With Baltimore Orioles prospect Steve Wilkerson has emerged as the Orioles third baseman of the future.
Wilkerson, 26, made his official MLB debut with the Baltimore Orioles against the Washington Nationals as a defensive replacement at third base in the ninth inning after nearly enduring a three-hour rain delay.
The former Clemson Tiger was the selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the eighth-round of the 2014 MLB draft, but his journey to MLB is no ordinary one. Wilkerson worked his way through the Orioles minor league system and earned All-Star awards during his time in Single-A Delmarva including the Mid-Season All-Star award and the MiLB.com Organization All-Star in 2015.
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He enjoyed a powerful 2017 season with the Frederick Keys and Bowie Baysox where Wilkerson produced an overall .305 batting average with eight home runs and 45 RBIs and seemed well on his way to the majors.
However, at the end of 2017, Wilkerson was handed down a 50-game suspension by MLB after testing positive for amphetamine, which violates the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, per Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. The setback comes after Wilkerson earned a spot on the Arizona Fall League that features the elite prospects in baseball.
After serving his suspension, Wilkerson returned to Triple-A Norfolk on May 30 and currently is hitting .290 with four doubles, three home runs and nine RBIs.
In his MLB debut against the Nationals, Wilkerson flashed his stellar defense at third base by diving out and stealing a base hit from Nationals’ Michael A. Taylor.
Two games later, the third baseman delivered his first career hit and RBI in the Orioles extra-innings win against the Braves.
His time with the Orioles didn’t last long though despite his captivating play as the Orioles sent Wilkerson back down to Triple-A and promoted lefty Donnie Hart to refuel their exhausted bullpen.
The move comes on the heels of Orioles starting third baseman Tim Beckham‘s return from the disabled list. On top of that, Danny Valencia has been one of the Orioles best hitters and has filled in for Beckham throughout the season.
Will Wilkerson return to the Orioles lineup soon? Most likely as a utility player for now, but may be tough with two veterans handling the duties at third base.