Rejoice, Mike Wilson has been Called Up

Jay Yencich · May 8, 2011 at 10:52 pm · Filed Under Minor Leagues 

Divish has the news, and it’s been reported plenty of other places now. I don’t think that I have to really introduce him, as during the regular season I tend to get e-mails on a weekly basis asking me why he hasn’t been called up yet and thus putting me that much closer to an asylum tenure, but for the five of you out there who still don’t know who he is, here’s a Mike Wilson primer.

Wilson was drafted in the second round of the 2001 draft, ahead of guys like Dan Haren, Ryan Theriot, Jeremy Guthrie, and, hilariously, Ryan Howard, who was a fifth rounder that year. At the time, the Mariners’ modus operandi for the draft was to grab the toolsiest guy available regardless of whether or not he had ever played baseball before, or, from the pitching end of things, guys that profiled to be something like Jamie Moyer. This was the same draft that brought us Michael Garciaparra (once a promising soccer recruit), Rene Rivera, and Bobby Livingston. Wilson was supposed to go to the University of Oklahoma on football scholarship, and one look at him would explain why, but for whatever reasons, he signed with the M’s, who thought they were getting an athletic, switch-hitter with promising power potential, and one of those things is still true.

Mike Wilson spent three years in the short-season leagues to start out his career, having inked too late to play in 2001. By the time he cracked a full-season roster in Wisconsin, he was of legal drinking age. He also nearly hit thirty doubles and twenty home urns the same year. The next season, he split his time between Inland Empire and San Antonio, which should tell you exactly how long he’s been around. He finally cracked 20+ home runs for a season and was .276/.360/.494 in 449 at-bats that year with a 144/50 K/BB ratio.

It was enough to get him added to the 40-man in the offseason, but then injuries hit. Between a hamstring and a quad strain, he only played 57 games the next season and was a casualty when the M’s needed room on the roster. In 2008, he hit twenty-seven home runs for the Diamond Jaxx and was added to the 40-man again, only to lose his spot to Griffey after an ankle sprain and oblique strain. Last season, he was reasonably healthy and hit .278/.374/.523 between Tacoma and West Tenn, with another twenty+ home runs and an improved 101/58 K/BB in 392 at-bats. Even though he was a free agent in the offseason, as he has been a couple of times already, he re-signed with the Mariners because Zduriencik seemed legitimately interested in him as a player.

And that brings us to now. Mike Wilson’s career trajectory has been as weird as any. I’ve seen enough players who aren’t native to baseball flounder over my years of watching, so it’s strange to see one seem like he could pan out, particularly after such a slow start to his career. Guys don’t usually get 2200+ at-bats before reaching triple-A on a semi-regular basis (Saunders only had 1200+). He’s 27, and in his physical prime, so the M’s could probably do worse than to have him around just to see what happens for the major league minimum. He’ll strike out. He’ll walk now and then. He’ll hit the ball with an awful lot of authority, but probably not hit for a high average. If spring training was any indicator, he’ll also play some at times groan-inducing defense. Don’t let the CF tenure in Tacoma fool you, they simply don’t have better options out there.

And that’s Mike Wilson. He’ll hit, perhaps. The Mariners would like it if he hit.


35 Responses to “Rejoice, Mike Wilson has been Called Up”

  1. Edgar4Hall on May 8th, 2011 11:04 pm

    Welcome to the show humongous man! (it seems big guy is too small for him 🙂 )
    Dave, I love reading what you put out and I really respect your opinion but I really hope your wrong about this guy.

  2. Ibuprofen on May 8th, 2011 11:05 pm

    If spring training was any indicator, he’ll also play some at times groan-inducing defense.

    If he can hit and play better defense then Uncle Milty or Cust, then I do not even care one bit.

  3. Jay Yencich on May 8th, 2011 11:06 pm

    Totally not Dave, though I would hope that I’m wrong too.

    Also, Juan Thomas was The Large Human. Mike Wilson could only hope to have so amazing a nickname.

  4. Edgar4Hall on May 8th, 2011 11:07 pm

    And as soon as we get DTFT back he can help with the defense enough

  5. IwearMsHats on May 8th, 2011 11:11 pm

    This call up is nothing more than the M’s front office being unable to handle having just 1 Wilson on the team.

  6. eb on May 8th, 2011 11:13 pm

    Good luck to him. At his age this may be the only shot he gets. M’s are facing 5 RH starters out of next 6 games so it seems unlikely he will play much on this weeks road trip. Depending on what the cooresponding roster move is. My fingers are crossed that they DFA Ray. Bullpen has been getting very little work and he just doesn’t seem to have it anymore. Seems kind of pointless keeping him around at this point.

  7. Typical Idiot Fan on May 8th, 2011 11:13 pm

    Gutierrez wont make up for another player’s defensive liabilities. If he’s playing center like always, and awesome, Wilson is still playing like crap in the corner.

    I’m not sure where this goes, really. Part of me smells DH duty. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s not two DFA’s coming.

  8. joshb3 on May 8th, 2011 11:22 pm

    Hey if he can hit .200 while popping some homeruns and getting walks, he’d be an improvement believe it or not…

  9. Westside guy on May 8th, 2011 11:40 pm

    We’ll all be holding our collective breath until we see the move they’ve decided to make on Tuesday.

    My money’s on Bradley going bye-bye.

  10. Leroy Stanton on May 8th, 2011 11:43 pm

    My money’s on Bradley going bye-bye.

    I could see it being Ray, but I agree, probably Bradley.

  11. Westside guy on May 8th, 2011 11:48 pm

    BTW I realize Wilson is the longest of long-shots… but it’s nice to see him getting his chance. I always feel bad for these guys who kick around the minors year after year (even when it is deserved).

  12. sexymarinersfan on May 9th, 2011 12:17 am

    Definitely has deserved his shot with the way he has been playing right now in Tacoma. I hope he pans out for us, I really do. Congratulations Mike! Welcome to The Show!

  13. ppl on May 9th, 2011 1:04 am

    I hope he is one of those guys who comes up and hits big time for awhile right away. There have been a few of those, who eventually regressed back to reality, but it was fun while it lasted.

    I see no future in Mike Wilson. Apparently neither did the other 29 teams when he was there for the taking.

    But the Mike Wilson fan club can celebrate for awhile. I hope they get a lot of “I told you so” moments out of this before reality sets in.
    As a Mariners fan it would love to see an extra decent RHB around for awhile. As a realist something tells me Mike Wilson isn’t the answer to anything other than to fill a void, and most likely short term.

  14. tmac9311 on May 9th, 2011 1:41 am

    I’m excited, because I always get excited about a new face with pop, I’m not hopeful, but Wilson would have to be horrific to be worse than Bradley. Also Mike Morse had 1.3 WAR last year for the Nats, and Wilson seems to be who the fans have turned to after Morse was traded. Not to say Wilson will have the same results or anything, but if he could be 1.3, that’s a contributor to this team. This is the year where we can try out some youngsters, good luck to him, if he fails he fails, but he’ll be more exciting that who’s playing left right now.

  15. KiWiNiNjA on May 9th, 2011 1:43 am

    Now they just need to bring back Josh Wilson.

    Heck, maybe even Dan Wilson?

  16. maqman on May 9th, 2011 2:20 am

    No matter what Wilson does, getting rid of Bradley is addition by subtraction. The umpires will like the move so maybe they will cut us some slack.

  17. samregens on May 9th, 2011 3:49 am

    The funny or rather sad thing of the State of the Mariners is that there are several regulars playing so crappy that we can’t really be sure in extrapolating who is going to be sent down or cut.

    On other teams, there’s usually a guy dragging the team down, and when a replacement is called up, the fans immediately know who’s getting the axe and they rejoice.

    In the Mariner’s case, the fans are divided if it’s Bradley being cut, or Cust, or Saunders, because these three regulars suck so much like donkey balls there’s an easily imaginable scenario for any one of them.
    (Well, the rejoice or relief part is the same as other teams I guess, but in our case, it’s only part relief, since after the move we will still be stuck with 2 sacks of crap.)

    And expanding the view a little, if Mike Wilson could have played some infield also, we could also imagine that it was Figgins or Jack Wilson getting the boot finally, because they’re far from beauties themselves.
    Olivo is also wielding a mighty poor bat.

    Someone said it well, that asides from Ichiro and Smoak, we have 6 or 7 regulars who with their performances seem to have no business being in the big leagues, at least not on any self respecting team.

    How the heck did we win any games?

  18. GoMariners on May 9th, 2011 4:17 am

    Mike Wilson is a great guy. He taught my son at Rainiers baseball camp last year and I got to talk to him a bit. Great to see that he is getting a chance. He looks extremely strong. His big problem is going to be outfield defense. If they let him out in the outfield, you will see some silly dropped fly balls.

  19. HighBrie on May 9th, 2011 4:55 am

    A part of me is sad that we cut Josh Wilson, but what I really want is to re-animate Hack Wilson Jurassic Park-style. Then we’d really be the Fightin’ Wilsons!

  20. samregens on May 9th, 2011 5:17 am

    If it’s Saunders getting sent down then Ray is being DFA’d. Guti will be back soon and then we’ll have Wilson/Langerhans in left and Bradley/Cust at DH in that scenario.

  21. rsrobinson on May 9th, 2011 6:16 am

    If Wilson can get his throws within ten feet of a cutoff man, occasionally drive the ball, and make it through games without being tossed then he’ll be an upgrade over Bradley. It’s not like he’d have a high bar to clear.

  22. Paul B on May 9th, 2011 6:33 am

    In the Mariner’s case, the fans are divided if it’s Bradley being cut, or Cust, or Saunders

    Or a reliever.

  23. The Ancient Mariner on May 9th, 2011 7:37 am

    KiWiNiNjA: right now I’d prefer Glenn Wilson.

  24. Lance on May 9th, 2011 8:18 am

    I couldn’t be happier. At least, now Mike’ll get a chance. He couldn’t be worse than what they’ve already got.

    Offense aside, Wilhelmson and Cortes need to pitch but aren’t. Wedge seems to manage to win, even with half the offense being zeroes. I’d say ship a young pitcher out and take someone off the 40-man. Of course, Saunders looks totally lost offensively, but we need his glove right now.

  25. eddie on May 9th, 2011 8:21 am

    SOMEBODY from Tacoma has got to jump into the major leagues and hit! I think it’s going to be Mike.

    And I wouldn’t want to be the one that tells MB that he’s done.

  26. MrZDevotee on May 9th, 2011 9:02 am

    Has to be Bradley. It happened before (Wedge jettisoning Bradley– and that was when he was a viable player), so we have precedent. And, after seeing the photo of a very annoyed Wedge pulling Bradley away from the ump by the back of his jersey this past week, that seems like a fateful moment when combined with his defense over the weekend (probably cost us yesterday’s game).

    He’s sort of like the pitbull in a roomful of rambunctious kids. The owner keeps telling everybody “he’s actually a very nice dog, if you know how to deal with him…” And then a couple kids come over and tug on his ears, and all hell breaks loose… Blood everywhere.

    Recent events: Batting awful (after being our best hitter the first week of the season), not hustling to fly balls, thrown out for arguing strikes, thrown out on the BASEPATHS! (Never seen that before, when it wasn’t the player- or ump- involved in the actual play…)

    You need to be WAY MORE talented at this point in your career if you’re going to be a distraction for the rest of the team, or only play 100% when you feel like it (debating a cautious mention of Ichiro as an example here…).

    I’d say it could be Cust IF Bradley wasn’t on the team, because you can’t have only ONE available DH if you don’t know if he’s gonna get tossed at any moment… Or run away from the clubhouse… Or needs to go fill his prescription at Rite-Aid in the middle of a road trip.

    I don’t really think Wilson is a real prospect any more, either (as in, “has a MLB future”)– actually, I don’t think we HAVE a ready MLB Left Field prospect in the minors currently– which screams even more by this promotion “time’s up, Milton…”

    Also not in his favor, the fact that the Cubs have already done the same thing to his troublesome/albatross contract cousin, Carlos Silva (makes the PR fallout easier on the front office if BOTH guys in the trade are out of baseball).

    He could have endeared himself to a very faithful and thankful Northwest crowd (insert 1995 nostalgia images), and rode off into the sunset with some recovered dignity– and instead he flamed out again.

    His fire was so close to being likable in a strange way (a’la Carl Everett), but alas, his body seems to be failing him at this point. And he seems as annoyed by that as the fans.

    Adios, Milton. Thanks for the few good moments you lobbed at us on occasion…

  27. Jay R. on May 9th, 2011 9:53 am

    Ugh. Langerhans instead of Bradley. Yesterday was the first game I have attended since Hargrove was mismanaging the team. It was really nice to be back, but watching Bradley butcher any chance to win really took a lot of the fun out.

  28. Westside guy on May 9th, 2011 10:04 am

    So are they hoping Langerhans clears waivers again? Because I really don’t get them DFA’ing Langerhans, even though I realize he hasn’t been particularly great.

    Maybe it simply comes down to the dollars – whether it’s Jack, or HowChuck, or someone else who just can’t let go of the fact we’re paying Bradley 12 million this year so we have to, if there’s one chance in a million, take a chance that we’ll earn back a few of those bucks.

  29. Leroy Stanton on May 9th, 2011 10:04 am

    Rejoicing cancelled.

  30. joser on May 9th, 2011 10:53 am

    Saunders isn’t an entire sack of crap. He’s definitely a positive defensively. Ditto Jack Wilson

    And Carlos Silva isn’t out of baseball. After being released by the Cubs he signed a minor league deal with — wait for it — the Yankees, making his first start with their High-A affiliate (Tampa) last week: 3IP 3H 2ER (1 HR) 4K 1BB

    Depending on how it goes, we could see him again by the time the Yankees come to town later this month. (Also on that Tampa team: Mark Prior)

  31. msfanmike on May 9th, 2011 11:13 am

    Hang in there Leroy … Milton’s day is coming.

    This FO is so sensitive, that they probably perceive a political and/or “optic” reason why Wilson should not be the guy to replace Bradley. I wouldn’t bet against it.

    As someone said above, there were a lot of guys to choose from and they could have probably just drawn any one of 6 or 7 names out of a hat to make their decision. There will be a lot more changes forthcoming.

    I wonder if someone like Shaffer is getting a callup to AAA to take Wilson’s place, because producing at a lower level seems to be a key ingredient for a promotion (i.e Peguero – now Wilson). Imagine that … actual production getting rewarded. Who would have thunk it? When we reach the point of actual non-production being “unrewarded,” we will have something cooking.

    Bradley’s days are numbered … thank God.

  32. seattlesonsofbaseball on May 9th, 2011 11:15 am

    Well, with our pitching staff being very good, all we need are a few guys who can drive in runs and hit the ball for power. That is obvious, and also obvious that we have 1 guy who can do that and 1 guy who regularly gets on base. Everyone else is a crap shoot. So maybe Wilson will get the opportunity to show his power. All I do know is that if they want their young “potentials” to succeed… THEY NEED TO PLAY. Being on the bench and getting 4 AB’s once every 4 games isn’t going to help anyone. We already know what we have with Bradley and Cust. I say to them, “Thank you, good luck, we are moving in a different direction… adios!” and go with young guys who have a much higher ceiling.

  33. msfanmike on May 9th, 2011 11:35 am

    [Caps Lock broken]

  34. akampfer on May 9th, 2011 12:31 pm

    This is great! I first saw him three years ago in Arizona and thought we may eventually see him in Seattle. He’s got some pop.

  35. bookbook on May 9th, 2011 2:15 pm

    My cat used to sit on my pit bull and pull on her eyebrows. She (the dog) also was much gentler about letting my 18-month old walk her (and walk all over her) than my lab was. Milton Bradley was no pit bull. (most of Michael Vick’s dogs were rehabilitated, a few even work as therapy dogs now.)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.