Hitter of the Week
2019 Season: 23 G, 71 AB, .239/.438/.380, 17 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 24 BB, 25 K, 1/1 SB, .341 BABIP
Week: 7 G, 20 AB, .300/.533/.400, 6 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 9 BB, 7 K, 1/1 SB, .462 BABIP
Will Toffey was born in Massachusetts and grew up in Connecticut. As such, like plenty of other athletes growing up in New England and or the northeast, hockey and baseball were passions of his. He excelled in hockey- though not to the degree that his brother, Tampa Bay Lightning draftee and hockey minor leaguer John Toffey did- in high school, playing at the all-boys, college prep Salisbury School, but baseball was his true passion. In the final days of his senior year there, he had a major choice to make: would he sign with the New York Yankees, who drafted him in the 23rd round of the MLB Draft, or would he honor his commitment to Vanderbilt and play collegiate baseball? In the end, he turned down the Yankees and chose Vanderbilt. In his freshman year, Toffey was one of the best freshman players in the entire NCAA, hitting .294/.380/.420 in 71 games for coach Tim Corbin’s Commodores. That summer, in the Cape Cod League, he sustained a stress fracture in his foot that not forced him to leave the prestigious collegiate league after just a few games but affected his 2016 when he returned to Vandy. Though he played in all 62 games, he hit a paltry .227/.387/.266.
Despite the poor performance, the Baltimore Orioles drafted Toffey, selecting him in the 25th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, but for a second time, he turned down the major leagues. He returned to the Cape for a second time that summer and had a much better go of it, hitting .283/392/.402 in 36 games. When he returned to Vanderbilt for his junior season, he was able to keep the positive momentum going and hit .354/.475/.602 in 56 game, shattering virtually every career high he had already set. The Oakland Athletics selected in the 4th round of the 2017 MLB Draft and Toffey signed with them for the slot value of $482,600.
Toffey made his professional debut with the Short-A Vermont Lake Monsters a few weeks later and hit .263/.377/.349 in 57 games for the season. He skipped over Low-A completely and was assigned to the Stockton Ports to begin the 2018 season, but his 48 games there were plagued with injury. He dislocated his shoulder sliding into home plate and sustained a sore quad and hit .244/.357/.384 as a result. In late July, he was traded to the Mets along with reliever Bobby Wahl in exchange for Mets closer Jeurys Familia. He was assigned to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and hit .254/.394/.433 in 41 games to close out the season.
At the plate, Will Toffey has a quiet set-up with a level swing path. He has a quick bat, and, coupled with his exceptional eye, can wait a long time before committing to a swing, resulting in a ton of opposite field hits. While this approach has all but eliminated the platoon splits that a left-handed batter might have, it has sapped a great deal of his in-game power. Toffey has moderate raw power, but his in-game strategy at the plate limits his home run power, making him a spray hitter that scatters line drives, some of which are able to go for extra bases. Defensively, Toffey’s best asset is his strong arm. He is not particularly quick-twitch athletic, but he should be able to stick at third base, providing solid-if-unspectacular defense. Should he be moved from the position, he is athletic enough to handle second base, and possibly left field, as well as first.
Pitcher of the Week
2019 Season: 5 G (5 GS), 26.2 IP, 25 H, 11 R, 9 ER (3.04 ERA), 9 BB, 22 K, .300 BABIP
Week: 1 G (1 GS), 7.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER (0.00 ERA), 3 BB, 9 K
Tommy Wilson grew up in California, attending and graduating Notre Dame High School in Los Angeles. The neighborhood that the school is in, Sherman Oaks, has a lower population density than most of Los Angeles and is home to a large number of celebrities. Wilson has a celebrity connection himself, as his father is Thomas F. Wilson, the actor who played Biff Tannen in Back to the Future. 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 with their 19th round pick, the 560th player selected overall. He signed for $90,000, on the higher side for a non-prep draftee selected that late. He was assigned to the Brooklyn Cyclones to begin his professional career and performed well, posting a 1.23 ERA in 22.0 innings out of the Brooklyn bullpen, allowing 13 hits, walking 7, and striking out 27.
Wilson’s fastball ranges from 88-94, mostly 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 has been effective so far, with tumble and fade. Augmenting Wilson’s stuff is his delivery, which features a bit of funk that throws off the timing of hitters. He performs his hand-glove separation early, keeping his glove in front of his knee lift and hiding the ball behind it. In addition, he periodically incorporates hesitation, pauses, and hitches in his mechanics to change up the timing and pace of his delivery.
Though a starter currently, Wilson mightt ultimately be better suited as a reliever. With a possible velocity boost, he would sit more comfortably in the mid-90s. With fewer at-bats per game and per season, batters would have less time to adjust to his atypical mechanics.