Wendle Playing as Marquee Prospect in Carolina
Rob McLamb | On 10, Jul 2013
Carolina Mudcats second baseman Joey Wendle is quietly having one of the best seasons within the Cleveland Indians organization, and while quiet is just the way he likes it, his stats are becoming hard to ignore.
Playing alongside ballyhooed prospects Francisco Lindor and Tyler Naquin, it is Wendle who is in the running for a batting title in only his second season of pro ball. He is currently second in the Carolina League in batting at .326 for the campaign.
“That (winning the Carolina League batting title) is not something that I am worried about,” Wendle said. “It would certainly be an honor–there are a lot of good players in this league—but it is not something that I will ever think about.”
Wendle was named Carolina League Player of the Week for June 24-30 and has not let up since. The diminutive second baseman blasted two home runs on Monday to lead the Mudcats past the Lynchburg Hillcats and draw Carolina within 2.5 games of first place in the Carolina League Southern Division.
The native of Lincoln University, PA was drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 out of West Chester University—where he won the Division II national championship—and has the look of a ballplayer that can ascend through the ranks quickly. Last season, he batted .327 at Mahoning Valley in 61 games after signing with the Tribe.
The experience of having played for a national champion at West Chester, while also being near his boyhood team Philadelphia as the Phillies were winning five straight division crown and along with a World Series title in 2008, gave Wendle a feel for title-winning baseball.
“To go out on top, in your last game as a senior, it’s something only one team can do,” Wendle said. “Winning is not everything but it certainly makes things a lot more fun.”
It is that big-picture mentality that helped Wendle deal with the Mudcats below-par performance in the first half of the season when Carolina finished 18.5 games out of first place.
“Your objective is to win every game,” Wendle said. “That is the mentality of our team. We have not been able to do that as much as we would have liked. The biggest thing for us, as minor leaguers, is to just trust the process and continue to work on our limitations.”
Carolina manager Dave Wallace trusts Wendle to work and improve his game.
“If you sat down and wrote out every attribute you want in a major league player, from character to work ethic to talent, it is Joey Wendle,” Wallace said. “He is that special of a guy.”
“He does everything you ask him to do,” Wallace added. “He is a grinder and he is a hard worker, very coachable. We put value in drafting that type of player. That is the type of player you can build your core around in the Major Leagues and the type of player you can trust.”
Wendle hopes to continue to expand his game and fulfill be the steady big leaguer that Wallace and others think he can be.
“The goal is to play for the Cleveland Indians and to help them win the World Series,” Wendle said. “Putting that uniform on and walking out on Progressive Field would be a dream come true. I am going to keep working until I get there.”
Photo by Nikolaus © 2013 Carolina Mudcats