Wilk Makes His Mark For Tigers
DETROIT—As an 11th-round pick in 2009, Adam Wilk may not have been among the Tigers' most coveted prospects when he was drafted.
But the lefty's performance in his first two years certainly has made them take notice.
After going 4-1, 1.47 in 2009, Wilk made an even bigger statement last season, his first full professional year. Pitching for high Class A Lakeland, Wilk posted a 3.01 ERA, the fourth-best mark in the Florida State League.
He also had the best walks per nine innings rate (1.19) and allowed the fewest baserunners per nine (10.15) among all FSL starters.
Things didn't change when he made three late-season starts for Double-A Erie: Wilk went 2-0, 1.14 ERA for the SeaWolves.
"He's the closest to be major league ready of any pitcher we had," Erie manager Phil Nevin said. "I've seen a lot of those kinds of guys get outs in the big leagues.
"He's a three- or four-pitch guy who changes speeds, works off his fastball and has plus command. On top of it all, he's got (guts). He will pitch in the major leagues."
By "those kinds of guys," Nevin was referencing Wilk's status as a soft-tossing lefthander. The Long Beach State product's repertoire includes both a four- and two-seam fastball that touches 91-92 and sits at 88-89, along with a curve and a changeup.
"And he uses all of those pitches," said Jon Matlack, the Tigers' minor league pitching coordinator. "He needs 'pitchability' and movement to be successful."
Another reason for Wilk's success is the hard work he puts in between starts.
"Adam has unquestionable work habits and is extremely regimented," Matlack said. "He gives great attention to detail."
Wilk will bring a 15-6, 2.26 career record into next season, where he is expected to start for Erie.
• When Detroit extended its working agreement with Erie to 2012, it meant the organization's top four franchises—Triple-A Toledo, Erie, Lakeland and low Class A West Michigan—remain the top of the Tigers' organizational chart in a combination that began in 2001. The White Sox are the only other club to have the same top four teams in that period.
• Toledo is planning to open the 2011 season with a scheduled doubleheader on Thursday, April 14. The scheduled season-opening twinbill is believed to be a first for the International League.