John Farrell simply needed a change
After watching the first 20 rounds of the Major League Baseball draft earlier this month from his family’s Andover home, Farrell decided to switch off the selection show and turn his attention to some real baseball.
That was when, moments later, the phone rang with the call Farrell had imagined since childhood.
“A scout from Tampa Bay (Lou Wieben) called me,” he said. “He said, ‘Congratulations.’ I asked ‘For what?’
“He said, ‘Because we just selected you in the 21st round of the draft.’”
On June 8, Farrell fulfilled his lifelong dream of playing professional baseball when the Tampa Bay Rays selected the former Andover High and William & Mary ace pitcher as their pick in the 21st round of the 2013 draft.
“I know it’s cliché, but it really is a dream come true,” Farrell said. “I have always wanted the chance to play baseball for a living. When I got that call, I was overwhelmed with joy.”
Selected 638th overall, the 22nd pick in the 21st round, Farrell became the highest pick ever to play at Andover High, and the first former Golden Warrior to be selected since Kevin Shepard was taken in the 30th round in 2004.
Andover resident Mike Yastrzemski was drafted in the 14th round by Baltimore, but he played at St. John’s Prep, and current Major Leaguer Ryan Hanigan was not even drafted.
“I was hoping I was going to get my shot,” Farrell said. “I wanted to play baseball for a job, and now I want to make the most of it and work as hard as I can to be successful.”
Farrell signed his first professional contract last Monday, and was then assigned to the Hudson Valley Renegades of the single-A New York-Penn League. This week, he was projected to make his first professional start, going on the mound against the Aberdeen Ironbirds on Wednesday.