Wilson Makes Impressive Spring Debut

BRADENTON, Fla. — Lefty Justin Wilson took the mound at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla. on Monday night for his first outing of the spring. After walking his first batter, the 24-year-old settled down and looked impressive in his 2012 spring debut.

“I had some jitters,” Wilson said. “Especially with the first hitter. It’s always nice to get out there and once I slowed things down, I felt good and just wanted to keep throwing strikes.”

“The first batter, I’m sure he had some nerves,” Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said. “Whether it’s spring training, it’s the first time this kids got on the mound. It’s a big league game to him. Four quick balls, then boom, he went to work. It was good to see him repeat his delivery, downhill plane with that velocity. It’s hard to hit. It’s hard to square up.”

Wilson went on to strike out three of his next five Oriole’s batters over his two scoreless, hitless frames in relief.

“The arm’s big,” Hurdle said. “The consistency of the arm, the command of his pitches is something he’s continued to work out to improve. He did two role’s last year. He started, finished up in the bullpen. The arm played big in the bullpen. The velocity has actually been higher than that [94-95 last night] at times. That’s a fresh arm, sitting on 95 a whole handful of pitches, fastball pitches. He got sharper the longer he stayed out there.”

During Wilson’s outing he was regularly hitting 94-95 on the gun. The hard throwing lefty said that is his normal velocity when he is starting, but can ramp it up even higher when in the bullpen. Wilson hit 99 MPH on several occasions out of the bullpen in Indianapolis at the end of the 2011 season.

“Last year out of the ‘pen it was higher than when I was starting,” Wilson said. “I’m just kind of getting used to all that and how the arm feels. We’ll see.”

After posting a 2.55 ERA in April while with Triple-A Indianapolis to start the 2011 season, Wilson posted a four-plus ERA over the next three months before being moved into the bullpen to finish out the remainder of the season. Wilson said he isn’t sure whether his role for 2012 will be in the ‘pen or back in the starting rotation.

“I just know I’m going to throw innings in spring training and to be ready for whatever,” he said.

Despite having a down year, Wilson is still regarded as one of the top Pirates lefty pitchers in their system. After being Rule 5 eligible over the offseason, the Pirates added him to the 40-man roster protecting him from getting drafted by another team. Wilson is looking to bounce back this year and break camp in the Bucs ‘pen or make his Major League debut at some point in Pittsburgh in 2012.

“I just want to become more consistent and be ready to go,” Wilson said of his goals. “Just more consistent around the strike zone.”

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Correia Solid in Bucs 7-4 Win Over Yankees

Next Story »

Walker Scratched with Back Tightness

  • James S

    Wilson impressed me. Also Jared Hughes impresses me more and more.
    Good competition going on.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/67AKGAROG3OX5USU3IRKUTICUQ .

    Is he a legitimate rotation candidate or will he become a lefty specialist?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=72405411 Ian Rothermund

    A lot of the bullpen guys looked impressive, at least from a “stuff” perspective.  If this is a guy that has any chance at starting, I think you have to push that.  With his stuff though, I think it’s a little ridiculous to push for a “lefty specialist” title.  You know, lefties are allowed to come out of the bullpen as non-specialist types, sometimes even as closers; (see: Billy Wagner). 

Latest Analysis

  • Billy Roth is the top prospect in Bristol this year.

    Another Projectable Prep Pitcher Sees An Increase in His Velocity

    6 hours ago

    When discussing the best Pittsburgh Pirates draft under Neal Huntington, the 2011 group has to be at the top of the list. It features Gerrit Cole, Tyler ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero

    Breaking Down the Final Pirates Roster Battles After Today’s Cuts

    1 day ago

    With less than a week remaining in camp, the Pittsburgh Pirates made their latest round of cuts this morning, sending three relievers to minor league camp, including ...

    Read More
  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    3 days ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    4 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    5 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    6 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    1 week ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    2 weeks ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles