NC State reliever Chris Villaman has chosen to begin his professional baseball career, forgoing his last two years of college eligibility and signing with the Tampa Bay Rays. The third-year sophomore used the leverage of a possible return to college to land a signing bonus from the Rays that is well above slot value.
9th-rder Chris Villaman signs with @RaysBaseball for $325k (slot 284 = $157k). @NCStateBaseball LHP, relies heavily on 90-95 mph fastball that plays up thanks to angle & command, low-80s changeup is best secondary offering. @MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/7YqM19rWpC— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) July 28, 2022
He could have returned to State in 2023 and maintained that leverage in next year’s draft, but while that could have paid off, it would also have been a bit of a gamble—for a pitcher especially.
He also could have ended up in a far worse Major League organization in ‘23. The Rays have been consistently good across the board for a long time, so he can rest easy knowing he is in capable hands. Plus, this means we may see him in Durham playing for the Bulls down the line.
All the best to Chris as he begins his journey to the show.