Posted: 4:56 pm Thursday, June 7th, 2012

MLB Draft: Ex-Palm Beach State pitcher Brandon Welch signs with New York Mets 

By Matt Porter

Former Palm Beach State pitcher Brandon Welch signed with the New York Mets on Thursday.

Welch

Welch

Welch, a Palm Beach Gardens alum, was taken in the fifth round (170th overall) by the Mets on Tuesday.

“It’s awesome,” Welch said. “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this.”

He had hoped to be taken higher in the draft, but believes a drop in his velocity last season caused him to fall. He pitched a team-high 78 innings for Palm Beach State last season, going 4-3 with a 3.23 ERA. He led his team in strikeouts (79) and had just 18 walks.

Welch said he signed for “around $200,000,” less than the suggested bonus amount for the 170th overall pick, which is $242,600. That doesn’t bother him, though. “I’m happy with it,” Welch said. “It’s more money than I have right now.”

Welch, who signed with Daytona State out of high school, had a scholarship to Florida Atlantic if he did not turn pro.

He said he will report to Port St. Lucie for Mets rookie camp on Saturday and will participate in strength and conditioning program until the end of August. He’ll then move to instructional leagues in Fort Myers and King’s Court, Tenn.

“When I got drafted, my phone was blowing up,” Welch said. “I’ll be happy to get back to everyone and tell them thank you, let them know how grateful I am they helped me get here.”