THIS week North Vancouver's Rowan Wick experienced for the second time what for many people would be a dream-cometrue just once: getting drafted by a pro sports team.
The lanky lefty catcher was taken in the ninth round of the Major League Baseball draft, 300th overall, by the St. Louis Cardinals. Two years ago Wick was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers straight out of Carson Graham secondary - he played two seasons with the BCPBL's Vancouver Cannons - but instead of heading right into the pro rookie leagues he chose to play some college baseball. One season at New York's St. John's University and another at California's Cypress College followed and, because he didn't sign a contract with the Brewers, his name went back into the draft. The plan seems to have worked out well as Wick moved up 10 rounds in the draft from 19th in 2010 to ninth in 2012. Two years ago getting drafted was exciting. This year?
"It feels better," said Wick with a laugh.
He was the third Canadian taken this year following Pickering, Ont. third-baseman Eric Wood who went to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the sixth round and pitcher David Otterman of Coquitlam who went to the Brewers in the seventh.
Wick worked out with several clubs before the draft with the Cardinals and Padres expressing the most interest in the days leading up to the draft. The Cardinals, defending World Series champions, eventually pulled the trigger first.
Wick said he knows he likely won't be making the big club by this fall to help in any title defence but he's looking forward to moving up the ranks and eventually making it to the big show.
"Yadier Molina is their No. 1 guy in the big leagues obviously but hopefully I'll be right behind him one day," he said.
Once he secures a work visa Wick will head to Cardinals camp in Florida where he expects to sign a five-year contract with the club. From there he'll join the Johnson City Cardinals of the Appalachian League in Tennessee, a short-season A ball league.
While at Cypress College Wick mainly played catcher but also a little bit of outfield and even pitched a few innings, hitting 94 miles per hour on the radar gun. But he's always loved catching, he said, and that's where he's hoping to stick.
"I've just always been a catcher," he said, adding that there are advantages to playing such a demanding position. "They say that a left-handed hitting catcher with some power is like the most valuable player."
Wick tied for the lead in the California Collegiate League's Orange Empire Conference with seven home runs this season despite getting at least 50 fewer at bats than the rest of the league leaders.
Another North Vancouverite joined Wick on the draft board this week as second baseman Keaton Briscoe went in the 24th round, 751st overall, to the famed Boston Red Sox.
Briscoe starred with the North Shore Twins, helping the team win three consecutive titles from 2007 to 2009, before moving on to play at the University of British Columbia. Also a Carson grad, Briscoe started every game for the Thunderbirds in his sophomore season and led the team in runs, triples, walks, on-base percentage and stolen bases.
Both Wick and Briscoe have suited up for Canada's junior national team.
© Copyright 2013