Hagerty High School shortstop and UCF baseball signee Ryan Mountcastle's life changed on June 8 when was selected in the first round, 36th overall, by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft – the final selection of the first round.
"Hearing my name getting called was an unforgettable feeling," Mountcastle said. "The night of the draft, after it all happened, a bunch of people texted me, and it probably took me a couple days to finally respond to everybody.
"It was pretty crazy, but things settled down a little bit."
The Winter Springs native had some soul searching to do in the past week to determine the best outlet for himself. Either he would play college ball in black and gold or sign a professional contract, forgoing any chance to ever play collegiate baseball, and see if he could make a career in black and orange – the Orioles' colors.
He chose the latter. A decision that held a slot value of $1.7 million, according to Baseball America.
He agreed to terms with the Orioles on a $1.3 million contract on Tuesday, according to Major League Baseball.
"I've always wanted to go to UCF, but I also knew the draft was also an option," Mountcastle said.
The decision to sign with the Orioles may not have come as a surprise to many. After he was selected, he updated his Twitter picture to a photo of him in an Orioles shirt and the description was changed to "Baltimore Orioles."
Going into the draft, Mountcastle was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 24 prospect in the state of Florida and No. 122 in the nation.
Mountcastle was surprised to hear his name called during the first round, but thought he deserved it.
"I've been underrated my entire life," he said. "Sometimes people give out negative feedback: that you're not good enough. But just keep grinding and know that it'll all work out in the end.
For the past two years, Mountcastle has been working at a sports performance company in Oviedo called Body Tech. It also happens to be where former UCF quarterback and 2014 first round NFL Draft pick Blake Bortles trained.
"Ryan works very hard. He listens to what we tell him to do, he never complains. He's dedicated, he's been dedicated ever since I met him," said Joey DeBellis, owner of Body Tech. "He did what he had to do. Especially the last couple months of the baseball season and toward the draft, he was in here four or five days per week."
DeBellis said he worked with Mountcastle on a variety of different mechanics, but one thing in particular: speed.
"It'll definitely be tough," Mountcastle said. It'll be a grind, but I'm really looking forward to it, and I just can't wait to compete with all these other guys."
Jarrod Heil is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @JHeil11 or email him at JarrodH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.
Colin Bell is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future. Email him at ColinB@knights.ucf.edu.