By Matt Leon
WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — After helping lead West Chester to a Division II baseball national championship, Joe Wendle was drafted in the sixth round by the Cleveland Indians back in June. He hasn’t missed a beat since turning pro, as he was recently named a New York Penn League All-Star for the Indians short season single-A affiliate the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
“The transition has been smooth thus far and I’m enjoying my time out in Mahoning Valley, Ohio,” Wendle tells KYW Newsradio.
After hitting .399 for West Chester as a senior, Wendle’s success at the plate has continued in the Cleveland organization. The 22-year-old is currently hitting .313 for Mahoning Valley with three home runs and 29 runs batted in in 49 games. He talks about adjusting to pro pitching.
“The velocity is one thing, but that just takes a couple weeks to get use to. You notice everybody has a ‘plus’ pitch, whether it’s a fastball, change-up or a curveball. Everybody has been drafted and is there for a reason and you see that as you face them. But it’s just the same as college, just making adjustments. Concentrating on your thing as a batter, not what the pitcher’s going to be doing to try and get you out.”
Wendle was a second baseman at West Chester, but since turning pro he’s also gotten some looks at third base as well for the Scrappers.
“Obviously there’s a lot of players already in the organization, there’s a lot of second baseman. I think earlier it was just a matter of getting me some at bats, getting me into the line-up. I was able to play third base for a couple of games. It was definitely a little bit of a transition but I have some experience on the left side of the infield in high school, a little bit in college, at shortstop, so moving to third wasn’t too big of a deal.”
Needless to say between winning a title, getting drafted, turning pro and making his first pro all-star game, Wendle has enjoyed a wild ride, but he says life has settled down a bit now.
“Winning the College World Series and getting drafted, that was a pretty hectic time for me, and a lot of fun obviously. But I’m a couple months into my professional career and its definitely settled in. They call it short-season, but it’s 75 games in about 80 days. So it’s definitely a grind. We’re coming to the end of the season. After a couple of months of playing every day, the reality starts to set it and you realize – it’s not a job, you’re out there playing baseball every day – but it’s a profession, and you have to treat it as one.”
Listen To Podcast With Joe Wendle:
Mahoning Valley’s season runs through early September and then Wendle says he will head to Arizona for instructional league action.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.