Interviewing Alex Wilson: 2009 draft pick closest to the bigs

Alex Wilson was drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft by the Boston Red Sox out of Texas A&M. Wilson’s scouting report on SoxProspects.com says this:

Missed 2008 season due to Tommy John Surgery. 3/4 arm slot. Clean mechanics, but his delivery is somewhat arduous. Fastball sits around 92-93 mph, but he’s previously worked around 96-97 mph. Fastball has average life. Plus 81-84 mph slider misses a lot of bats. He uses his slider as his out pitch. Also mixes in an 85-86 mph changeup that is a work in progress, as it presently doesn’t have enough separation from his fastball. Curveball, which sits around 76-77 mph, is also in development.

Wilson pitched in Low-A Lowell after signing, a rather low level given being 22. He dominated the competition, posting a 0.50 ERA in 13 starts encompassing 36 innings and whiffing 33 while walking seven. It’s felt that if Wilson can develop his changeup, he will start. Otherwise, he will relieve. Baseball America says he is closest to the majors, and is expected to open the season at High-A Salem. Don’t rule out closing the season out in Double-A Portland.

Courtesy photo - Facebook

Courtesy photo - Facebook

Wilson signed in the draft this year as opposed last year or after his senior year of college. Wilson was drafted in the 10th round of the 2008 draft by the Chicago Cubs. Wilson signed this year because…

This year was my last year with leverage left in the draft and I was 22, so it was time for me to move on. In 2008, I was not happy with the way the Cubs went about the process after the draft and then gave me an offer I did not feel was good enough for me to miss a chance to play at Texas A&M. I do miss college but I love the pace and atmosphere of pro ball as well.

On what he was unhappy with in regards to Chicago…

The Red Sox were just straight-forward, honest and didnt beat around the bush, they wanted to get me out and playing as fast as possible and thats exactly what I wanted. The cubs drew it out all summer long and told me things that never happend.

On whether starting or relieving is his preference, and his out pitch of a slider…

I would much rather be a starter and that’s now what I am doing again in pro ball. I would never be opposed to returning to the ‘pen if it meant me moving through the system faster and getting to the bigs.

Starting, for me, just allows me to prepare mentally a little bit better because I know exactly when I am going to be pitching and against who. I enjoy controlling the game from the very beginning rather than just jumping into a situation that I did not create.

My slider came along fast for me starting my junior year of high school and its always just been there for me, a very comfortable and confident pitch at all times.

What about the changeup, which many view as Wilson’s X-factor on his future in the rotation?

My change-up is coming along fast now. I am throwing it more often with more confidence and it has allowed me to use it effectively. It’s just a matter of repetition when it comes to pitches.

What’s up with Wilson’s offseason?

The Red Sox just want me to continue to work on my change up and stay in shape and strong as I am now; don’t take it easy just because it is the offseason.

When im not around or thinking about baseball, I am always trying to find a way to go fishing or hunting and love just being outdoors.

Despite a three-year age difference, Wilson is very close friends with another Red Sox phenom, Ryan Westmoreland. (Westmoreland answered questions with Fire Brand in August.) What are Wilson’s thoughts on him?

Westy is a very well-disciplined and strong, mature hitter for a kid his age. His patience is past his years and very fun to watch. I am glad I don’t have to pitch against him.

My take: keep an eye on Wilson. He could be a fast riser and see Boston next September out of the bullpen. I wouldn’t be surprised if Boston views him as Bard’s future setup man, if not a future closer. Of course, both the team and I would prefer Wilson develops as a starting pitcher. However, all indications are that he has the fastball and slider now to get major league hitters out. If he can reclaim his 96-97 mph fastball out of the bullpen, he could be a game changer. If the club isn’t confident in Wilson’s curveball halfway through this season, I can definitely see a switch to the bullpen and a quick promotion.

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