Originally Published: June 22, 2016 11:14 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA – After he was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the fourth round of the MLB Amateur Draft nearly two weeks ago, the wait is finally is over for JoJo Romero.
The left-handed pitcher signed a deal with the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday, receiving an $800,000 signing bonus, nearly $243,000 over the slot value for a 107th pick.
Romero is scheduled to report Thursday to Clearwater, Florida, where the club’s spring training facility is located.
After the Phillies spend a week acclimating him to the life of a professional baseball player, they will send him to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where he will play Class Short-Season A ball for the Crosscutters.
Weighing his options on whether to turn pro, or head to the University of Arizona on full scholarship to play baseball for the Wildcats, Romero said it wasn’t a tough decision.
“The way everything played out at the end of the season, seeing where I would go [in the draft], going pretty high and getting the amount I got, I was ready for the next step,” Romero said. “My mind was made up, but I wanted it all to play out.”
Prior to the MLB Draft earlier this month, Romero led the Yavapai College baseball team to a NJCAA national title with a 5-2 win over San Jacinto-North College.
Pitching in the national title game June 4, Romero struck out 15 batters in a complete game win for the Roughriders, which claimed their first national title in 23 years, and fourth in program history.
Romero said he was both excited and nervous, and after his physical Wednesday, he was ready for it all to be “over with.”
“Once we were finished, I got walk on the field at the ballpark,” Romero said. “It was worth it.”
The southpaw was a perfect 3-0 in Grand Junction, Colorado, during the Junior College Baseball World Series, and posted an 11-5 record with a 3.64 ERA and 129 strikeouts this past season. He was rated No. 124 on MLB.com’s Top 200 Prospect list.
Romero is the highest draft pick to come out of Roughrider Park in 30 years. Yavapai alum Curt Schilling, a six-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion, was drafted by the Boston Red Sox with the 39th overall pick in 1986.
Last summer, Yavapai standout Willie Calhoun was taken with the 132nd pick in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
UPDATE ON EASLEY
Former Roughrider center fielder Nate Easley was drafted by the San Diego Padres with the 684th pick in the 23rd round of the MLB Draft earlier this month.
Easley, the son of former Major League Baseball player Damion Easley, was assigned by the Padres to the Tri-City Dust Devils in Pasco, Washington, where he will play Class Short-Season A ball this summer.
Easley, who passed up a scholarship to play Pac-12 baseball at Washington State University, will play second base for the Dust Devils this season.
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is a sports writer and columnist for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter @SportsWriter52 or reach him by phone at 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.