Mount Pleasant native Nick Ciuffo has signed a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday morning to begin his professional career and officially end the chances of him playing at South Carolina.
Ciuffo, who helped Lexington win a state championship in 2013, has agreed to a signing bonus worth more than $1.97 million.
The catcher had been committed to play at South Carolina since he was 14 years old. But the Rays changed things earlier this month when they made Ciuffo the 21st overall pick in the draft.
The $1.97 million is right around the slot value for the 21st pick of the draft.
Overall in his 4 years of high school, 2 years at Wando followed by 2 at Lexington, he hit .401 with 11 HR's and 93 RBI.
He will report to Port Charlotte, Fla., to play for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Rays who start their regular season today.
Ciuffo, 18, is the first catcher ever taken by the Rays with their first overall pick. He was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 22 overall prospect in the draft, No. 2 catcher, No. 1 out of the state of South Carolina and No. 11 among high school players. He was also ranked as the No. 23 overall prospect by MLB.com.