Wesely was drafted by the Angels baseball organization in the 11th round of the MLB draft on June 8.
The former Tracy High left-handed pitcher spent five to seven hours each day in workouts to prepare for the Tempe Angels’ first game of the Arizona League on Thursday, June 20.
“It’s really hot. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s really fun,” Wesely said from his hotel in Tempe on Wednesday, June 19. “They want to build up my arm strength and work on my delivery. It’s going to be a very rewarding experience.”
Wesely, 18, signed his contract with the Angels at his home June 13 — just two weeks after graduating from Tracy High.
MLB scout Scott Richardson, northwest supervisor for Angels Baseball, had a stack of papers for Wesely to sign, each outlining his benefits and responsibilities as a new member of the Los Angeles Angels organization.
By the time he was done signing his contract Wesely was confident that the work ethic he applied to four years of varsity baseball would give him a good start with the Angels.
“I’m just going to stick to the Bulldog baseball mentality that I learned at Tracy High School,” Wesely said.
It’s a mentality defined by consistent effort and self-motivation, according to Tracy High baseball coach Vic Alkire.
“I’ve never had to encourage him to work harder,” Alkire said. “It thrills me that all of the hard work on his part is being recognized.”
Richardson has followed Wesely, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound left-handed pitcher, since his junior year, when he saw him play against Lodi High in April 2012.
Wesely struck out six batters over 21/3 innings, but also loaded the bases in the bottom of the third and gave up a grand slam on the way to a 7-1 loss for Tracy.
“He’s a strong physical kid,” Richardson said. “After that, he’s got arm strength. He’s got a very quick, strong arm — I’d say he was 93, 94 mph — and he’s left-handed. I knew I would go see him again in his senior year.”
The Angels figure Wesely’s speed and control will continue to improve under the team’s pitching coaches, according to Richardson.
“We want to see that rate of development that Jonah has shown from the first time I saw him until now,” Richardson said. “His command has gotten better, he’s gotten a little stronger, he’s throwing more quality strikes. His breaking ball has gotten better.”
Wesely’s first professional baseball contract includes an undisclosed signing bonus, and Major League Baseball will pay for four years of college when Wesely retires from pro ball to compensate for him passing up a UCLA athletic scholarship. Richardson said all first-year players make a $1,100 monthly salary.
“You still have to grind your way through the minor league process,” Richardson said. “Enjoy it and have fun, but the big dollars don’t come until you sign that first major league contract.”
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.