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The 10 best Mets minor league pitchers I saw this year: 10, Tommy Wilson

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Counting down the best minor league pitchers I saw in 2018.

Tommy Wilson
Steve Sypa

DISCLAIMER: This is a ranking of the best players that I saw during the 2018 season. I saw a wide cross-section of teams in 2018, seeing the Kingsport Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones, Columbia Fireflies, and Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but I did not see the GCL Mets, St. Lucie Mets, or Las Vegas 51s, nor did I attend every single game of the teams that I did see. As such, this is not a comprehensive Mets prospect list. If a player is not on the list, I either did not see him, or considered the listed ten players better.

Name: Tommy Wilson

Team: Brooklyn Cyclones

Position: RHP

Born: 5/26/96 (22)

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 220 lbs.

Bats/Throws: R/R

Acquired: 2018 Draft, Round 19 (Cal State Fullerton)

2018 Season: 11 G (0 GS), 22.0 IP, 13 H, 5 R, 3 ER (1.23 ERA), 7 BB, 27 K, 0 HBP, 0 BLK, 0 WP, .241 BABIP (Short-A)

Date(s) Seen: September 2 @ Staten Island (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, SV)

The Man

The son of Thomas F. Wilson, the actor who played Biff Tannen, Tommy Wilson grew up in California, attending and graduating Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks. After graduating from high school, he attended St. Mary’s College of California. He did not play baseball there, but when he transferred to Pierce College in 2017, he began playing ball again. In 85.0 innings that year, he posted a 2.11 ERA, allowing 61 hits, walking 23, and striking out 104. In 2018, he transferred to Cal State Fullerton and had an immediate impact, posting a 2.61 ERA in 89.2 innings, allowing 81 hits, walking 22, and striking out 81. He helped Titans into the Super Regionals, beating Baylor Bears and Stanford Cardinals before losing Washington Huskies in the final round of the bracket. The Mets selected Wilson in the 2018 MLB Draft with their 19th round pick, the 560th player selected overall. Pitching as a reliever- often a long reliever- Wilson had a successful professional debut, posting a 1.23 ERA in 22.0 innings, allowing 13 hits, walking 7, and striking out 27.

The Pitcher

Tommy Wilson
Steve Sypa

The most notable thing about Tommy Wilson is his delivery. During his hand-glove separation, he keeps his glove in front of his knee lift and hides the ball behind it. It is a subtle thing, but noticeable, even if you’re not looking for it; from the stands, it was somewhat jarring for me to watch, and I can only imagine what it does to hitters. The only downside to it, seemingly, is that it gives hitters a few extra milliseconds to see the grip that Wilson is using.

Wilson’s fastball sits 88-94, sitting 91-93 MPH. The pitch does not feature too much movement, but the right-hander is able to command it well. He complements his fastball with a slider that sits 81-85 MPH and a changeup that sits 81-83 MPH. The slider has tight spin and misses plenty of bats, and the changeup is effective, with fading life.

Looking To 2019

Wilson was used primarily as a starter in college, and eight of his eleven appearances with the Cyclones were more than one inning, but Wilson seems much better suited as a reliever than a starter. His stuff is capable of getting outs, but nothing that he throws is particularly good; his atypical mechanics are probably his greatest strength, and minimizing his exposure to batters would be the best way to maximize their impact. I expect him to begin the 2019 season in the Columbia Fireflies bullpen, but skipping over the South Atlantic League and starting in the Florida State League would not be a stretch.