Early move to Texas works wonders for Wacha

Michael Wacha, RHP, Cardinals
Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa

Michael Wacha was born in Iowa but grew up on the diamond in the baseball hotbed of Texas.

Wacha's family moved to Texarkana, Texas, when he was 3 years old. He attended Pleasant Grove High School in that town and shined on the basketball court, baseball field and in the classroom.

The Cardinals righty was a two-time All-State selection as a pitcher at Pleasant Grove and led the Hawks to the state finals as a junior in 2008. He was a first-team Academic All-State selection in basketball, as well.

Wacha played his college baseball at Texas A&M, about five hours from home. He was a freshman All-American in 2010 and a third-team All-American by Baseball America in 2011. The Cardinals selected him with the 19th overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.

"Dreams do come true," Wacha said that year. "It's just an honor to be picked by the St. Louis Cardinals. They have a proven history of success, and I can't wait to get involved with it."

He got involved quickly, earning MVP honors in the 2013 National League Championship Series.

Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.