"It was well known I was leaning toward college," said Wahl, predicted by some in the pre-draft to go as high as the 5th round. "The scouts knew that. It's the main reason I slipped so far."
Representatives from some 25 pro teams had visited him during the year. It looked for a long time that he was likely headed to the pros. But as his senior season of high school went on, that appeared less a certainty.
Wahl is OK with that now, excited about it, even. He's headed to Ole Miss, and for more than a year he has been committed to the Rebels.
The worst thing about going in the 39th round may have been the pride factor.
"I'm the most competitive guy you'll meet," he said. "The only reason it upset me was to see guys in front of me."
Some of them he knew he was better than, too. But he's fine with how things worked out, and he knows the alternative is still a positive one.
"College is the right choice for me," he said. "I'm completely happy with going to Ole Miss to play."
He's also floating a bit from the recent success of his high school team. West Springfield (Va.) High School won the AAA state title last weekend, and Wahl had a big hand in the proceedings.
Against Franklin County, West Springfield won 8-1. Wahl pitched a complete game and had 14 strikeouts.
In the semifinals against Western Branch, Wahl's team won 3-2 and he got the save.
In the championship contest against Woodbridge, Wahl pitched another complete game with seven strikeouts in a 10-2 victory to claim the crown in Virginia's largest classification.
"It was really exciting," he said of the tournament and winning the title.
Wahl was named first-team all-state in Virginia following the season. He was also named Metro D.C. Player of the Year by The Washington Post. That covers the District of Columbia, much of Maryland and the area of northern Virginia.
Clearly he was considered the best high school player in the nation's capital metro area this season. The Cleveland Indians "Prospect Insider" website said this about Wahl:
*** PGCrosschecker had him as the 181st best player going into the draft, so he is easily considered a Top 5-7 round talent who slipped for signability reasons. He has good arm speed and gets his fastball into the mid-90s though sits more consistently at 90-92. He throws a curveball, slider and changeup with the slider graded out as the best pitch in his secondary arsenal and a potential out pitch at the big league level. He creates good deception with his delivery, though his changeup needs work, which is not unexpected for a high school player. ***
Wahl said he doesn't plan to play baseball this summer but will coach instead.
"Right now I'm not planning to play but I will coach a 13-U team," the 18-year-old said. "I just want to hang out this summer and give my body a break. I pitched a lot this spring. And I will continue to work out, obviously."
And then head to Oxford later in the summer.
"I'm excited to get down there and do my best to earn a spot (in the pitching rotation)," Wahl said.
All signs surely point to him being able to do just that for the Ole Miss Rebels in 2010-11.