MLB’s Nationals draft Pace grad Sammy Infante
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Sammy Infante’s dream was to play baseball for the University of Miami Hurricanes.
And then the Washington Nationals called, with an offer to change everything for the now-former shortstop for Monsignor Edward Pace High School.
Infante, 19, from Hialeah, is headed to the world of professional baseball after signing with the reigning World Series champion Nationals.
They drafted him in June, making him the first high school player from South Florida to be chosen in this year’s Major League Baseball draft, and the 71st selection overall.
“I feel like there’s no chance to waste,” Infante said in a conference call with reporters on June 11, the night he got drafted. “I want to be a baseball player. That’s something I’ve wanted to be my whole life. My dream was becoming a ’Cane, stepping on campus, living the campus life.
“But I’m ready, I’m healthy, I’m ready to go and that’s why I’m signing with the Nationals,” he said.
Major League Baseball assigns a value to what teams can offer each draft pick in terms of a signing bonus, and for the 71st pick this year that value was $884,200.
MLB.com listed the actual amount of Infante’s
signing bonus at $1 million.
By signing with the
Nationals, Infante forgoes his chance to play college baseball.
He was formally assigned by the Nationals to their Gulf Coast League affiliate on June 24, which is a typical starting spot for newly drafted players.
What Infante’s immediate future holds is unclear.
The coronavirus pandemic has wiped out minor league baseball plans for 2020, and it is extremely rare for players to make it to the major league level in their draft year.
But Infante said he’s willing to do whatever the
“It’s a dream come true, to be honest,” Infante said. “A lot of hard work and sacrifice from my parents and me and coaches that coached me since I was little to growing up right now. It’s a dream come true and I just can’t wait to go out and get to work.”
Infante was part of Pace’s state championship team in 2018.
He also participated in the prestigious Under Armour All-American Showcase last year.
A school official said Infante graduated with a 3.5 GPA and that his name would soon be added to Pace’s “Pro Hall of Fame Wall” located in the school’s Delgado Baseball Stadium.
Infante said he owes much of his success not only to his family, but to a pair of his baseball mentors, former MLB shortstop and Miami native Ricky Gutierrez and Pace coach Tom Duffin.
Gutierrez spent more than a decade in the big leagues and Duffin got Infante’s defensive skills to grow by using him not just at shortstop but at other defensive positions around the infield as well.
“Ricky really showed me and taught me the insides and outs of the shortstop position,” Infante said. “And my Coach Duff, he just taught me how to be versatile. He moved me around second base, third base and that just made me a better shortstop.”