Former Ashland pitcher Gaviglio signs pro deal with St. Louis

When it came down to it, Sam Gaviglio decided it was simply time to play ball.

After weighing his options for two months, Gaviglio reached an agreement with the St. Louis Cardinals late Monday night and will forego his senior baseball season at Oregon State University.

"I just figured it was time to go out and play," he said Tuesday afternoon from his parents' Ashland home. "Negotiations weren't really going anywhere so I took what I could get and now I just want to go play baseball."

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound right-handed pitcher was a fifth-round selection by the Cardinals in June after going 12-3 with a 2.54 ERA in his junior season with the Beavers. Gaviglio was a first-team all-conference selection, a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and a Baseball America second-team All-American.

He had the option to return to Oregon State for his senior season and also wrap up his degree in forestry, and considered that seriously before ultimately opting to join the professional ranks.

"I love the program, it's great up there (in Corvallis) and I had a good time with the team last year," said Gaviglio, 21. "Obviously I could've gone back to school another year but I've got a scholarship plan worked out for that and I feel like I'm just ready to play."

Gaviglio received a $175,000 signing bonus plus a scholarship plan to one day complete his forestry studies. He's set to leave Ashland today to join the Cardinals' Class A short-season squad in Batavia, N.Y.

"I'm excited and just looking forward to what the future is going to bring," he said. "I think I'm kinda looking forward to something new and competing with some of the best people in the country."

Gaviglio could've pushed the Aug. 15 deadline for drafted players to sign with a team in hopes of gaining a few more dollars on the front end of his first professional deal but that wasn't a priority.

"I just didn't want to be holding onto a deadline," he said. "I'm happy and when it comes down to it, I just want to play. Money's one thing but it's not the end of the world or anything like that. Now that it's all over with, it's just baseball time now."

Gaviglio said he's been splitting time between Corvallis and Ashland since his junior season came to an end against Vanderbilt in the super regionals. He's continued his workouts and done some general pitching work, but also took time off from throwing to rest his arm.

"It feels good," he said of his steady right arm. "I'm ready to rock."

Entering the draft, Gaviglio received praise for his pitching moxie and for a repertoire that includes a fastball in the upper 80s that's complemented by a solid changeup and biting slider. He emerged as the staff ace at OSU as a freshman when he went 10-1 with a 2.73 ERA and battled a nagging hamstring injury during his sophomore campaign before returning to form as a junior.

Gaviglio was originally drafted out of high school in the 40th round by the Tampa Bay Rays but opted to play for Oregon State instead. On Tuesday, Gaviglio talked of the excitement he has to not only start his pro career, but do it as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

"They're a good program year in and year out and always in the playoff race," he said. "They've got some of the finest players in the game on their team."

His current teammates have shown to be pretty good in their own right, with a league-high six Muckdogs recently named to the New York-Penn League All-Star roster for an Aug. 16 game in Lowell, Mass. Batavia stands fifth in the Pinckney Division with a record of 24-26.

"I'm going to go out and probably throw one or two innings at a time for a while and then maybe toward the end of the season move in as a starter," Gaviglio said of the Cardinals' short-term plans for him this summer in New York. The Muckdogs' regular season wraps up Sept. 4.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or

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