MLB scout Scott Richardson, northwest supervisor for Angels Baseball out of Anaheim, 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, Wesely had his first pro baseball contract, and was still reeling from the whirlwind of activity that has surrounded him ever since being selected in the 11th round of the MLB draft on Saturday, June 8.
“It’s a very surreal experience to finally become an Angel,” Wesely said. “It’s a real dream come true for me.”
Wesely now heads to Tempe, Ariz., on Friday, June 14, to join the rookie-class Arizona League Angels.
Wesely said he’s ready for the next step.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “I’m just going to stick to the Bulldog baseball mentality that I learned at Tracy High School.”
It’s a mentality defined by consistent hard work 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.”
The Angels have followed Wesely, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound left-handed pitcher, since his junior year, when Richardson saw him pitch against Lodi High in April 2012.
Wesely struck out six batters over 2 1/3 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.
“Even though that first time I saw him wasn’t his best game, he showed all of the tools that we look for,” Richardson said. “He’s a strong physical kid. 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.”
Richardson followed Wesely through the 2013 season, including his return to Zupo Field on April 24, when he struck out 14 Lodi batters over six innings for an 8-4 win.
The Angels figure Wesely’s speed and control will continue to improve under the team’s pitching coaches.
“We want to see that rate of development that Jonah has shown from the first time I saw him until now. His command has gotten better, he’s gotten a little stronger, he’s throwing more quality strikes. His breaking ball has gotten better.”
Wesely begins work on Saturday, June 15, at the Angels spring training center in Tempe. The Arizona League begins its 56-game season on Thursday, June 20.
“They’ll jump right into playing baseball,” Richardson said. “Before we start changing your mechanics or changing your pitches, we want to see what you can do against better competition.”
While Wesely now has his first professional baseball contract, he still has a lot of work ahead of him before he gets a major league paycheck. Richardson said all first-year players make $1,100 a month.
“You still have to grind your way through the minor league process,” he 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 email@example.com.