Zach Correll was in the middle of his girlfriend's graduation at Mt. Hope High School, in Bristol, R.I., with spotty cellular service, when a Facebook message from his father came across his screen that he had just been drafted. Then, moments later, his girlfriend's name was called to receive her diploma.
Sensory overload has a funny way of railroading you in an instant. Correll broke down and cried.
"It was like something out of a movie," he laughed.
Correll, the 6-foot-6 righthander out of Swansea's Joseph Case High who has taken the South Coast by storm with his low-90's velocity this spring, was taken in the 13th round this afternoon by the Cincinnati Reds. Hours after the fact, Correll is still trying to decipher what just happened.
"I feel like it's not even real. It hasn't set in yet. It's insane," Correll said. "I'm just surprised to be drafted. I'm lucky to be drafted. That's what I'm shocked about."
Draft projections varied on the 6-foot-6 Correll coming into the spring, primarily because of his late rise under the radar.
"He's a guy you really have to consider, because of the physical frame and a fastball in the 88-92 range," one American League scout told ESPNBoston.com back in April. "He is a little bit more raw than some of the other guys in the area, but if he can begin to tighten up the breaking ball over the course of the spring, you've got an interesting prospect with that size and arm speed."
Suffice to say Correll exceeded expectations this spring, leading the Cardinals into the second round of the MIAA Division 3 South Tournament and being named a finalist for ESPN Boston's annual "Mr. Baseball" award earlier this week. He finished his senior season with an 8-2 record and a 0.54 ERA, 103 strikeouts in 64 innings, good enough to be named a finalist for ESPN Boston's annual "Mr. Baseball" award earlier this week.
His final start of his high school career, a 2-1 win over Ashland in the Division 3 South tournament, was a gem. He struck out 14 batters, and saw his velocity touch 94 mph for the first time in his career.
"It was a good way go out, a nice, dominant 14-K game and beating a good team like Ashland," Correll said. "There's nothing better than that besides a state championship."
Correll had verbally committed to San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College going into the season, but says he is turning pro. Correll said he had made up the decision "about a week ago" that if he heard his name called that weekend, he would quickly sign. He could sign his papers as soon as tomorrow.
"As long as there was a four-year college supplementary plan...After two years [with the organization], I can go wherever I want, that's what attracted us," Correll said. "With the signing bonus and then having a salary playing in the minors...If I get hurt in the pros, I have nothing to lose. That was the deciding factor."
Terms were undisclosed, but under the current MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement, the maximum a team can offer a draft pick taken beyond the 10th round is $100,000 -- though if there is money left over from the salary slots of the first 10 draft picks, that can be used towards the group beyond the 10th round.
"I am extremely excited. It still hasn't sunken in," Correll said. "I probably won't realize it until I sign."