Trejyn Fletcher apparently had 1.5 million reasons not to attend Vanderbilt University.
The former Deering baseball star, who graduated from the Portland High School last week, has turned professional.
According to published reports, Fletcher on Wednesday signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. The club has not provided any contract details, but Jim Callis of MLB.com reported that Fletcher will receive a $1.5 million signing bonus.
Fletcher, a power-hitting outfielder who also did some pitching, was among six of the Cardinals’ top 10 draft picks who signed on Wednesday.
The Delaware native on June 3 became the highest-drafted position player ever from Maine when he was selected in the second round, 58th overall.
Fletcher had given a verbal commitment to attend Division I Vanderbilt — which advanced to this year’s College World Series — and had been considered to be a “tough sign” because of that dynamic.
Ultimately, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder could not turn down the money. The minimum signing bonus “slot value” as the Cardinals’ pick at No. 58 was $1,214,300.
The slot values are based on bonus pool money provided to major league clubs to sign draft picks.
Fletcher reportedly was in Jupiter, Florida, at the Cardinals’ spring training facility, for the signing. He was joined by club officials and a few family members and friends.
He is expected to begin his pro career playing for a rookie level team, the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, in Jupiter.
Callis said Fletcher is a potential 20-20 (home runs, stolen bases) center fielder who is still raw at the plate. He also noted that Fletcher has hit 93 mph as a pitcher.
During his senior season at Deering High, Fletcher batted .456 with three home runs, 17 stolen bases and 24 runs scored. He also struck out 40 batters in 20 innings while making four pitching appearances, during which he allowed only seven hits.
He is a finalist this spring for the John Winkin Award, given to Maine’s Mr. Baseball, the top senior player in the state.
Fletcher, who with his family moved to Maine when he was 12, later wound up Cheverus High School in Portland. He played baseball, football and basketball there as a freshman during 2015-2016.
Fletcher then attended Trinity-Pawling, a prep school in New York, where he spent two-plus years before enrolling at Deering last winter.
Fletcher now holds the status as Maine’s highest-drafted position player. Fellow Deering product Ryan Flaherty previously held that distinction after being taken 41st in the 2008 draft by the Chicago Cubs.
Flaherty played parts of seven seasons in the big leagues and is now with the Columbus Clippers, the Class AAA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.
The only Maine players picked higher in the major league draft are pitchers Bill Swift of South Portland, who was taken second overall by Seattle in 1984, and Mark Rogers of Mt. Ararat High in Topsham, who was the fifth overall pick by Milwaukee in 2004.