Tyler Wilson has been on quite the up-and-down journey the past ten days. Wilson, the Baltimore Orioles’ rookie right-handed pitcher, was initially called up last week and made his debut on May 20 against the Seattle Mariners. He got in one more game in the opener of the Orioles’ weekend series in Miami against the Marlins.
With bullpen innings piling up for the big club, Wilson was sent down to Triple-A Norfolk, and pitched for the Tides on Monday to stay sharp. With the Orioles playing a double-header this afternoon, Wilson was summoned yet again from the minors for a spot start.
In his first Major League start, Wilson did just about all he could do to hold down the Chicago White Sox and match zeroes with Chris Sale who was electric, striking out 12 over 7.2 shutout innings. The only blemish on Wilson’s record was the two-spot recorded by the White Sox in the sixth inning.
Wilson was lifted after 6.0 innings having allowed only the two runs on five hits with one walk and two strikeouts. The runs in the sixth came on RBI doubles from Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche. Wilson did not miss his spot terribly on the Cabrera double to left. The White Sox left-fielder simply went down and got a tailing fastball and sliced it into the corner. LaRoche’s double was hit to deep center, but Adam Jones appeared to get a poor jump on the ball.
To be effective, Wilson, who does not have outstanding velocity but rather good late movement, needs to be inducing ground balls. He did that today, getting ten groundball outs to only one fly ball out. As long as Wilson is able to pound the lower half of the zone with his fastball, he will be able to get outs at the Major League level.
After the spot start, Wilson is likely ticketed for either the Orioles’ bullpen or back to the minors. In his brief time with the Orioles, he has shown an ability to be effective as a reliever or a starter, so there is a good chance he will be back before the end of the season. The Orioles will likely option him back down to Triple-A while he rests after this start and then make a decision based on the state of the bullpen.
Wilson started the season ranked the Orioles’ No. 8 prospect, and won the organization’s Pitcher of the Year award last year. He has backed up those accolades during his brief time in the big leagues, and the Orioles should find a way to keep him on the 25-man roster for the duration of the season.