GREEN BAY — Max Wagner often spoke in high school about his dream of one day playing in the major leagues.
The former Green Bay Preble star and Clemson third baseman took a big step towards achieving that on Sunday night.
Wagner was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the second round of the MLB Freshman Draft. He was the 42nd overall selection, which comes with a slot value of just over $1.8 million.
He is the first baseball player from one of four Green Bay public schools to be drafted since schools began playing the sport in 1991.
Former Green Bay Southwest pitcher Gunnar Eastman was undrafted but signed a pro contract with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015.
Wagner was not immediately available for comment after his big night.
“I was just speechless when I saw his name come up on the screen,” said Andy Conard, who was Wagner’s trainer at Preble. “To see him leave with the 42nd pick was just awesome. I’m so happy for him, happy for his family. It’s so deserved.
“There has been a lot of work to get to this point. Seeing how far we’ve come, even in the last year, is really special.
That Wagner was drafted so high was no surprise, not after a breakout second season at Clemson in which he was named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and was a player runner-up. national of the year.
He hit .369 with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs, with a .496 on-base percentage and .852 hitting percentage. His home run total tied Clemson’s single-season record and was tied for third most in ACC history.
Wagner set a school record with one home run per 7.5 at bat, and his slugging percentage was the second highest in program history.
Every player who has been named ACC MVP since the turn of the century has been drafted. Wagner joined a roster that includes former MLB stars such as Mark Teixeira, Ryan Braun and Buster Posey.
Wagner was a dominant force at Preble.
He was a three-time Fox River Classic Conference Player of the Year and likely would have won a fourth had his senior year of 2020 not been erased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But even before he got to high school, there was already something special about him.
“You saw the skills, you saw the work ethic, you just saw the intangibles that you don’t usually see with kids that young,” Conard said. “Once he gets to high school, being player of the year as a freshman in our conference is pretty special. You just saw that the ceiling was pretty high for this kid and he was only scratching the surface.
“I think what’s exciting for him is that he always has an upward trajectory, which is limitless. The intangibles he brings kind of separate him from most kids you meet.
Wagner’s selection is not only important for him, but it could also be a big boost for players in the region. This is another example of what is possible with talent and hard work.
“It’s so exciting for Green Bay Public Schools, for Preble High School and for the entire Green Bay area,” Conard said. “It kind of validates the quality of baseball we have here, but I don’t know if it gets the respect it deserves. We’ve had some very good players in this area over the last 10-20 years and I think this area is underrated.
“To see Max get drafted this high puts that in a bit of light. It doesn’t happen every day, but to see what it has meant for the Preble program, it brings a lot of respect to the region.