Junior Catcher Jeff Wagner Selected by Toronto in MLB Draft
J.J. Brock begins pro career as free agent signee with Arizona Diamondbacks.
June 4, 1998
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame junior catcher Jeff Wagner (Louisville, Ky.) has been
selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 50th round of the major
league baseball draft, becoming the third Irish baseball player
selected in the 1998 draft.
The Houston Astros drafted Notre Dame junior righthander Brad
Lidge with the 17th pick of the first round while junior
centerfielder Allen Greene was a ninth-round selection of the New
Lidge, Greene and Wagner each have the option of signing with
their respective teams or returning for their senior season at
One other player from Notre Dame's 1998 team already has begun
his professional career. Shortstop J.J. Brock signed a free agent
contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks and was assigned to the
local A South Bend Silverhawks. Because he was a fifth-year
senior, Brock was able to sign as a free agent when Notre Dame's
season ended. Brock reported to the Silver Hawks on May 25 and
has been the team's starting shortstop over the past 11 days.
Wagner is Notre Dame's career home run leader, with 41, including
17 as a sophomore and 14 this past season. His other 1998
statistics included a .330 batting average, 49 RBI, 44 runs
scored, 15 doubles, two triples, 29 walks and 28 strikeouts. He
ranks sixth in Irish history with 46 career doubles and 10th with
163 career RBI.
Wagner is the third Notre Dame player to be drafted by the Blue
Jays, following junior shortstop Pat Pesavento (1988, 11th round)
and senior righthander David Sinnes (1993, 19th round). Two
eventual Irish players have been drafted by Toronto out of high
school: righthander Larry Mohs (1993, 11th round) and Greene
(1995, 52nd round).
Greene is the second Notre Dame player selected by the Yankees,
following in the footsteps of junior outfielder Mike Amrhein
(1996, 99th round), who returned for his senior season and became
a 10th-round pick of the Chicago Cubs. Two current Irish
players--sophomore third baseman Brant Ust (1996, 11th round) and
freshman righthander Aaron Heilman (1997, 54th round)--were
drafted by the Yankees out of high school.
A total of 21 players from the BIG EAST Conference were selected
in the 1998 draft, including four each from Connecticut and West
Virginia and three each from Notre Dame, St. John's and Rutgers
(a full list is available on the BIG EAST website, at
www.bigeast.org). Lidge was the first BIG EAST player selected
while Greene was the fifth, behind St. John's lefthander Ron
Marietta (4th round, Cleveland), UConn lefthander Josh Santos
(4th round, Sam Francisco) and St. John's righthander Greg
Peterson (5th round, Detroit).
NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH PAUL MAINIERI: "We obviously are very proud
to have three players selected in this year's draft. It's always
a bittersweet feeling, because you want the players to do what's
in their best interest and sometimes that means that they leave
your program a year early. Whatever their decision, all three
players fully intend on completing their studies and graduating
from Notre Dame."