2023 College World Series Player Spotlight: Brock Wilken


Image credit: Wake Forest third baseman Brock Wilken (Courtesy of Wake Forest)

Brock Wilken has had a record-breaking 2023 season, but no feat is more important than leading Wake Forest to its first College World Series appearance since 1955. Wilken had considerable draft interest as a high school senior, but opted to take his talents to Winston-Salem. There was big-time buzz surrounding Wilken as he entered his freshman year, and he was projected to be a cornerstone of the Demon Deacons’ lineup from day one. Wilken had an excellent rookie campaign, as he hit .279 with 11 doubles, 17 home runs and 44 RBIs in 47 games. He established himself as Wake Forest’s everyday third baseman, routinely showing off his plus arm.

Wilken established himself as a household name and potential first-round draft pick thanks to an incredible 2021 summer in which he won MVP of the Cape Cod League. Wilken made mince meat of some of the best pitchers in the country, hitting .302 with 10 doubles, six home runs and 26 RBIs. While it is the norm for players to see a significant drop off in production when making the switch to wood bats and facing the best talent college baseball has to offer, Wilken thrived. 

The 2022 season saw an increase in swing-and-miss for Wilken (71 strikeouts), but he set new career highs in doubles (13), home runs (23) and RBIs (77). Wilken had rather quickly turned himself into one of the most potent power hitters in the college game, and his success had earned him an invitation to Team USA’s Collegiate National Team training camp. The 2022 summer was a bit of a struggle for Wilken, as he hit .229 on the Cape. Even with the dip in average, he was still hammering the baseball and pounded out 10 extra-base hits. Coming into his junior season, Wilken was widely considered a top-three round draft prospect with the ability to play himself into the first round.

And has he ever. The 2023 season has been a career year for Wilken in nearly every statistical category. He has refined his approach at the plate, which has led to better swing decisions, lower chase rates and an impressive 67 walks to 54 strikeouts. He is currently hitting .357, a good 78 points higher than his previous career best, with 15 doubles, 31 home runs and 82 RBIs. This season he has broken Wake Forest’s career home run record, Wake Forest’s single-season home run record and the ACC’s career home run record, and his 31 long balls are tied for the highest total in the country.

Wilken has continued to shine in the College World Series, leading Wake Forest to a 2-0 record to this point and just three wins from its first national championship since 1955. In the Demon Deacons’ first game, Wilken crushed a solo home run for their first run of the College World Series en route to a 3-2 win over Stanford.

On Tuesday night against LSU, Wilken shined on both sides of the baseball. He again got the scoring started with an RBI single, lacing a Thatcher Hurd fastball up the middle. His biggest play, however, came in the top of the eighth inning. With the game tied at two and runners on the corners, Cade Beloso hit a ground ball off the end of the bat to Wilken, who made a nifty play going to his backhand side and nabbed the potential go-ahead run at home plate. Wake Forest held on to win 3-2 in what was one of the best games this season.

Wilken has already solidified himself as one of the best players in program history, but nothing would be more meaningful than a national championship.

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