New England’s top draft pick in the 2019 MLB draft, Trejyn Fletcher, certainly has looked the part of a pro baseball player in the very early stages of his career.
The 18-year-old Portland, Maine, native has played three games in Rookie ball for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals after being drafted in the second round (58th overall) and signing for $1.5 million earlier this month.
In his first 15 at-bats as a pro, he already has six hits (.400 batting average), one home run, three RBI and an OPS of 1.133.
“It’s going pretty well,” Fletcher said from Jupiter, Fla., in a phone interview with New England Baseball Journal. “The competition level compared to Maine is a lot higher. I enjoy that about the game of baseball. The stiffer the competition, the better I perform.”
Fletcher was committed to Vanderbilt before reclassifying for the 2019 draft and earning a second-round selection by the St. Louis Cardinals. He has no regrets on his decision to go pro despite the fact that Vanderbilt just won the College World Series.
“The money part is obviously great,” Fletcher said. “But after talks with my agent, parents and everybody, it just made more sense for me to sign.”
Fletcher has yet to make his first big purchase since signing on the dotted line, but he has something in mind.
“I might get a car,” Fletcher said. “I don’t plan on spending much money. I just need a car to get me from Point A to Point B while I’m down here.”
Keane set to move in at Northeastern
Sebastian Keane (North Andover, Mass.) — the 11th-round selection of the Boston Red Sox — will move in at Northeastern on Sunday with a plan to start summer classes Monday.
Keane’s representative negotiated with interested teams during the second and third rounds of the 2019 MLB draft before eventually telling teams that the right-handed pitcher planned to honor his commitment to Northeastern.
Keane, the Gatorade Massachusetts Player of the Year, led North Andover High to its first Super Eight championship last week.
The Red Sox surprised Keane and his representative by spending an 11th-round pick on the 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher — a pick far higher than the standard courtesy selection in a much later round for a player that is committed to going to college. The Red Sox have kept the lines of communication open with Keane’s camp since the draft — and even hosted him at Fenway earlier this week — but it seems unlikely the reigning World Series champions will be able to make the money work.
The Red Sox have the smallest draft pool among all the MLB teams because their 2018 roster eclipsed the luxury tax threshold and they drafted at the end of each round after winning the World Series. Their total pool for signing bonuses in the top 10 rounds is $4,788,100. They have signed six of their top 10 picks and spent $3,804,000. The combined slot value for the four unsigned players is $933,400.
Considering Keane’s representative started telling teams his client was committed to Northeastern in the third round, it stands to figure his line in the sand for a signing bonus likely was around $1 million. The Sox cannot simply slide the remaining $933,400 to Keane; if they choose not to sign any of the unsigned players, they lose the slot value in the signing pool.
So, the only way they could make the money work is by signing the four players for almost nothing. All four players are four-year seniors lacking a ton of leverage because they have no NCAA eligibility remaining. Still, it seems unlikely that the Sox could sign — for instance — someone such as fourth-round pick Noah Song (Navy) for $5,000 when his slot value is $406,000.
In the meantime, Keane is proceeding as if he’ll be spending at least three years at Northeastern. He also plans to join the North Shore Navigators of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League on July 6.
“It hasn’t been too stressful; I just want it to be over with, honestly,” Keane told NEBJ Thursday on the outdoor patio at Good Day Café in North Andover. “I want to move on to one thing or the other. I move in on Sunday, so that’s a lot. Hopefully, it will be the right decision.”
NU’s Mellen leads list of signees
Several more players from New England have signed pro contracts since our last report.
Northeastern pitcher Sean Mellen (Norwood, Mass.) earned one of the more impressive deals, signing for $125,000 as a 14th-round pick. Not unlike any college pitcher who logs 90-plus innings before the draft, Mellen does not figure to pitch much more for the rest of the summer.
The other signing bonuses that have agents around New England buzzing include:
- Bryant junior pitcher Chris Wright (Cumberland, R.I.), a 12th-round selection by the San Francisco Giants who signed for $125,000.
- Bryant shortstop Jimmy Titus, a 22nd-round selection by the Los Angeles Dodgers who signed for $125,000.
- Maine junior pitcher Cody Laweryson (Moscow, Maine), a 14th-round selection by the Minnesota Twins who signed for $80,000.
- Boston College junior pitcher Matt Gill (Simsbury, Conn.), a 27th-round selection by the Cincinnati Reds who signed for $40,000.