The latest episode of C’s Chat features 2015 Vancouver Canadians third baseman Carl Wise.
Wise’s road to professional baseball began in his hometown of Lexington, South Carolina where he was a shortstop at White Knoll High School. He was named to All-State and All-Region teams in 2011 and 2012 and was part of a AAAA state championship in 2010. Those accomplishments earned the notice of College of Charleston coach Monte Lee who recruited Wise in time for the 2013 season. In his freshman season, Wise was a Baseball America All-America Second Team All-Star and was selected to the Southern Conference’s All-Freshman Team after hitting .321 with an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.059 to go along with 10 home runs and 30 runs batted in.
What stood out to Wise in his collegiate career were the playoff runs that came in 2014 and 2015, especially the Cougars appearance in the 2014 Super Regional in Lubbock, Texas.
“We had a lot of success there. We went to two regionals, the Florida regional and then a Florida state regional. The Florida regional year, we ended up getting a chance to go to the super (regional) and play against Texas Tech which was awesome. Unfortunately (we) did not win, got beat out so the dreams of going to the College World Series were blunted by two 1-0 losses to the Red Raiders but that was a cool experience. Charleston was great. It’s my favourite city to date, my favourite city I’ve ever played baseball in.”
The right-handed hitting Wise batted .308/.403/.516 during his three-year stint with the Cougars. The 2015 campaign saw him hit 12 homers and collect 70 RBI, the sixth-highest total in NCAA Division I. That resulted in the Toronto Blue Jays selecting Wise in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB Draft, one year after drafting his Cougars teammate Gunnar Heidt in the 13th round.
Leading up to the draft, Wise had a feeling his baseball future lay in the American League East.
“I knew the Yankees were somewhat in the mix. I had spoken with them a little bit. The Indians, I remember speaking to their guy a little bit. … Prospects get so many letters and stuff and you send them all in and you never really know what’s going to happen but you do get somewhat of a good idea from the guys that actually like reach out to you and start asking questions and stay in a little bit more contact with you. … I had a decent, decent idea that it was going to be one of those, more so just the Yankees or the Jays. That was kind of the two up there that I was in communication with more so than others.”
The signing scout for Wise was Chris Kline. Wise’s first professional stop may have been Vancouver if not for a passport delay so he wound up heading to Bluefield, West Virginia instead.
“If you’ve been a small city guy your whole life and you go to Bluefield and it’s kind of normal … Vancouver’s probably the biggest city I’ve ever been to … I grew up in Columbia and then I went to Charleston and Charleston, even though it’a s city, it’s not a huge city-city. It’s more so just a very small-like town, this peninsula. There’s just not a lot of tall buildings, not a lot of traffic going around.
I thought Bluefield was a good time. The coaches there were great. The field was cool. It had a cool backdrop. We actually got to stay at a pretty nice dorm … at Bluefield Community College.
Most families that supported the team … they would kind of support (the players) because they know that being away from home for the first time maybe in their whole lives or living on their own … they would send us toiletries … and cook for us every now and then and check in on us. I thought that was a cool thing they did.”
Carl Wise manned the hot corner 45 times for Vancouver in 2015.
The call to Vancouver for Wise came after hitting .258 in seven games with Bluefield and he made his C’s debut at Nat Bailey Stadium on Canada Day. He collected his professional home run in Hillsboro August 16 with his former Cougars teammate and current major leaguer pitcher Taylor Clarke in the Hops dugout. However, the games that stood out to him were day games at Nat Bailey Stadium.
“I’ll tell you what games I liked the most were the Nooners. … For whatever reason I enjoyed waking up and going there and starting the game early … I just felt like fans at those games were a little more rowdy. I remember the burgers they would sell. The nooner burgers … I remember guys would go and get those things before the game which I have no idea how they ate those burgers before the played.”
Wise liked to hit during the day that season as he batted .286 and slugged .500 when the sun was out. Baseball America rated Wise as Toronto’s 25th best prospect after the 2015 season.
“I just felt like there were times where I could see why they had me there. Obviously there were times where I flashed some good hits and some good stuff like that. I had really good games and good weeks but I never, ever, ever, ever felt consistent.
I thought it was an okay year. Great? No. One of the reasons I was drafted was a decent amount of power. I could do that and drive in runs. That was kind of my thing.
I don’t know if I reached my potential in college but obviously the competition gets harder and you got to take that into account too.”
You are invited to check out the rest of this chat with Carl Wise by clicking the video down below.
Wise is currently the Associate Director of Performance at the South Dakota School of Mines and is working towards an MS degree in Exercise Science and a Doctorate of Kinesiology.
Thanks a million again to Carl Wise for taking part in the latest episode of C’s Chat. You can follow him on Instagram @strengthcoachcarl. Another million thank yous also need to be deposited into the account of Jan Wise, Carl’s aunt, for reaching out to me and encouraging me to chat with her nephew.