One opportunity may be all it takes to prove that you belong. That was the case for Clemson outfielder Drew Wharton when he was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 30thround as the No. 908 overall pick in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft.
“I was actually just outside my house,” Wharton told The Clemson Insider when he found out he had been drafted. “I was with my girlfriend and that’s when I got the phone call from the scout for the Cubs that I had gotten drafted. I was scrolling on Twitter immediately when he called me and that’s how I found out.”
Opportunities have not always come easy. Wharton saw limited action as a Tiger for the first several years. However, he kept working hard and when his opportunity came knocking his senior year he took full advantage of it.
“Ever since I could pick up a baseball and throw it in the backyard with my dad that’s what I’ve always wanted to do is play professional baseball,” he said. “It’s great to know all of my hard work has paid off over the years.”
Wharton became a regular in the 2018 starting lineup. He started in 62 of the Tigers’ 63 games this past season and batted .255 with 59 hits, including seven home runs and had 41 runs batted in.
He had a solid glove in the field as well. Clemson fans will most likely never forget his walkoff hit in the rubber match against instate rival South Carolina to win the series for the Tigers this past season.
“Especially since I didn’t get to play a lot the first few years in college,” Wharton said, “I kept my head down and kept working and knew my time was coming so knowing my hard work has paid off is awesome.”
Although Wharton’s time as a Tiger has come to an end, he now has the chance to turn a childhood dream into a reality. He will soon be signing with the Cubs’ organization and begin to pursue his professional baseball career.
“It’s not official yet but I’ve already agreed and I have to sign the papers once I get to Arizona,” he said. “So I think I’m starting out in Arizona with their rookie team. I think the AZL Cubs is where I’m starting out and once I get there I’ll sign all of the paper work to make it official.”
Wharton is forever thankful for all of the relationships that were created during his time at Clemson, especially the ones with his teammates who helped him through all of the challenges he faced along the way.
“The teammates that I’ve developed friendships with, those guys mean the world to me,” Wharton said. “They kept me positive and upbeat through the adversity that I’ve faced. So having them by my side throughout my whole college experience was awesome.”
However, Wharton says his biggest influence has always been his dad, John Wharton, who has been by his side and kept him upbeat through it all.
“He’s always kept me positive,” he said. “Growing up I faced adversity in high school. I didn’t play on the varsity team early in my career and obviously the first couple of years, but he’s always been by my side and made sure I stayed positive through it all.”