The 3rd Man In

Jake Wong develops into MLB Draft prospect at GCU

Jake Wong

Jake Wong wasn’t highly sought after by professional scouts or college coaches coming out of high school in 2015. His only Division I offer came from Grand Canyon University.

Now in his junior season at GCU, Wong, a right-handed pitcher, has refined his skills on the mound and is drawing interest from pro scouts as the 2018 MLB Draft approaches.

MLB.com ranks him as the 74th-best prospect in this year’s draft, which begins June 4.

Wong said that the lack of attention he received out of high school has motivated him throughout his three-year career at GCU.

“I came in with a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “I was looking forward to pitching at the Division I level and showing the doubters or people who didn’t believe in me that they were wrong.”

Wong played in the prestigious Cape Cod League last summer. Used primarily as a reliever, Wong posted a 2.58 ERA with 27 strikeouts and six walks in 24 1/3 innings.

“It was good for exposure and to get guys on me,” he said. “There’s a lot of pro scouts there so having those guys at each and every game you just get used to it.”

After pitching out of the bullpen as a freshman at GCU, Wong has served as the team’s No. 1 starter each of the last two years.

He recorded mixed results in 2017, but has excelled this season. Wong has a 3.09 ERA with 78 strikeouts and 27 walks in 81 2/3 innings.

A 6-foot-2, 210-pound hurler, Wong possesses a three-pitch mix, featuring a mid-90s fastball, changeup and slider.

“I think one of my biggest strengths is the fact that I’m competitive by nature,” he said. “I think that helps to play into how I pitch and my pitching style. I like to pitch aggressively and with my fastball. I like to attack hitters and pitch to my strengths. That competitive fire drives me to be the pitcher I am.”

His two off-speed pitches are average offerings but have improved this season. His changeup is his best secondary pitch and fades in on right-handed batters.

“A couple areas I’ve worked on is the consistency of my secondary offerings,” he said. “I felt that was an area of improvement for me and that if I wanted to get where I wanted to that it was something I needed to improve.”

Three years after being an under-the-radar player, Wong is an intriguing draft prospect. Major league teams envision him as a starting pitcher in the pros, but if that doesn’t work out, he’ll be a late-inning reliever.

Wong is trying to enjoy the experience and attention the MLB Draft brings, he said.

“It can be difficult but thankfully I have a good support staff behind me,” Wong said. “It’s easy for me to focus on the now and let the draft take care of itself.”

READ: 2018 MLB Draft: Profiles on top prospects

READ:2017 MLB Draft: Profiles on 50 top prospects

READ:The3rdManIn.com’s MLB Draft prospect history

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