On Saturday, June 8, Wesely accomplished that goal by being selected in the 11th round of the MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels.
By next week, Wesely plans to be wearing an Angels uniform and playing for the organization’s rookie class team, the Tempe Angels in Arizona.
The team opens its 56-game season in the Arizona league on Thursday, June 20, against the home team, Mesa Cubs.
Wesely, 18, said the draft was tense and he and his family followed the first and second rounds on Thursday, June 6, the third through 10th rounds on Friday, June 7. But that all passed when he heard his name called on Saturday morning.
“When they finally called my name, it was a pretty exciting moment for all of us here,” said Wesely, who spoke at his Tracy home on Monday, June 10.
The 6-foot-2, left-handed pitcher, is now part of the Angels effort to reload their rosters with new pitchers. Out of the team’s first 11 picks, 10 are pitchers. In all the Angels drafted 22 pitchers, including six left-handed pitchers, plus three catchers, six infielders and eight outfielders.
Wesely expected to be picked by the third round based on scouting reports. That scenario would make it easy for Wesely to pass-up a full baseball scholarship at the University of California, Los Angeles.
But as the first few rounds passed, the waiting became more intense and the choice more difficult.
“After the fourth round passed and fifth round passed, teams started to believe I wasn’t signable,” Wesely said.
His parents, Stephen and Jamie Wesely, wanted to see if pro teams would offer him a better deal than a college scholarship.
“The UCLA scholarship is huge for our family and it’s huge for what it could do for Jonah,” Jamie Wesely said. “I was clear with the scouts that after a certain round I would want him to go to school.”
At the end of the 10th round on Friday, the Angels made a good offer, and Wesley liked his potential to move up in the organization, but there were still more phone calls and negotiations to come. Nearly 20 teams had shown interest in the lefty.
“After the second day, I had numerous teams calling me trying to work out a deal,” he said. “I had a strong feeling it was going to be the Angels on the next day.”
The Angels would be the 21st team to make a pick in the 11th round on Saturday, which made for another nerve-racking morning for the 2013 Tracy High graduate and his family.
“We were actually a little worried that if someone else had taken him, perhaps they were not willing to make us the deal that the Angels would,” Stephen Wesely said.
As of Tuesday, June 11, Jonah Wesely and the Angels were working out the details of his contract, with team representatives set to visit the family on Thursday to complete the deal and deliver a plane ticket for his flight to Arizona on Friday, June 14.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.