The St. Louis Cardinals selected University of Hawaii junior Kolten Wong with the 22nd overall pick in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft today.
He is the fourth Rainbow — and the only non-pitcher from UH — to be drafted in the first round.
Wong passed up a pro contract out of high school with the Minnesota Twins, who picked the Kamehameha-Hawaii graduate in the 16th round of the 2008 draft.
A third-team All-American by Louisville Slugger this year, Wong gathered with family in Salt Lake to watch after passing up an opportunity to attend the draft in Secaucus, N.J.
"To celebrate this with my family, which is what I wanted to do, is awesome," Wong said. "I never think anything is impossible and this was a longshot for me, but I’m confident in my abilities and I knew I was a good player and if I had three good years I’d have a chance."
Wong could potentially reunite with his double-play partner from 2010, Greg Garcia, who the Cardinals drafted in the seventh round last year.
Garcia was recently promoted to the Class-A advanced league (Palm Beach).
Mark McGwire, the hitting coach for the Cardinals, was teammates with Kolten’s father, Kaha, at Southern Cal.
Wong is the first of at least four Rainbows expected to be drafted. He is second on UH’s all-time home run list with 25 in three years.