In a camp that has been crowded with pitchers vying for a rotation spot since its open, Tyler Wilson has set out to show that he is good enough to pitch in the starting rotation. With the injury to Chris Tillman, Wilson’s chances of making the rotation increased, but a shaky beginning may have hurt his chances overall. He has seemed to turn the corner though, as his last three outings have been better than his first four.
Wilson’s competition this spring have made things extremely difficult for the front office to consider him for the fifth starter spot, but he has his sights set on just one thing, making the team. In an article posted by MASN Orioles beat writer Steve Melewski, Wilson was quoted as saying, “My goal is to work on my game in any way that I can and get better and be ready for when that opportunity presents itself. Whether that is April 4, or May or August, whenever it is. I’ll be ready to go and compete and get outs.”
Tyler started the first game of the exhibition season against the Tigers in a two-inning, 21-pitch effort where he retired all six batters he faced, one via strikeout. From then on, Wilson allowed at least one earned-run in each of his next four starts.
In his next start against the Yankees (March 2), Wilson went three innings, allowing one hit, and one earned-run. The run was a solo home run off the bat of Matt Holiday. He struck out one and didn’t walk anybody. Wilson’s next two outings may have turned heads… in the wrong direction. Both outings were after the starter had exited, and both saw Wilson give up four earned-runs. Against the Blue Jays on 3/8, he allowed four runs on seven hits in two-and-two-thirds of an inning, and on 3/14 against the Rays, he allowed four runs on four hits in two innings.
Starting with his appearance on 3/18 in Tampa against the Yankees, Wilson began to settle back down. He threw three innings, and allowed just one run on one hit, a home run to Billy McKinney. Coming back to Sarasota on 3/22 against the Rays, Wilson pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. His most recent outing (his third start of the spring), was his best outing this spring. Through four innings against the Red Sox last Wednesday, Wilson gave up one run on three hits while walking one and striking out three.
It’s worth noting that the lineup the Red Sox ran out there contained names like Pedroia, Sandoval, Boegarts, Ramirez, Moreland, and Holt.
Tyler Wilson seems to have rebounded this spring, however, is it enough to push him into the fifth starter spot of the rotation?
Given that I have been very opinionated on who I think will be the fifth starter (see my articles from yesterday, Sunday, and March 19), I think Tyler Wilson will be reassigned to the AAA Norfolk Tides at any point over the next few days.
Wilson, 27, has the potential to be in a starting rotation this season. Whether or not it will be with the Orioles is to be determined, but you can’t dispute some of his more prominent pitching numbers over the last two seasons. For example, opposing batters are just 12-for-53 against him with two outs and runner(s) in scoring position, and if he gets ahead of a hitter in the count, Wilson’s opposing batting average drops to .237.
I wouldn’t mind a starter that can keep guys off base in clutch situations such as two outs with RISP, but it’s the not-so-easy on the eyes stats that will probably keep him out of the rotation to begin the year. It’s the .294 overall average vs. RHH, and .282 overall vs. LHH. And, it’s the .378 on-base percentage allowed to opposing batters the first time through the lineup that would decrease your chances to stay ina rotation at any point throughout the season.
Wilson is determined though, and he’s going to do everything it takes to make his presence known, to receive a phone call to hop on a bus and come north to join the Orioles. With improved command of his four-seam, and maybe a tad more movement on the two-seamer, he just might find himself having more success at the big league level. How soon that will be though is one of the burning questions surrounding him.