(WLTX) — Lexington catcher Nick Ciuffo is officially a professional baseball player.
The state’s Gatorade Player of the Year has signed with the Tampa Bay Rays, the team that drafted him with the 21st overall pick in the first-year player draft earlier this month.
Ciuffo helped lead Lexington to its first state championship on the diamond since 1999. Ciuffo hit .453 for the Wildcats with five home runs over the course of the 2013 season.
Jim Callis of Baseball America reports Ciuffo agreed to a signing bonus of $1,974,700.
Ciuffo had signed to play at USC, but head coach Chad Holbrook says he knew all along that Ciuffo was headed to the pros.
“He’s always welcome here and always will be a part of this program,” said Holbrook.
“We certainly wish him well with him chasing his dream of being a big-league catcher.”