Getting to know your prospects: Joey Wendle
Name: Joey Wendle
Position: Second base
Team: High-A Carolina Mudcats
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2013 stats: .295 AVG, 59 R, 29 2B, 4 3B, 12 HR, 51 RBI, 36 BB, 68 K, 9 SB, .880 OPS
Facts & Info: The Indians selected Wendle in the sixth round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of West Chester University (Pa.). During his senior year in college he was named a National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association (NCBWA) first-team All-American and made the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America first team. His West Chester team finished as the 2012 NCAA Division-II college baseball national champions.
The Offense: Wendle is an offensive-oriented second baseman with a very good approach to hit from the left side. He makes consistent contact with good bat-to-ball skills and very good plate discipline. He does not strikeout very much because of how well he knows the strike zone. He has an advanced feel for hitting as he does a good job of centering his swing on the baseball and can drive it all over the field. He does not have big power, but he has enough juice to shoot gaps and hit double-figure home runs annually and be a high doubles guy.
The Defense: Wendle has solid defensive skills, a solid-to-average arm, and the instincts to be an average defender. His versatility is limited at the moment to second base and a little third base, but he has the athleticism and ability to maybe one day play left field or even first base if needed.
The Intangibles: Wendle is not a burner, but instincts allow him to take extra bases and he could rack up 10-12 stolen bases over a full season. He is just one of those baseball players that does a lot with instincts, plays the game hard, and is the consummate gamer. The more you watch him play the more he grows on you. He is an extremely driven, focused player who is very intelligent and is a professional on and off the baseball field.
The Focus: Wendle’s bat is advanced enough where he only really needs to continue to refine his swing, show more consistency, and develop a little more power, so the main area of focus going forward will be to find a regular position in the field for him. He profiles best at second base, but with some higher-profile middle infield prospects throughout the lower levels of the Cleveland system, there may be no room to give him every day at-bats in the near future, so he might need to learn to play in a utility role.
The Future: Wendle is an offensive infielder from a smaller school that maybe got overlooked as a junior but did a lot of things the Indians liked as a senior in college. In a lot of ways his skills and abilities with the bat and glove are very similar to Cord Phelps when he came into the organization four years ago. Bottom line – he is a solid ball player that does not have any real plus tools, but sometimes the sum is greater than the parts.