Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Angels Pay for Former Wolfson Pitcher; after Turning Down First Offer, Clevinger Agrees to $350,000 Deal

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Angels Pay for Former Wolfson Pitcher; after Turning Down First Offer, Clevinger Agrees to $350,000 Deal

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

Former Wolfson standout Michael Clevinger is a crafty pitcher - and quite a negotiator.

The Los Angeles Angels called the 20-year-old Clevinger on Tuesday afternoon during the third round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, offering $309,000 for him to sign.

The right-hander turned it down. Roughly 20 minutes later, Clevinger answered another call from the Angels.

This time the offer was $350,000.

Clevinger accepted and became the 135th overall pick in the draft, going to Los Angeles in the fourth round. He became the second player with area ties selected in the draft, following Arlington Country Day shortstop Javier Baez, who was picked ninth overall to the Chicago Cubs on Monday night.

"It was stressful, but I'm very happy," Clevinger said. "I got more money than some third-rounders, so I'm very content with where I went."

The 6-foot-4, 202-pound Clevinger transferred from The Citadel after his freshman season to Seminole State College of Florida. This past season, Clevinger was utilized primarily as a reliever, pitching 32 2/3 innings with a 2.84 earned-run average. He struck out 52 batters and walked 11, finishing with a 1-2 record and four saves.

"The Angels showed me a lot of interest at the beginning of the year," Clevinger said. "They told me they liked me a lot. Then, not a lot happened with them, but it picked up again right before the draft. They told me they like my athleticism and attitude."

One of Clevinger's teammates was also selected by a Los Angeles team.

Former Stanton pitcher Garrett Bush went to the Dodgers in the 19th round at pick No. 584. The 6-foot-4 Bush, a right-hander, pitched 31 innings this past season. The sophomore went 2-3 with a 4.65 ERA, striking out 17 batters and walking 20.

Joining Clevinger in the Angels' organization will be former St. Joseph pitcher Daniel Vargas-Vila. The University of West Florida standout was taken by the Angels in the 28th round at pick No. 855. Vargas-Vila led West Florida to the NCAA Division II national championship, finishing the season with a 16-1 record.

The Angels weren't the only team to pick multiple players with ties to the First Coast.

Fresh off their selection of Baez the night before, the Cubs took Clay third baseman Drew Weeks in the 29th round. Weeks, a University of North Florida signee, was the 879th player picked.

The other area player drafted out of high school was Jalen Simmons. The Camden County (Ga.) outfielder was picked by the Baltimore Orioles in the 24th round (725th pick). …

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