Tunkhannock’s Papi signs with Indians

June 9th, 2015 8:16 pm

First Posted: 7/3/2014

Getting over a loss in the final game of the College World Series will never be easy.

Signing that first professional contract? That certainly helps.

Tunkhannock grad Mike Papi officially took the next step in his already impressive baseball career, signing a contract with the Cleveland Indians.

Papi, the 38th overall pick in last month’s MLB Draft, had decided to turn pro earlier in the week rather than return for his senior season at Virginia. On Thursday, he signed the deal, not long after his season ended at Virginia.

“Made it official today!” Papi wrote on his Twitter account. “Extremely happy to part of the Cleveland Indians organization.”

SBNation reported that Papi received a $1.25 million signing bonus as well as a $30,000 scholarship from the Indians by opting to sign.

Papi is the second Wyoming Valley Conference alum to be drafted in the first round, following Lake-Lehman’s Johnny Oliver. Papi was selected in the first competitive balance round, which is considered part of the first round.

Only Oliver (1996 first round, 25th overall) and Wyoming Seminary’s Mark Ambrose (1986 second round, 34th overall) have been drafted higher out of the WVC.

Papi could be joining fellow Cleveland first-rounder Bradley Zimmer in the New York-Penn League with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the Indians’ short-season Class A affiliate.

The Scrappers will be visiting central Pennsylvania later this month, playing two games at State College on July 22-23, followed by a three-game set in Williamsport from July 24-26.

Crestwood grad Matt Wotherspoon, a 34th-round pick of the New York Yankees, is already playing in the New York-Penn League with Staten Island.

Papi has been one of the area’s most successful players in recent memory. He helped lead Tunkhannock to the PIAA Class 3A finals in 2011, falling just short of a state championship.

This past season at Virginia, Papi hit third in a Cavaliers lineup loaded with MLB draft picks, including fellow Pennsylvania native Derek Fisher, who was selected one pick before Papi at 37th overall. Scranton grad Joe McCarthy frequently hit clean-up behind Papi and will be draft-eligible next year.

The Cavaliers season lasted until the last possible moment — the third game of the best-of-three finals at the College World Series. Virginia fell just short against Vanderbilt, losing 3-2. The final out in the bottom of the ninth came with Papi on deck.

Papi played first base at Virginia but projects as a corner outfielder in the pros. He hit .307 for the Cavs with a team-best .451 on-base percentage. His season highlight came in the second game of the College World Series, hitting a walk-off double in the ninth to beat Ole Miss.