LOS ANGELES -- Five rounds is a fairly long wait for a player of the year from a major conference to get drafted.
North Carolina's Dustin Ackley, ACC Player of the Year, went second overall to the Mariners. SEC Player of the Year Kent Matthes, a University of Alabama product, was selected in the fourth round and 121st overall. Jason Kipnis (Pac-10) and Christopher Dominguez (Big East) went 63rd and 86th overall, respectively.
But that's how long catcher Jeremy "J.T." Wise, the Big 12 Player of the Year from the University of Oklahoma, lasted during the MLB First-year Player Draft on Wednesday. The Los Angeles Dodgers selected him with their fifth-round Draft pick, 157th overall.
Wise was the first of three catchers the Dodgers selected on Day 2 of the Draft.
"[Other teams are] probably scratching their heads at us taking a senior catcher in the top five rounds because we've never done that," said Logan White, assistant general manager of scouting. "But I certainly like this kid. ... I just like how he swings his bat and goes about the game, and he's hard-nosed, and I'd love to get him in the system."
During his senior season, one in which he led the Sooners to a No. 7 national seed in the NCAA Tournament, Wise was a valuable asset offensively and defensively.
He ended the regular season ranked in the top five in five offensive categories in the Big 12 (second in home runs and total bases, third in slugging and fifth in batting average and RBIs).
But more impressive than his offensive numbers was how he established himself as an elite defensive catcher. Wise threw out a Big 12-best 30 potential baserunners (52 percent) in 2009. He also picked off six runners.
"I just think this guy's a grinder," White said. "I've always said we're going to take who we think is the best available player at the time, regardless of age."
Wise started his collegiate career at Louisiana State University. At LSU, Wise received freshman All-America honors at second base. But after his sophomore season with the Tigers he transferred to Oklahoma.
Round 4, Mario Songco, CF, Loyola Marymount University: Songco is one of the better college power hitters in the Draft as he has plus power to all fields. Songco likely will continue to play in left field professionally.
Round 5, Jeremy Wise, C, University of Oklahoma: Wise threw out a Big 12-best 30 potential baserunners (52 percent) during his senior season. He also ended the season ranked in the top five in five offensive categories (second in homers and total bases, third in slugging percentage and fifth in batting average and RBIs). Big 12 player of the year.
Round 6, Jan Vazquez C, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy: Played both catcher and shortstop at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. Throws right-handed but is a switch-hitter. Needs to add weight to his 5-foot-10 frame (165 pounds).
Round 7, Brandon Martinez, RHP, Fowler High School (California): Martinez's fastball has been clocked between 88-90 mph during his senior season. Threw 45 innings this year with a 1.24 ERA.
Round 8, Jonathan Garcia, RF, Luis Munoz Marin High School (Puerto Rico): Garcia has an above-average outfield arm that's suited for right field. He has shown decent power at various showcases.
Round 9, Bryant Hernandez, SS, University of Oklahoma: As a junior, Hernandez was a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, awarded to the nation's top shortstop. The first-team All Big-12 selection hit .351 with 12 home runs drove in 62 runs this year.
Round 10, Andrew Suiter, LHP, UC Davis: Suiter was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 32nd round last year but did not sign. Had 17 appearances in relief in 2009 and pitched 26 1/3 innings, giving up 30 runs (26 earned) while striking out 22.
Round 11, Connor Powers, 1B, Mississippi State: As his surname indicates, Powers has a lot of pop in his bat. Powers slugged 19 home runs as a junior in 2009 and led Mississippi State with 63 RBIs. Honored as the Prep Baseball Report's 2006 Illinois Player of the Year.
Round 12, Brian Cavazos-Galvez, RF, University of New Mexico: Finished his senior season hitting .392 and led New Mexico in home runs (15), RBIs (63) and slugging (.737). Cavazos-Galvez was named the Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week on May 18.
Round 13, Joseph Paxson, RHP, Western Kentucky University: Paxson split time between reliever and catcher during his senior season. He made 26 appearances (one start) and compiled a 3-1 record with 41 strikeouts in 31 innings.
Round 14, Casio Grider, SS, Newberry (S.C.) College: Stole 14 bases during his senior season. Models his game after Cardinals Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.
Round 15, Jeffrey Hunt, 3B, St. Benedict Catholic: At 6-3, 180 pounds, Hunt is ranked the second-best position prospect in Canada in the class of 2009 by pgcrosschecker.com and plays for the Canadian Junior National Team. Hunt signed with Ohio University.
Round 16, Michael Pericht, C, St. Josepth's College of Indiana: Pericht was drafted in 2006 by the Houston Astros in the 47th round. In 2007, he hit .337 with 12 home runs and 43 RBIs.
Dodgers -- Top five selections
|36||LHP||Aaron Miller||Baylor U
|56||RF||Blake Smith||UC Berkeley
|65||RHP||Garrett Gould||Maize HS
|96||RHP||Brett Wallach||Orange Coast Col
|127||CF||Mario Songco||Loyola Marymount U
|Complete Dodgers Draft results >|
Round 17, Steven Ames, RHP, Gonzaga University: Started 14 games for Gonzaga in 2009 and tied for the team lead with eight wins. Pitched 96 2/3 innings and struck out 70 with a 3.91 ERA.
Round 18, Gregory Wilborn, LHP, University of Louisiana at Lafayette: Did not play in 2008 after offseason surgery. Appeared in 12 games (started 10) in 2009, and ended the year 3-4 with a 7.83 ERA. Struck out 46 batters in 46 innings.
Round 19, Nicholas Akins, LF, Vanguard University: Won the California Community College State Championship at Riverside CC in 2007. Was drafted by the Nationals in the 20th round of the 2008 Draft. Hit .314 with 14 home runs and 35 RBIs in 2009.
Round 20, Frederick Palo, RHP, Houston High School:
Started 11 games in 2009 and threw seven complete games. Pitched 64 innings and struck out 63 batters.
Round 21, Christopher Henderson, 3B, George Mason University: Was primarily a catcher at George Mason. In 2009, Henderson set George Mason's single-season record for hits with 97. He was the CAA Co-Player of the Year and CAA Defensive Player of the Year.
Round 22, Stetson Banks, CF, Brigham Young University: Listed as an infielder at BYU, Banks hit .348 in 2009 and stole 23 bases out of 29 attempts. At Mountain View High School in Mesa, Ariz., Banks was named second-team all-state in both baseball and as a wide receiver in football.
Round 23, Jimmy Marshall, RHP, Florida State University: Appeared in 29 games in the 2009 season. Led Florida State with 10 saves, and struck out 39 batters in 26 innings. Was a team captain his senior year.
Round 24, Chad Kettler, SS, Coppell (Texas) High School: Led Coppell High School with a .372 batting average and also had nine doubles and 20 RBIs. Signed to play college baseball at Oklahoma.
Round 25, Richard Shaffer, 3B, Providence Senior High School (N.C.): Said to have possibly one of the best high-school bats in the Draft. Should hit for average and plenty of power.
Round 26, Alex McRee, LHP, University of Georgia:
Struck out 56 batters in 56 innings pitched during the 2009 season. Made 15 appearances for the Bulldogs, 13 of which were starts. Finished the year 4-4 with a 6.27 ERA.
Round 27, Christopher Johnson, LHP, Cocoa Beach High School (Fla.): Johnson signed with the University of Florida. Has shown the ability to throw between 88-90 mph, and complements his fastball with a curveball and a changeup.
Round 28, John Hernandez, RHP, Barry University:
Appeared in 18 games, starting 11 of them. Hernandez compiled a 5-3 record during his senior season, and he saved four games. He struck out 60 batters and walked 22 in 67.1 innings.
Round 29, Rashawn Payne, 2B, Middle Georgia College: Helped lead Middle Georgia College to the 2009 Junior College World Series. Signed with Georgia Southern.
Round 30, Nicholas Gaudi, RHP, Pepperdine University: Led Pepperdine with nine saves in 2009. Appeared in 23 games and pitched 35.2 innings, striking out 47 with a 3.53 ERA.