Everybody knew it was coming, but nobody really expected this.
Recent Hilo High School graduate Micah Bello got a phone call Monday afternoon that changed the trajectory of his life when the Milwaukee Brewers informed him they were about to draft him with the 73rd selection at the end of the second round of the Major League Baseball draft.
Bello thus became the highest position player out of a Big Island high school to be drafted, behind only Waiakea High pitcher Kodi Medeiros, the 12th selection in the 2014 MLB draft, also chosen by the Brewers.
“They came out of nowhere,” Bello, 17, said after the selection was made, valued at $824,000 according to the MLB draft tracker for that slot in the process. “It was a shock. They called and said, ‘We’re going to take you with the next pick,’ and it kind of felt like a dream or something.”
Bello didn’t have to think about taking a scholarship offer to St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif., that was waiting if he was disappointed in the offer.
“I’m signing,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to be a major league ballplayer and this is my opportunity. I know they must love guys from Hawaii because they drafted Kodi and I know he’s doing great. I’m excited to get going.”
Bello, who hit .564 as senior, according to Vikings statistics, had an idea that Kansas City, selecting after Milwaukee, might have an interest, but the Brewers were not in his thoughts, especially after last week when he worked out in California for a handful of teams interested in him, none of them the Brewers.
“It’s a dream, but it’s time to work,” he said. “It’s starting to feel real.”
More details will be filled in Tuesday but the Brewers told Bello they will place him in their Rookie League team in Arizona, with a season that starts in a couple of weeks.
“They were busy,” Bello said of the organizational phone call, “but they said they will fill me in on everything (Tuesday).”
The selection was made by Milwaukee’s position in the Competitive Balance Round B that followed the second round. The statement of explanation by MLB reads, “All teams that have either one of the 10 smallest markets or 10 smallest revenue pools receive an additional pick at the end of the first or second round.”
That included the Brewers and they came with a surprise for one of the best position players to come out of a Big Island high school.
“I just want to thank everyone for all the support they’ve given me, and not just me, but my whole family as we’ve gone through this process,” he said. “I just want people to know how much we have appreciated the support and to also know I will work every day to make them proud of me.”