2020 MLB Draft: A Conversation With Georgia RHP Cole Wilcox
Last week Baseball America talked with Georgia righthander Cole Wilcox as part of our Draft Stock Watch series, this time focusing on draft-eligible sophomores. We also talked with Wilcox about his development and experience in two years at Georgia. You can see the rest of that conversation below.
Baseball America: How has two years with Georgia changed you as a pitcher?
Cole Wilcox: I definitely made a great decision coming here. It’s been some of the best two years of my life. Especially baseball wise, just being a completely different pitcher now than I was coming in. Really learning how to pitch, how to pitch off my slider, pitch off my changeup. Learning how to sink my fastball to my arm side and stuff like that. Just having that presence on the mound of, 'You’re in control.' Always being confident when you step on the bump.
Me mentally coming into this season compared to me mentally last year is a huge world of difference. Just growth and maturity, not only on the mound as a baseball player but as a person and a pitcher.
BA: What are some of those things that you are doing different mentally?
CW: Coming into college there was definitely some mechanical stuff I needed to work on. So that was always on the back of my mind when I was on the mound, which is something you can’t do. Then obviously some pitch making stuff that I needed to work on. So I feel like I was working on a lot going into last year.
While I’m still working on a lot this year, once I take the mound all that stuff is to the side and it’s just straight trying to win the game. And that’s the biggest difference from this year to last year. I was trying to perfect things while I was in the game. This year I’m just trying to dominate when I get on the mound.
BA: You've also talked about feeling more comfortable with your secondary pitches. Did that come from just spending more time on them or a different grip or what?
CW: In high school it was something I didn’t have to do. I could just throw a lot of fastballs and get by people. But coming in (to Georgia), everyone knew I had a big fastball. Everyone knew I was going to be up to 97-98 in intersquads. I learned early that I couldn’t just sit there and throw fastballs every time.
So just being able to develop the slider, that happened kind of naturally when I got here. It probably had a lot to do with fixing mechanics when I got here (as well). But that turned into a weapon, especially for a strike. That got hitters off-balance and then being able to mix in the changeup too was just a big deal. Then once you go back to the fastball, that’s when you beat them. That’s how I had to learn. Just being able to pitch backwards early, then later in the counts you can beat them with fastballs.
BA: What's it been like pitching with a guy like Emerson Hancock, who is also one of the better arms in the country?
CW: Emerson has definitely been a big influence on me since I got here. He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around. Obviously you don’t just back into the success that he’s had. He’s definitely earned it. You see how he goes about his week. Just super detailed, whether it’s watching film, whether it’s stretching, getting some extra reps in lifts—he’s just always super focused on what he does. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do this year.
Me going into the season as a starter, just kind of seeing how he goes about his week, seeing how detailed he is about it. Just trying to implement some of the stuff that he does to be successful.