Spanish Springs High alum Jace Avina will sign a professional contract with the Milwaukee Brewers and bypass playing for him hometown college, Nevada baseball coach T.J. Bruce told Nevada Sports Net on Thursday. Bruce was told of the signing by the Brewers. Avina's father, Armando, confirmed the deal with NSN, saying the agreement came Thursday morning.
The deadline for 2021 draft picks to sign a pro contract was Sunday.
Avina, a 6-foot-2 outfielder, was a 14th-round pick by the Brewers (417th overall) during this month's MLB draft and was weighing the opportunity of signing a pro deal or playing for Nevada, which had offered him a full-ride scholarship to play college. If Avina did attend Nevada, he wouldn't have been draft eligible again until 2025, per MLB and NCAA rules.
Avina was the Northern 5A offensive player of the year after hitting a state-best .478 during the regular season. He ranked top three in the state in homers (three) and RBIs (17) in the COVID-19-shortened six-week season. Avina, whose junior season was cut short by the pandemic, participated in the inaugural MLB draft combine and has earned rave reviews for his athletic ability and character.
Avina said in the lead up to the MLB draft he was in a good position either way because of the college opportunity at Nevada but stressed how much he wanted to be drafted.
"It's exactly where I want to be," Avina said. "I do want to be a draft pick and play onto the major-league level. And if it doesn't happen, I'll be upset. But I know I do have a backup plan to play college baseball and eventually in three years be a pick after my junior year of college."
Players selected after the draft's 10th round can sign bonuses up to $125,000 before cutting into the drafting team's slotted salary pool. According to Armando Avina, his son got a $260,000 signing bonus and college paid for, so Milwaukee cut into its salary pool to ink the high school product.
Avina is the third local player to sign with a pro team after the draft. Nevada junior Owen Sharts was a 13th-round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates and got a $125,000 bonus, per MLBDraftTracker.com. Nevada first baseman Dillan Shrum signed an undrafted free-agent deal with the Royals.