Blessed beyond belief!! Proud to say I have signed a professional contract to play with the LA Dodgers. ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/rKGP2Zwsjo— Caleb Ferguson ⚾️ (@Im__Ferg) July 3, 2014
Ferguson, 6'3, 215 pounds, went to West Jefferson High School in Ohio, and was committed to play college ball at West Virginia. He had Tommy John surgery in May, though after getting drafted told the Madison Press on June 25 he was "50-50" between college and signing with the Dodgers.
"I knew there was some interest from some teams," Ferguson said. "But after I had the surgery I just figured I’d go to West Virginia and look at the draft in a few years. But now after getting drafted I need to figure out what I’m going to do."
The 18-year-old Ferguson is expected to report to the Dodgers facilities at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., where he will continue to rehab from surgery.
It is unknown what bonus Ferguson signed for, but the Dodgers only have $46,484 of wiggle room to add to the otherwise $100,000 maximum bonus for post 10th-round picks, without losing a 2015 first-round draft pick.
Ferguson joins a litany of 2014 Dodgers draft picks with Tommy John surgeries in their past even though his is the most recent and will directly affect the start of his pro career. Other draftees to have the procedure were Jeff Brigham (fourth round), Trevor Oaks (seventh round), Joe Broussard (15th round) and Matt Jones (25th round).
Dodgers vice president of amateur scouting and draft head Logan White said there is no longer a stigma attached to the procedure, which has become more prevalent among young pitchers. White said the first player he drafted and signed who had already had Tommy John surgery was Nathan Eovaldi, who missed most of his senior season of high school and was picked by the Dodgers in the 11th round in 2008, White's seventh year running drafts for the Dodgers.
"When I started in 2002, there wasn't a player that had a Tommy John," White said. "It's definitely more of a trend, with the travel ball and the way these kids are playing all year round. I think it's going to continue to be more common."
The Dodgers have signed 32 of their 40 picks form this year's draft.