Nick Wells has one more exam followed by graduation from Battlefield June 13. Then high school will officially be over and he will begin the next phase of his life as a professional baseball player.
The senior left-hander said Friday he has agreed in principle to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto chose Wells Friday in the third round of the MLB Amateur Draft. Wells was selected No. 83 overall. He was the ninth pick of the third round.
Wells said Toronto is paying slot for the position he was selected. Wells declined to say the bonus amount he will receive, but MLB said the slot value for the No. 83 overall pick is $661,800.
The 18-year-old Wells had the option of going to college after signing last November with the College of Charleston, but he felt ready to move forward now with his pro career rather than wait three years when he would be eligible again for the draft.
Wells said he will report to the Blue Jays’ spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida after graduation where he will take a physical. After the physical, he will sign his contract with Toronto down there. He is expected to remain in Dunedin, where he will play with Toronto’s rookie-level team in the Gulf Coast League
“They gave me a lot of money,” Wells said. “It’s a crazy opportunity to start now out of high school.”
The 6-foot-5, 185-pound Wells, rated the No. 119 overall draft prospect by Baseball America, entered the three-day, 40-round draft as a projected top-four round selection. Wells went 7-1 this season with a 1.06 ERA in nine starts with 102 strikeouts and 18 walks. He recorded two no-hitters.
Wells said things were quiet during the first two rounds that were held Thursday, but talk started heating up Friday as various MLB teams expressed their interest in drafting Wells.
“My advisor said [the third round] was a real possibility,” Wells said.
Worst-case scenario, Wells said he felt confident that he would not slip beyond the fourth round since the Minnesota Twins had informed him they were willing to pay above slot for Wells if he was still available when their pick came up in the fourth round.
About five minutes before it was officially released, Wells’ advisor Jeff Randazzo let Wells know the Blue Jays were planning on picking him in the third round. Wells was home with his parents when he saw his name come over the computer screen while watching the draft on the Internet.
After it was official, Wells heard from Toronto’s area scout as well as the Blue Jays scouting director Brian Parker.
“We were ecstatic,” Wells said. “All the hard work has paid off. I’m ready to start the next step. It was a great feeling.”
Word spread quickly about Wells’ selection.
“As soon as it happened, my phone blew up,” Wells said.
Entering the draft, Wells said there was no one particular team that showed more interest than others. Wells and his family had met with the Blue Jays’ area scout at their home before the season to get a feel for the organization.