleheader scouting session at Boston College, he received an unexpected call from Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees’ amateur scouting director.

Anthony Volpe is at Yankee Stadium in 2023.

Oppenheimer discussed the upcoming schedule and urged him to attend a game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. To Matt Hyde’s surprise, he learned that Anthony Volpe, a player he had been scouting since 2017, would be making his major league debut on Opening Day in The Bronx.

It was also on Sunday, when the Yankees had informed Volpe of his inclusion in the team, and they wanted Matt Hyde to witness this significant moment. Just after hearing the announcement, Volpe dialed him, as he exited the parking lot at Steinbrenner Field. Although initially at a loss for words, Volpe managed to convey his gratitude to Matt Hyde, who assured Volpe of his attendance at Thursday’s game, a gesture Volpe described as “truly special.”

Matt Hyde and Volpe’s bond traces back to the summer of 2017 when Hyde coached the Yankees’ Area-Code team. At the time, Volpe, then transitioning between his sophomore and junior years at Delbarton High School, proudly wore the No. 2 jersey in homage to his idol, Derek Jeter. During this period, Volpe made an indelible impression on Matt Hyde, much like he did on Yankees’ decision-makers this spring during the intense shortstop competition, which he convincingly won.

According to Matt Hyde, Volpe possessed an innate ability to influence outcomes and contribute to pivotal plays that propelled his team to victory. Hyde highlighted Volpe’s consistent efforts—whether through stellar defensive plays, clutch hits, or stealing bases—which made a tangible impact every single day. Volpe’s dynamic presence ensured he was always at the forefront of critical team actions.

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