DUNEDIN, Fla. — Nick Wells never guessed his career would begin north of the border.
The left-handed hurler doesn’t have many memories of Toronto Blue Jays success that he can think back to, unsurprisingly, considering he was born three years after the team’s last visit to the post-season.
Wells had no idea his career would begin so soon, or that Canada’s only major-league affiliate would be the one to select him in the third round of the 2014 draft.
“I didn’t at all, to be honest,” he said. “I didn’t even really expect my pro career to be starting last year, because in junior year I was still looking for a college.
“I was throwing about 83 miles an hour; I didn’t really have anything.”
Despite the unfamiliarity with his first professional team, the 19-year-old native of Virginia is more than content about how it all began last June.
“The teams that showed the most interest that I thought were gonna take me were the [Texas] Rangers, the [Atlanta] Braves, and the [Kansas City] Royals,” Wells said. “I mean, the Blue Jays were right there, and then draft day I had another deal with the [Minnesota] Twins in the later rounds, but the Jays got me first.”
A product of Battlefield High School, he finished his final season with the Bobcats with a 1.06 ERA and even threw two no-hitters, ending the year with a 7-1 record.
The southpaw’s time as a rookie in Florida’s Gulf Coast League was a stark contrast, however, when he went 1-3 in four starts and had an ERA of 5.71.
If Wells couldn’t agree on negotiations with the Blue Jays he would have moved on to the NCAA Division-I College of Charleston, where he had already committed and befriended the Cougars’ coach Monte Lee.
“He kind of expected it but it was tough telling him I’m saying no because I mean, great college, great coach, great team, so it was just a hard decision on me, but he took it alright,” Wells explained. “We still talk here and there, still keep up with each other.”
With his first season as a professional behind him, Wells, who stands at 6-foot-5, knows the next big step for him will be adding more mass to his 195-pound frame, a feat he made progress on during the off-season with a diet consisting of 8,000 calories a day.
“I had to eat every two hours in the day,” the young pitcher said. “I set an alarm on my phone.”
The highly-rated left-hander concedes it was probably the most difficult part about turning pro.
“It’s hard because my metabolism’s kind of crazy as it is, but then when you’ve got to eat and eat and eat and you just can’t eat anymore and you’ve still got to eat… it’s tough,” he said with a laugh. “I can’t lie.”
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