Marc Buckhout/The Foothills Focus
Joey Wise, the Falcons southpaw, will choose between a scholarship offer from Central Arizona Junior College and signing a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians organization. The pitcher helped Cactus Shadows High School qualify for the state tournament.
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Cactus Shadows grad drafted by Indians
MARC BUCKHOUT ~MANAGING EDITOR ~ 6/12/2013
Joey Wise, a 2013 Cactus Shadows High School graduate admits it was a stressful weekend. As the 18-year-old was in the process of helping his family move to a new home he was constantly monitoring his phone, wondering where his future might take him.
“I heard so many things that I really didn’t know what to expect,” Wise admits. “I heard a lot of people telling me I’d be drafted in the top 20 rounds, some even said top 10, but the only thing I was pretty sure about was that I’d get drafted.”
On Saturday the 6-foot-2 left-handed pitcher, got the call he’d been waiting for when he was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 33rd round.
“I had a few teams show more interest in others,” Wise said. “I would say the Indians scout was one of the guys that talked to me on a more personal level. He talked to me about how the minor league system works so I wasn’t surprised that they were the team that picked me.”
Whether he signs a contract with the Indians or elects to go to Central Arizona Junior College in Coolidge was undecided at press time.
“I’m supposed to talk business with the scout at some point today,” Wise said. “I’ll listen to what they have to say and talk to my dad and we’ll figure it out. If the opportunity isn’t there for sure professionally I’ll go to Central Arizona.”
The southpaw admitted that he hadn’t given the thought of professional baseball being a real opportunity until the end of last summer.
“From there it seemed like every time I pitched there would be scouts watching,” he said.
Initially those eyes had a negative impact on Wise.
“You knew every time you went out you had to perform,” he said. “The first few times it was really intimidating, but at some point you kind of learn to relax. I got to where I thought it was fun to try and figure out who was watching each day. Now I have no issues pitching in front of scouts or big crowds or anything.”
Wise helped the Falcons to a Division – II state tournament appearance during a 14-15 2013 season.
Falcons coach Gaetano Gianni said the southpaws numbers weren’t reflective of the way he pitched during the season. In nine appearances Wise had a 2-4 record with a 3.42 ERA, while striking out 64 batters on the season.
Moving forward, Wise, who throws a fastball in the 88 – 91 miles per hour range, said he knows where he needs to improve.
“It’s definitely going to be becoming more consistent with my change up and curveball,” he said.
Wise said part of him still struggles to believe the opportunities baseball has presented.
“It took quite a while before I even thought about it,” he said. “It wasn’t until the last couple seasons that I started realizing my potential.”
After receiving word that he had been drafted on Saturday Wise said his family took him out to dinner at Valley Luna to celebrate.