Rejoice, Mike Wilson has been Called Up
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.