Wiseman Stands Out At PG National
See Also: 20 Other PG National Standouts
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Massachussets hasn't produced a first-round high school position player in more than a decade, but that could change in 2012.
Rhett Wiseman, a rising senior at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Mass., is a speedy center fielder with power from the left side of the plate, which helped him stand out at the Perfect Game National Showcase in mid-June, the first stop on the summer showcase circuit.
Wiseman got to play at the spring training site for his favorite team, the Red Sox, and he probably saw more quality pitchers than he will during his entire spring season next year. But he looked like he was up to the challenge.
Sink Or Swim
"With stuff like this, it's sink or swim," said Wiseman, 16. "Because if you can make the adjustments, then you're great, but if you can't make the adjustments then you're going to be in trouble because everyone is so good."
Wiseman's father Mike played baseball growing up as well. Also a center fielder, Mike played for Brandeis (Mass.) and was one of the rare Division III players to play in the Cape Cod League, for Falmouth in 1987 and Cotuit in 1988.
Rhett got a little bit of a late start to the game, picking it up when he was 9. He was a little bit behind his peers, but one day it just clicked for him and it's been his passion ever since. Baseball hasn't been his sole focus, though. Buckingham Browne & Nichols is a prestigious private school near Boston. Wiseman—the class president with a 3.1 grade-point average—said academics come first, and every BB&N student is required to play three sports each year.
|GETTING TO KNOW RHETT. . .
|Favorite Player: Adrian Gonzalez
Favorite Class: English
Favorite Movie: "Good Will Hunting"
Favorite Book: "Gone, Baby, Gone" by Dennis Lehane
Favorite Musician: Jason Aldean
"Because everyone is so motivated and has the same goals, everyone meshes so well," Wiseman said. "Whether you're a freshman or a senior, there's no hierarchy. If you're a freshman, a senior's going to come right down to you and put their arm around you and take you under their wing, and what happens is when that freshman's a senior, they do the same thing."
That has been beneficial for Wiseman, who has been on the varsity team since his freshman year.
"We liked him right away," said BB&N head coach Rick Foresteire, who was teammates with the elder Wiseman at Brandeis. "We had him as a ninth grader and we knew he was very talented right away. As the season progressed his freshman year, he worked his way into the lineup on a regular basis.
"He's always had a very good swing, a strong swing, it's just a matter of him continuing to grow. He's progressed naturally. He's always had tools, but physically he's kind of progressed on a natural basis."
Wiseman isn't just a leader in the classroom; he's also a leader out on the field.
"He's got tremendous work ethic," Foresteire said. "He loves to hit and he works hard in the weight room. He'll be our captain next year and he's one of those kids that's pretty well seasoned. He's not afraid to compete and he's not afraid to battle, but he's also not afraid to learn."
While Wiseman flashes first-round tools, he will need to show more consistency at the plate and improve his arm strength in center field.
"His swing can get a little long, a little loopy and he'll really work hard on getting that bat through the zone and not dropping that back half," Foresteire said. "He wants to get better every day and he's turned himself into a heck of a player."
Signability will also likely factor in to where he's drafted. Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin first saw Wiseman at an Area Code Games workout after his freshman year of high school, and Wiseman went to a camp at Vanderbilt last summer and wound up committing to the school before he left camp.
Float Like A Butterfly
In addition to baseball, Wiseman has played football as a defensive back and wide receiver in the fall, and then participates in weightlifting in the winter. This year, he's thinking about giving up football to focus solely on baseball. In its place, he would get a waiver to participate in boxing outside of school, something he has worked on for the past three years.
When he first started training like a boxer, Wiseman was 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds. Now, he's 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds.
"It keeps me in incredible shape—it helps with quick feet, strong hands, shoulder work, everything," Wiseman said. "You deflate after football because I play on the ends, so I'm always running. Usually I lose 10 pounds in football and he just gets it right back. I start every baseball season in the best shape of my life."
The tough mentality gained through football and boxing shows up on the baseball diamond, too.
"I attack the game hard," Wiseman said. "I feel like if you attack the game, the game pays you back, you know, if you play it right. I love playing hard. If I have a bad game, that happens. The best only succeed three out of 10 times, but if you can do the other little things right, that's all I'm trying to do and the rest will come. If you have the talent and you play the game hard, the game's going to reward you."