University of Hawaii pitcher Tyler Brashears agreed to terms on a contract with the Tampa Bay Rays before Friday’s deadline and will forgo his senior season with the Rainbow Warrior baseball team.
Brashears, an All-Big West first-team pick this spring, was selected by Tampa Bay in the 14th round of last month’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft with the 418th overall pick. The right-hander had until 11 a.m. (Hawaii time) Friday to agree to terms.
Brashears confirmed he and the Rays agreed to a $100,000 signing bonus. He said he’ll return home to California then head to Florida shortly thereafter where he will formally sign his first professional contract.
“It’s definitely starting to sink in that it’s becoming reality,” Brashears said.
Brashears will be the third UH pitcher to embark on a professional career this summer. Junior LJ Brewster signed with the Miami Marlins after being drafted in the 22nd round. Reliever Quintin Torres-Costa, a redshirt sophomore, also signed with the Milwaukee Brewers after being drafted in the 35th round.
“If you do this long enough you’re never surprised with the draft,” UH coach Mike Trapasso said. “Obviously when it got this close, you thought there was a chance (he might return). But at the end of the day our job is to graduate our players and then prepare them for professional baseball. So Tyler’s going to go out and represent the university and the state of Hawaii proud.
“We’ll wish Tyler well. We’re disappointed he’s leaving, but we’re happy for him and happy for our program.”
Brashears was the first UH player named to the All-Big West first team in the program’s three years in the conference. He went 8-5 in 15 starts this season and led the team with a 1.86 earned-run average. He struck out 68 in 101 2/3 innings, both team highs, and walked 19.
In Big West play, Brashears was 5-2 and his 1.59 ERA was second in the conference, He finished with 38 strikeouts and 12 walks in 56 2/3 innings. He threw back-to-back shutouts in 1-0 wins over UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State.
“My time at UH was definitely one of the best years of my life,” Brashears said. “I just want to thank Coach Trap for everything he’s done for me, he definitely helped make me into the pitcher I am today, and to the fans who came out every game and supported us. It was definitely a fun year.”