Red Sox's Wilson Has No Regrets
FORT MYERS, FLA.—
It would have been understandable for Alex Wilson to lament his fate. In 2008, the Cubs offered him $600,000 to sign as a 10th-round selection working his way back from Tommy John surgery.
Wilson declined and returned to Texas A&M. A year later, the Red Sox drafted him in the second round and offered him a slot bonus of $470,000.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound righthander wasted little time in accepting so that he could get his professional career under way.
"I'd already missed enough time," he said, alluding to his surgery. "I got picked by Boston. It was a childhood dream to play for them. At that point, I said 'Forget the money, just work hard and do your thing.' The real money is in the big leagues anyway."
That approach may have accelerated his big league timetable. Wilson had a tremendous pro debut with short-season Lowell in 2009, posting a 0.50 ERA in 36 innings, then carried that into the 2010 season.
In the rotation for high Class A Salem, he became a Carolina League all-star by forging a 3.40 ERA, striking out 50 and walking just 15 in 56 innings, overpowering younger hitters with his fastball.
That quickly led to a promotion to Double-A Portland. There, Wilson struggled to a 6.66 ERA while allowing 15 homers in 16 starts. The 24-year-old suggested that the more advanced level challenged him to throw his secondary pitches (a swing-and-miss slider and a work-in-progress changeup) for strikes in any count.
When he did so, he had effective games. When he didn't—especially at a time when his stuff flattened out down the stretch—he got hit hard.
Still, the potential impact was apparent, resulting in a spring training invite to big league camp. The Sox want him to focus on improving his changeup this year, and to improve his fastball command in the zone. If those things happen, Wilson could position himself for a callup this year, most likely as a reliever.
"My goal this year is to end up in Boston," he said. "I think I have the stuff to do it. I'm dedicated and will work as hard as anybody."
• Righthander Mathew Price, taken in the eighth round of the 2010 draft and signed for $415,000, is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery that he had in the fall.
• Shortstop Jose Iglesias, the Cuban defector signed to a $8.25 million big league deal in 2009, has been reunited with his father, who arrived in the U.S. during spring training.