The St. Louis Cardinals’ 2012 draft may be most prominently thought of as the first and only time the organization had five first-round picks. The take included Michael Wacha, James Ramsey, Stephen Piscotty, Patrick Wisdom, Steve Bean, Carson Kelly and Tim Cooney.
The Cards’ 13th selection that June, in the ninth round, was a California junior college catcher who hails from British Colombia, Rowan Wick. Pocketing a $75,000 bonus, the now-21-year-old was the organization’s third backstop taken to-date in that draft.
Wick reported to the Gulf Coast League and batted a disappointing .156. Moving up to Johnson City in 2013, the left-handed batter found his power stroke. He finished with 10 home runs, tied for second in the Appalachian League, and was seventh in the entire Cardinals system with his .464 slugging percentage.
Named an Appy League all-star for his bat, Wick’s strong arm was also one of his assets. Last season, the organization decided to move him out from behind the plate for good and have him concentrate on right field.
This spring, the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder did not make a full-season team out of spring training. Instead, Wick reported to State College in June and was a hitting sensation. He set the team record for home runs with 14 and became the New York-Penn League slugging champion despite being promoted to Peoria with five weeks still remaining in the season.
In the Midwest League, Wick initially struggled in his adjustment, but finished stronger in August, with four home runs and 16 RBI. Overall, his 20 home runs and 60 RBI tied him for third- and fifth-best, respectively, in the entire Cardinals system this season. Still, work remains, as the left-handed hitter batted just .220 for Peoria with a whopping 60 strikeouts in 141 at-bats.
In the following exclusive interview, I caught up with Wick during instructional league camp. He recaps his most notable 2014 season and considers what may be ahead.
The Cardinal Nation’s extensive series of player and coach interviews from Cardinals instructional league camp in Jupiter will continue in the upcoming days. They will include Mike Shildt, Derrick May and Malik Collymore.
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