Sunday, August 4, 2013

Random Prospect of the Day: Alex Wilson

Time for the latest installment in my award-winning series, Random Prospect of the Day.  What award has this series won?  That's not important.  Why is it called "of the Day" when it only comes out Sunday?  Also not important.  Now, let's get to know a middle reliever for the Rome Braves.

Before my last Random Prospect, I went over two true prospects who could both be in the Top Ten in the organization, but the series is starting to get back to its bread-and-butter.  Middle relievers.  Alexander Tate Wilson was born in Campobello, South Carolina on April 3rd, 1991.  The Braves were still a week away from beginning their magical season that year, but Otis Nixon had just been acquired two days before Wilson's birth.  The imposing right-hander attended Landrum High School, a school that has produced one professional ballplayer in its history (and he only lasted a year in the Astros system).  

There was some interest in Wilson coming out of high school, but he made it clear that going to college was important for him.  Wilson has control issues in before he left home and those issues plagued him when he began his collegiate career with Wofford.  During his first two years with the Terriers, he walked more than a batter an inning and his career prospects seemed low.  

Things clicked with new pitching coach Jason Burke in his junior season.  Out of the bullpen, he logged 32.1 ING and struck out 51.  He did walk 23, but after 40 walks in 33.2 ING as a underclassman, that was an impressive improvement.  With the draft coming up, professional teams came calling.  According to Wilson, the Rays called him in the ninth round of the 2012 draft while the Phillies called after the tenth.  Wilson, who still had another year of eligibility, wasn't interested in signing for below-slot.  In the 15th round, the Braves called and his tune changed.  The offer was fair and it also came from the team he grew up a fan of.

Wilson signed soon after and joined the Danville Braves.  He appeared in 15 games out of the bullpen and logged 26.1 ING for the D-Braves.  He was tough on lefties with Danville and overall, he had a ground-ball rate of 43% with a 2.14 FIP.  His control has been remarkable as a professional considering his amateur issues and he walked just five batters compared to 28 K's.  Even more notable was that two of his walks were intentional.

His 2012 numbers made him a bit of a sleeper entering 2013.  An arm injury kept him out of action to open the year and he didn't make his Rome Braves debut until May 9th.  Once healthy, Wilson got off to a strong start with an 0.82 ERA in his first six games and eleven innings.  His numbers since have been up-and-down, common for minor league relievers.  Overall, in 24 games, Wilson has logged 39.1 ING and has a 1.12 WHIP.  On the advanced metrics side, he has a 2.89 FIP and 3.74 SIERA and currently holds a 50.0 GB%.  His strikeouts are down this year, but his control is just as good as last year.

Wilson has some potential.  As long as you produce and stay healthy, you will continue to progress through the system.  At 6'5" and 225 pounds, Wilson probably strikes a formidable pose on the mound.  His groundball rate seems to indicate he is getting some sink on his pitches.  At 22 and in his second professional season, he's where he should be.  Expect Wilson to be a key member of the Hillcats pen next year provided he remains healthy.

2 comments:

  1. He is a talented pitcher with a good work ethic and attitude. I think he has a bright future.

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  2. Alex has talent plus a good work ethic and attitude. He should have a bright future with the Braves.

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