Wheeler High’s Dale Carey, who is one of Georgia’s top baseball players, is fearless when roaming the outfield.
A couple of weeks ago, Carey sprinted after a ball that was blasted over his head in center. As usual, Carey didn’t bother to take a glance at his proximity to the fence.
“He takes charge of the outfield, and if it’s hit out there, he thinks it’s his,” Wheeler coach David McDonald said.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Carey picks up the rest of the story: “I’ve run into the fence several times, and it was the one time where the fence [won] because usually it gives. All the previous encounters, I didn’t get hurt.
“This time, I was running back while looking up at the ball — and caught the pole [in the outfield fence] smack in the head.”
Despite the brutal collision, Carey held onto the ball tightly in his glove for the out. He doesn’t remember much else about the spectacular play.
“It was horrible, probably the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” Carey said with a laugh. “I was dizzy, and I didn’t really know where I was at. I don’t remember getting up, and I was seeing [spots] in my eyes. It was bad.”
The hard-nosed Carey is one of the top players out of the heralded Cobb County program, which has produced a steady flow of major-league prospects over the years, including first-rounders Josh Burrus (Braves, 2001) and Jeremy Hermida (Florida Marlins, 2002).
“Defensively, [Carey] can cover center as well as anyone I’ve ever had, or I’ve seen,” McDonald said. “I had the pleasure of working with [Parkview High's] Jeff Francoeur with Team Georgia and saw him make some phenomenal plays for a couple of summers. And Dale can do the same things.”
Carey is considered a “five-tool player” (power, average, defense, throwing arm, speed), according to his coach. Along with his defensive range, Carey’s rocket throws to the infield have been clocked as high as 92 mph. He has a .359 batting average with three homers and has struck out only five times in 64 plate appearances. Carey has been clocked in the 60-yard dash at 6.5 seconds.
This past summer, Carey had a strong performance with Team Georgia and was flooded with college offers, signing with Miami over Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Georgia, among others. After deciding his future was in baseball, Carey gave up his promising football career, where he was a two-year starter at wide receiver and cornerback and generated interest from several major colleges.
Dozens of baseball scouts have watched Wheeler games within the past month to closely observe Carey.
“Every big-league team has stopped by to look,” McDonald said. “Both his mom and dad are real high on education. I think he’s going to be drafted, but I don’t know if it will be high enough to talk him out of the University of Miami. … I would say he could go anywhere from the third to sixth or seventh round, and that’s with some really good outfields in Georgia, both in high school and college.”
What will Carey do? “There’s a lot of interest there. When you’re a kid, it’s always your dream to play in the major leagues. If I get drafted where I’m comfortable, then it will probably be the best opportunity I’ve ever had in my life.” Carey said he is studying the situation, and hopes to be selected in the top five rounds.
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