4 San Jac MLB draftees have signed contracts

07.28.2016 | By John Bechtle for sanjacsports.com

HOUSTON- At least four San Jacinto College baseball players who were drafted earlier this month by Major League baseball teams have signed professional contracts. Pitchers Devin Smeltzer and Cody Nesbit in addition to catcher Ryan January and second baseman Brandon Montgomery have been assigned to minor league affiliates as of June 28.

Smeltzer, a left-handed pitcher who struck out 20 batters to help SJC reach the JUCO World Series championship round, is now a Los Angeles Dodger. A fifth-round choice of the Dodgers, the 161st overall selection, has reportedly signed a contract for $500,000, well over the slot value for the pick of $331,000. In most cases involving pitchers who have already thrown a full season in 2016 – Smeltzer 15 starts at San Jacinto College covering 91 2/3 innings – teams are in little hurry to get them back on the hill this calendar year.

When the time is right, Smeltzer could be headed to the Dodgers’ rookie league affiliate in Arizona. Smeltzer had signed a letter of intent to attend Texas Tech University, a NCAA College World Series qualifier. Instead, Smeltzer will begin his quest of one day pitching at Dodger Stadium.

Former San Jacinto College catcher Ryan January has already begun his playing career with the Arizona Diamondbacks. An eighth-round pick of the Diamondbacks as a catcher, January was the 239th overall selection. He landed a signing bonus of $350,000, well over the pick’s slot value of $179,800. January began his minor league career June 25 with Arizona’s rookie league squad in Arizona. Competing in the Pioneer League, January got off to a bit of a sluggish start, going 3 for 22 at the plate through June 28.

Cody Nesbit, a La Porte High School graduate, has signed with the world champion Kansas City Royals for an undisclosed bonus amount. The pick’s slot value was $100,000. After a terrific season as a reliever with the Gators, Nesbit had reportedly signed a letter of intent with the University of Houston but has chosen to go the professional route instead after the Royals picked him in the 22nd round.

As is the case with Smeltzer with the Dodgers, the Royals aren’t likely to be in a hurry to put Nesbit to work on the mound. During 2016 with San Jacinto College, Nesbit registered 78 strikeouts over just 45 innings. However, Nesbit has been assigned to the Royals’ rookie league affiliate in Arizona and could very well soon make his debut in pro baseball.

Montgomery, the starting second baseman for San Jacinto College this season, has also collected a signing bonus to join the Dodgers’ organization. The sophomore had signed a letter of intent with the University of Miami but elected to make a go of it in the pro ranks. A 26th round pick of the Dodgers, Montgomery signed and is already playing for the Dodgers’ rookie league team in Arizona. Time will tell, but he may soon be joined by Smeltzer there. Through a handful of pro games, Montgomery had four hits in 18 at bats with six runs scored. 

There is no word on any of San Jacinto College’s other three signees, including outfielders Nick Shumpert and Aaron Bond and pitcher Montana Parsons.

As a high schooler, Shumpert was deemed a second- to third-round talent in 2015 but slid to the seventh round, where he was chosen by the Detroit Tigers. Shumpert did not sign, instead opting to join San Jacinto College. He went in the 28th round in 2016 to the Atlanta Braves. At press time, there was no word on whether Shumpert has signed with the Braves. He is said to have a standing offer to attend the University of Kentucky.

Parsons, who went 5-5 this season as a starting pitcher at SJC, was picked in the 30th round by the Chicago Cubs. The right-hander has also signed a letter of intent with the Baylor University baseball program.

San Jacinto College freshman outfielder Aaron Bond was a 39th round selection by the St. Louis Cardinals. There has been no word on his decision at present.

There are a couple of other tidbits involving the San Jacinto College baseball program. Catcher Baine Schoenvogel announced on his Twitter page that he will play at Texas A&M University beginning this fall. And JoJo Romero, the Yavapai starting pitcher who went the distance to defeat SJC in the JUCO World Series championship game, has also signed.

Romero, a fourth round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies, reportedly received a signing bonus of $800,000, well more than the slot value of $557,600. Major League Baseball organizations have until July 15, 2016, at midnight to sign their 2016 picks or will lose their draft rights to those players.

Nationwide, there weren’t many colleges who had more players drafted in 2016 than San Jacinto, which had seven. Texas A&M University, which spent a great portion of the season as the nation’s No. 1 ranked team, had nine players chosen. Louisville, another team that spent a great deal of time at the top of the national rankings, also had seven players selected in 2016.


About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit www.sanjac.edu, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.