Until his sophomore year of high school, Drew Wilden was a center fielder. He started pitching only when his coach put him on the mound to see what would happen. His velocity and accuracy have increased since then, and now, two years later, he’s a talented southpaw with a 90 mph fastball and a filthy slider. Perfect Game’s No. 1 left-handed pitcher in New Jersey, Wilden signed his national letter of intent Nov. 9 to continue his career as a member of the University of Maryland’s pitching staff.
Wilden started playing baseball when he was five, and has played every spring and fall since then. As a New Jersey native, he grew up a Phillies fan and has always looked up to Cole Hamels. Now that he’s a pitcher, Wilden says he strives to be the same kind of pitcher as Hamels and works off his style.
In addition to playing for West Deptford High School, Wilden plays summers and falls with All Out Baseball, an elite South Jersey college prep baseball program. He said his experience with All Out challenges him in a way that high school baseball can’t, as they travel more extensively and he’s faced some of the best players on the east coast.
Entering his final season before college, Wilden would like for his high school team to replicate what they did last season.
“We won the state championship last year, that’s a huge goal,” he said. “But we take the season one game at a time.”
When Wilden visited Maryland, he knew it was the place where he wanted to spend his college career. He said he instantly made connections with the coaches and Maryland’s baseball program is “on the rise.” He also said he appreciated the beautiful campus and it immediately felt like home. In his time at Maryland, he anticipates having teammates he can rely on and making sure his teammates know they can rely on him.
“Winning the College World Series is definitely on my bucket list,” Wilden said. But for now, he said, the most important thing is to work and hard and win games as a team.