Mike Wilson has been on base before
I think most of us have at least a cursory understanding of the new guy we'll be seeing a lot in left field, but in the name of gathering more information, I asked a couple questions of Ryan Divish and Mike Curto, with their responses below. My thanks to both of them - in particular Curto, who responded almost instantly, shortly before going on the air for a Monday matinee. The man knows his priorities.
(1) We know that Wilson's a power hitting type who swings through the ball a lot, but could you provide a quick evaluation of his command of the strike zone? He a guy who swings through strikes, or swings through balls?
MC: His swings and misses seem to come when he’s trying to do too much at the plate – sometimes he takes a vicious hack and you can just tell he was thinking home run.
RD: Wilson has a better command of the strike zone than people expect. He's going to chase a high fastball at times because, well, that's what guys that swing out of their ass do. But he's not like Greg Halman and mystified by breaking balls. He can actually hit them. I've seen him sit on breaking pitches and drive them.
Unlike, Halman, or Alex Liddi or Carlos Peguero, Wilson understands the strike zone and understands what pitchers are trying to do. But if you been playing for 10 years of professional baseball, I would hope you have some idea. He will look bad occasionally. But he won't look lost. Of course, understanding the strike zone in the minor leagues is completely different than understanding the strike zone in the big leagues where fastballs have a ton of movement, cut fastballs are everywhere and change-ups are more than just show-me pitches.
(2) Given what you understand about the public perception of Wilson, what part of Wilson's game do you think might catch people by surprise?
MC: Two things: he’s better at hitting off-speed stuff than fastballs, and his defense is better than people think.
RD: For as athletic as he is, having been a college football prospect, he isn't a great outfielder. You can't play him in center field. The Rainiers had to do that earlier this year out of need. His routes are a little funky at times. But then again they can't be any worse than Milton Bradley. His arm isn't horrible (better than Saunders). He runs well, but doesn't steal a ton of bases, but is a pretty good base runner. Is he a significant upgrade? I don't know. But he's not worse than anyone they have up there right now.
And he takes awesome mugshots. And while the glare is great, he's actually a pretty friendly guy.