LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: August 18, 1987
Height: 6′ 2″
Drafted: 5th Round, 144th Overall, 2008
How Acquired: Draft
College: Fresno State
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Like Chase D’Arnaud, Baseball America did not have Wilson in its top 200 draft prospects in 2008, but characterized him as a likely 6th to 10th round pick. He throws a fastball that has a lot of life, enough so that Wilson has trouble controlling it. His velocity as a starter during his first couple years in the minors could be anywhere from 87-93. Wilson also throws a curve and a slider. He had control problems in college, although he also had very good K numbers at times. At the time of the draft he seemed likely to sign quickly, but after he won considerable notoriety as a hero in the College World Series, his demands went up substantially. The Pirates weren’t able to sign him until two days before the August 15 deadline, for slot money, surprisingly. Given the delay, Wilson didn’t appear in any minor league games the year he was drafted.
The Pirates sent Wilson straight to Lynchburg, as current management is much more aggressive in challenging prospects than their predecessors were. The move appeared to backfire when Wilson struggled, posting an ERA of 6.58 combined for April through June. The primary problem was poor command, resulting in lots of walks and HRs (14). He turned things turned around in the last two months, though, with an ERA of 2.61. The turnaround included one 11-strikeout performance over seven shutout innings. Wilson also pitched well in two playoff starts. Command remained an issue, though, as Wilson sometimes struggled with high pitch counts and too many walks.
Had a very successful season at Altoona, although concerns about his command remained. At times he was extremely effective. In one late-season start, against league’s highest-scoring team, he threw eight shutout innings, allowing two hits and no walks while fanning 11. He also had some control meltdowns. In his last ten starts, for instance, he walked 34 in 51 innings, and those starts included the one with eight shutout, no-walk innings. In some games, Wilson had to come out early due to high pitch counts. Opponents batted only .215 against him and he allowed only four HRs.
The Pirates debated whether to move Wilson up to AAA to start the season, but they decided to do so when Brad Lincoln opened the season on the disabled list. Wilson started the season well, but had more and more trouble as hitters increasingly laid off his pitches. He had a 2.25 ERA and .191 opponents’ average in April, but over the next three months those numbers were 4.54 and .272. After one start in August, the Pirates moved Wilson to the bullpen. He had more success there, even picking up three saves, but he still walked ten in 14 innings, although he also fanned 16. The most interesting aspect of the move was that, according to multiple reports, his velocity got as high as 99 on several occasions.
Wilson returned to the Indianapolis rotation and had stretches in which he was nearly unhittable. In fact, he pitched in two combined no-hitters. Overall, opponents hit just .189 against him–left-handed batters just .129–and he fanned over a batter an inning. Every time he seemed to be turning a corner, though, he’d have one or more games in which he couldn’t throw strikes. The Pirates moved him to the bullpen in mid-August in preparation for a September callup. Despite the low ERA, he struggled badly in the majors, mainly due to an inability to throw strikes. Of the 26 batters he faced, exactly half reached base. His fastball sat at 93-94 and reached 96.
Wilson’s gotten increasingly hard to hit, but he still needs to throw strikes more consistently. He had a good spring and won a spot in the bullpen, giving the Pirates two lefties with Tony Watson.
|2013: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: $195,000
MiLB Debut: 2009
MLB Debut: 8/20/2012
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2018
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/18/2011
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2012)
MLB Service Time: 0.035
|June 8, 2005: Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 37th round, 1126th overall pick.
June 6, 2008: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 5th round, 144th overall pick; signed on August 13.
November 18, 2011: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.