Cubs' top pick not yet with Hawks, but his old roommate is

Former San Diego pitcher, 15th-round pick Michael Wagner arrives in Boise.

clangrill@idahostatesman.comJuly 19, 2013 

Cubs Bryant Baseball

Chicago Cubs' first-round draft pick Kris Bryant takes fielding practice at third during batting practice with the Cubs before a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals July 12, 2013, in Chicago. Bryant's still playing rookie ball in Mesa, Ariz., but former roommate Michael Wagner has joined the Boise Hawks.

CHARLES REX ARBOGAST — AP

A 2013 draft pick out of the University of San Diego got his first chance to see Memorial Stadium as a member of the Boise Hawks on Thursday.

No, not third baseman Kris Bryant, the second overall pick in June's draft. He's still in rookie ball in Mesa, Ariz.

Michael Wagner is here, though.

"We roomed together for three years," said Wagner, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound righty. "I've played against him since, I think we were 9."

Wagner and Bryant grew up in Las Vegas, and developed into major-league prospects at USD.

Wagner was the team's closer his sophomore season, and his 19 saves ranked No. 2 in the NCAA.

"I loved closing," Wagner said. "I think it's more fun than anything. It's an adrenaline rush every time you come in."

Wagner moved into the starting rotation as a junior, but he will be used as a spot reliever in the early stages of his pro career.

That role suited him fine as he pitched one inning four separate times while in Mesa. He struck out five, walked two and didn't allow a run before he was promoted to Boise.

"They put me in spots to succeed," Wagner said. "I was able to go in there for one inning, and you don't have to hold anything back. That was fun."

Wagner made his Hawks debut in a win at Hillsboro on Wednesday night. He struck out two and allowed a run in two innings.

"He's a strike thrower who can throw three pitches for strikes," manager Gary Van Tol said. "He's got very good command, and he's not afraid to challenge hitters."

Positive scouting reports like Van Tol's led some to believe Wagner would be a relatively high pick in the draft. MLB.com had him rated as the 58th best prospect, but Wagner fell to the 15th round before the Cubs selected him.

"I thought I was going to go a little higher, but you never know with the draft," Wagner said. "But it ended up working out well, and I ended up with a team that I wanted to go to."

And it sounds like it's just a matter of time before he's playing on the same team again with his old roommate.

"I know (Bryant) is going to be here," Van Tol said. "I think it just comes down to the organization deciding when he's ready and not rushing anything."

HAWKS WIN AGAIN

Boise scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to eke out a 3-2 victory over Everett at Memorial Stadium on Thursday.

After an RBI single by Rony Rodriguez, Cael Brockmeyer's bloop hit to shallow center field scored Rodriguez. Brockmeyer scored the winning run after a throwing error by AquaSox catcher Christian Carmichael.

Despite their sixth win in a row, the Hawks (18-16) have been eliminated from contention for a first-half title, as Salem-Keizer has clinched the Northwest League's South Division.

Reliever Matt Iannazzo was promoted to long-season Class A Kane County after Wednesday's game. He led the Hawks with four saves.

The five-game series at Memorial Stadium continues through Monday night.

Chris Langrill: 377-6424

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