The phone rang and on the other end was an ultimatum from a familiar voice.
Joey Curletta instantly became familiar with the business side of professional baseball and because of that phone call on Tuesday he is a Los Angeles Dodger.
“It’s a great opportunity and I am honored to be with such a great organization,” the recent Mountain Pointe graduate said. “It happened so fast. My dad got the call and wanted to know if I’d be willing to sign. It’s hard to believe.”
The call came from Ahwatukee Foothills resident Logan White, who is the scouting director for the Dodgers. He called Curletta’s father, Joe, and they wanted to see if the Mountain Pointe star would forgo his college commitment to Arizona and eventually sign a contract.
The answer was yes.
Soon thereafter, it was announced that the Dodgers selected outfielder Curletta in this sixth round with the 206th overall pick.
“There has been a lot of hard work, but it is just beginning,” Curletta said. “I am going to work hard for them for taking a chance on me and make sure I deliver on it.”
Curletta worked out for the Dodgers on Sunday, taking batting practice at Dodgers Stadium while being timed in the 60-yard dash and throwing from his positions of first base and the outfield.
“It was amazing,” he said. “As an athlete you can block out stuff like that, but it was hard. Dodgers Stadium is big. Really big and I loved every minute of it.”
Apparently, the Dodgers did as well.
Curletta’s stock with teams was a bit of an unknown considering he had such a monster year as a junior (.420, 21 home runs) and a down year as a senior (.360, 4 home runs) at the plate, but lit up the radar gun (94 to 95 mph).
Curletta, who will train in Arizona at the Dodgers complex in Glendale and most likely start out in the Arizona Rookie League, is surprisingly athletic at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, and the Dodgers saw enough in him to invest money in him now rather than letting him develop for three years in a quality college program like Arizona.
Pride coach Brandon Buck said Curletta’s development will be fun to watch.
“There is no one more athletic in this draft (from an Arizona high school standpoint),” Buck said before the draft. “They (the scouts) love his body and his athleticism and when he hit in the low 90s their interest cranked up even more.”
With the uncertainty about his draft position, the Curlettas decided to keep it low key heading into the second day of the draft with just family hanging out at the house.
“My dad wanted me to sign, my mom wanted me to go to college, and I wasn’t sure,” Curletta said. “When it happened everyone went nuts. I can’t wait to get it all started.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.