Ramsey to start at High-A Palm Beach

The calls and text messages started trickling in Monday night, but James Ramsey didn't want to jump the gun.

A deal is in place for him to begin his professional career, but it's still a few days away from being official.

"It's funny how the Internet universe, how the monster works," Ramsey said. "I got a couple texts saying, 'Congratulations on signing,' and I'm like, I haven't signed."

That, of course, is a formality now.

Ramsey plans to fly to St. Louis on Thursday and take the necessary physicals Friday before signing a $1.6 million deal with the Cardinals, after they drafted him in the first round of this year's amateur draft with the 23rd overall selection.

It's a quick turnaround for Ramsey, who less than a week ago was on the field with Florida State in Omaha, Neb., playing in the College World Series. He's eager to take the next step and the Cardinals are happy to put him on the fast track.

Ramsey, 22, will begin his professional career with the Palm Beach Cardinals, the team's high-A affiliate in the Florida State League -- a few steps up the ladder from where a typical rookie begins his career.

The decision, Ramsey said, is a tribute to his maturity.

"It's obviously, I guess you could say on the fast track," Ramsey said. "Straight to high-A is something that not many guys are able to do and I think the Cardinals obviously see my maturity level as a player and a person and feel like I can handle the steps of going straight to high-A."

The location in Florida doesn't hurt either. Ramsey said friends and former teammates have already offered to make the drive to Jupiter, Fla., routinely to cheer him on.

"All those guys have already said they'll be there at every game supporting me," he said.

Ramsey, who hit .378 with 13 doubles and 13 homers this season for FSU, will receive the fifth-largest bonus ever given a college senior, according to Baseball America. While that $1.6-million number comes in just below slot for St. Louis, Ramsey said he was pleased with how smoothly the negotiations unfolded once the business side of baseball got underway this week.

"My representation has been great, and on the other side of the coin, the Cardinals, of all the teams, have definitely treated me fairly based on my ability as a player," he said. "They didn't treat me fairly because of the year in school I am or the ramifications of being a college player vs. a high school player. They treated me very fairly based on my abilities. That's all I can ask for, and I've been very pleased."

Ramsey said he'll be attending the Pirates-Cardinals game Friday at Busch Stadium -- his first visit to the ballpark -- and will be honored before the game.

"The Cardinals have been first-class through the whole deal," he said. "From the first minute I met with the Cardinals … I've felt like it was a family I'd like to be a part of. For it to be moving forward, it's very exciting."