Wilson Getting Closer To Boston
BOSTON—Alex Wilson found it hard to resist the widespread conclusion when he was moved from the rotation to the bullpen in April that he was on a fast track to the big leagues.
After all, the righthander already had experience as a reliever in college, the Red Sox bullpen was blowing apart at the seams and his max-effort delivery and stuff—primarily a mid-90s fastball and wipeout slider—seemed like a hand-in-glove fit for the bullpen.
"I fell into that trap a little bit. It was hard not to (think about when a callup might occur)," said Wilson, a 2009 second-round pick out of Texas A&M who spent this year with Triple-A Pawtucket.
"There was about a two-week stretch when I hit a little bump in the road. That's when I figured, all right, quit listening to everything you're hearing . . . I just had to shut all that down and focus on the here and now."
The bullpen apprenticeship proved more deliberate than anticipated. The Boston bullpen stabilized, while by and large the 25-year-old Wilson was making multi-inning relief appearances. During the regular season, he never pitched on back-to-back days.
Overall, the results appeared modest. Wilson had a 3.36 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 59 innings. His walk rate was higher out of the bullpen (4.4 per nine innings) than it was as a starter—though Wilson noted that his spike in walks was partly because, as a reliever, he could pitch around opponents in certain situations.
Still, there was nothing like the consistent dominance that the righthander showed in the 2012 postseason with Pawtucket.
In five playoff games, Wilson retired 17 of 18 batters he faced, allowing just one infield hit and recording six strikeouts. For the longest sustained stretch of the year, he showed why the Red Sox believed that he could become a high-leverage, late-innings reliever.
"I think I just fell into a groove at the right time," Wilson said. "I performed the way I should be performing."
Wilson was almost certain to be added to the 40-man roster this winter.
• Pawtucket won the International League's Governors' Cup trophy for the first time since 1984.
• Righthander Anthony Ranaudo, who missed the last two months after dealing with a dead arm in Double-A Portland, was slated to pitch in instructional league games.