Following the progress of South Jersey native Matt Szczur through baseball's minor leagues this season, we have seen him shine at the A ball level.  Now comes his next challenge - conquer AA and get closer to the major leagues.

It was only a matter of time before Szczur got the call to move up another level in the Chicago Cubs chain, and that call came about a week ago.  The Cape May product was a standout in both football and baseball at Villanova.  He was on the Wildcat team that won the 2009 Division I FCS national championship, scoring 2 touchdowns against Montana.

Many scouts believed that Szczur had a potential future in the NFL because of his speed (40-yd dash in 4.4 seconds) and his hands, but he chose baseball and so far the 23-yr-old (whose birthday was July 20th) has hit .300 over his first 3 season of minor league baseball.

Matt started 2012 in Daytona and took off after a slow start - hitting .311 for the Cubs Class A team after opening the season 4-for-28 at the plate.  The Lower Cape May High School grad posted an on-base average aroung .400, stole 38 bases, and drove in 34 runs during his 78 game stay in Florida.  Szczur was leading the Florida State League in Runs Scored (68) before his recent promotion to the Cubs AA affiliate in Knoxville.

The Tennessee Smokies is another step on the way to the majors, and so far Matt is 4-for-15 in his first 4 games (.267 batting average).  Szczur should be here for the rest of the 2012 season, and a good run here will put him potentially in the mix for Chicago in 2013.

Szczur (which is pronounced "ceasar") is a stellar defensive outfielder (only 1 error in 2012) whose speed and hitting ability is his calling card - sounds similar to another South Jersey guy who happens to be doing well in the major leagues (Mike Trout of the L.A. Angels).   It's one step at a time for Matt Szczur, and we should be excited over this next step in his journey.