After initially saying he looks forward to helping USC win a NCAA baseball championship, Elk Grove slugger Rowdy Tellez has accepted an offer to play professionally in the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization.
Tellez made the decision to go pro rather than play baseball collegiately on Friday, the deadline day for Major League Baseball clubs to sign their draftees from the early June selection process.
According to his father, Greg, the 6-5, 220-pound first baseman agreed to a signing bonus of $850,000 along with an additional $270,000 to pay for a college education during the off-season or at some future date.
Tellez was drafted in the 30th round, far after most baseball experts thought he would be selected. Baseball America had ranked him as the 59th best prospect in the draft, the third-best first baseman. MLB.Com’s draft preview ranked him the 99th best prospect overall.
But, Tellez told the Citizen on June 8 that early on in the draft that began on June 6 he knew things couldn’t be worked out between him and any baseball club. That’s why he dropped so far down in the draft.
“I was contacted by quite a few teams, but the timing wasn’t right (to be drafted),” he said. “They didn’t have the things to offer us and as a family we decided that education was the way to go.”
Tellez had already signed a NCAA National Letter-of-Intent to play collegiately for Southern Cal. He said he had resigned himself at that time to getting ready to play for the Trojans.
|Rowdy Tellez, now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays|
The past few weeks since leading Elk Grove to the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division I championship, Tellez had been playing out-of-state in college summer leagues.
“The last three or four days, talks between the Blue Jays, Greg and Rowdy began to heat up,” Tellez’ mother, Lori, said.
Tellez went to the Tampa Bay, Fla., area where the Jays have its spring training facility for a physical and some initial talks early last week. The final agreement was arrived at early Friday.
Tellez will report to Dundien, Fla., and begin play for the Blue Jays’ rookie league team in the Gulf Coast League this week.
He joins Herd teammate Dom Nunez in the minor leagues just weeks after graduating from Elk Grove. The pair led the Thundering Herd to a 29-5 record and its first Section title since 2007.
Tellez batted .500 with nine home runs, 16 doubles and 46 RBI’s. He reportedly finished his high school career as the Section’s all-time RBI leader.