Baltimore Orioles: Big Day for O’s Prospect Tyler Wilson


Mar 1, 2015; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Tyler Wilson (63) poses for a photo during photo day at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles are giving prospect Tyler Wilson a great opportunity this afternoon to make a big-league start against none other than the New York Yankees.

Wilson was the Pitcher of the Year in the O’s minor leagues for the 2014 season. With a chance to likely face most of the Yankees’ regulars in Tampa, the Orioles will get a chance to consider Wilson as a potential addition later in the year, if not certainly for 2016. The presumption is that Wei-Yin Chen and Bud Norris will most likely be pitching elsewhere a year from now.

As a reminder of Wilson’s background, he was the 10th-round pick of the Orioles in the 2011 draft – the same class that had Dylan Bundy at #1 and Mike Wright at #3. Wilson came out of the University of Virginia baseball machine and is from Midlothian in the Richmond area.

A look at Wilson’s numbers from both this spring and the past year present a pitcher that appears to be just about ready to contribute at the MLB level. He has so far given up only one earned run on nine hits in 10 innings in spring training. The “opponent quality factor” rating of the batters he has faced in Florida is at 8.3 (a 10.0 is MLB level, and 8.0 is AAA). By comparison to other Orioles starters this spring: Kevin Gausman – 7.8, Wei-Yin Chen – 8.3, Bud Norris – 8.6, Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez – 9.0, Miguel Gonzalez – 9.1 … so Wilson’s number is going to go up higher today!

Tyler Wilson split the 2014 season between Bowie and Norfolk, making 16 starts in the former and 12 in the latter. He threw a total of 166.2 innings with a 3.67 ERA. His total record was 14-8, which of course does not mean a great deal in the minors.

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The statistic that jumps out the most is his WHIP number. The only time in his four-year minor league career that he gave up more hits than innings pitched was in Bowie in 2014. Since Wilson does not walk a high number of batters, his WHIP is quite good – at 1.171 in Norfolk and 1.159 for his entire minor league history of having started 88 games.

Since the 25-year-old is not an especially large guy at 6-2, 185, he has been gaining strength and MPH on his fastballs since coming out of college. He is now in the 94-95 range. With control and a sinking fastball, that can really play well.

So it will be interesting to see how Wilson fares against the evil empire, and I’m hoping he gets a chance to face A-Rod.

In the category of weird statistics – Tyler Wilson has pitched 88 minor league games and almost 500 innings, and never once has he thrown an intentional base on balls. It is not like it is a skill that needs to be learned, and I suppose it demonstrates that the minors are all about player development rather than game strategy. Looking up some other players, neither Gausman nor Bundy have ever thrown an IBB. Tillman did give up two in the minors in almost 700 innings. And as an additional fact, Wilson’s minor league numbers are overall better than Tillman’s.

In the category of the more things change, the more they stay the same – Just when we thought maybe Nolan Reimold’s luck might at last be changing, the poor guy gets a homer and double on Friday, but then the game is rained out and the stats are lost. Except that they are not lost in the eyes and minds of those who were there and saw it (Buck Showalter, for example).

Next: It looks like Kevin Gausman is destined for the bullpen to start the season

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