Back in January when Garrett Fulenchek signed his letter of intent to play baseball at Dallas Baptist University the feeling was that he would be faced with a big decision following the 2014 Major League Baseball draft.
That decision became a lot easier to make after the Atlanta Braves offered the big right hander a $1 million dollar signing bonus, plus eight semesters of education at DBU.
Fulenchek was drafted in the second round by the Braves with the 66th overall pick of the 2014 draft.
That slot had a compensation figure of $860,000 and Atlanta went above that figure with its offer, which Fulenchek accepted.
We asked Fulenchek about his anticipation and feelings as the draft progressed.
“ It was like getting a weight off of my chest; my dad, everyone was really excited and it was a dream come true for me.” Fulenchek said
MLB.com reporter Jim Callis tweeted Saturday morning that Fulenchek and the Braves had reached agreement on the deal. He is expected to sign his contract on June 10 and will report to Atlanta’s Spring Training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on the June 12.
Fulenchek told us his main emphasis upon getting to camp would be to work on his off-speed pitches.
“I have to get more consistent with my change up and feel comfortable throwing it for strikes,” he said.
Braves officials believe that Fulenchek’s 6-4, 205-pound frame will allow him to add velocity to his already above-average fastball as he goes through the early portion of his professional career.
“He just kept getting better this year,” Braves director of scouting Tony DeMacio told reporters at MLB.com. “He’s got a real projectable body and a lot of life on his fastball. Everything that he throws moves.”
Fulenchek was the first pitcher chosen by the Braves in the June 5 draft as the team selected Braxton Davidson, a North Carolina high school outfielder, with its first-round pick.
For the 18-year-old Bulldog, who graduated on June 7, the next phase of his life begins. Whether it begins in one of the two rookie leagues in the Braves system or at Rome, Georgia or Danville, Virginia, it will be an exciting time for this young man.
We wish him well.