Jason Wilson: Rays’ 26th Round Senior RHP Features Electric Stuff

By Robbie Knopf

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here. The Rays are drafting seniors and somehow ending up with all these upside guys. I guess it’s a trade-off, trading players with a better chance of contributing in the big leagues for players for a better chance of getting real late-round gems. Jason Wilson is a senior sign, but his stuff is interesting.

Wilson is a 6’1″, 200 senior right-handed pitcher at Western Oregon University. For WOU, Wilson was extremely inconsistent. He went 5-2, but he posted 4.65 ERA in 10 starts, 4 relief appearances, and 62 IP. But you have to like his strikeout, walk, and homer rates: 8.4, 3.3, and 0.3 respectively. Wilson actually tossed two complete games for 2/5 of his wins. But he allowed 65 hits including 18 for extra-bases, the most on the team by a wide margin. Wilson’s FIP (which is truly next to meaningless for starting pitchers), was a nice 3.15, but he was pretty darn hittable. But what distinguishes Wilson from your average senior sign is his arsenal of pitches.

Wilson throws a fastball in the low-90’s, but it’s not your generic low-90’s fastball. Very often it features acute, sweeping natural late cutting action. It moves so well that Wilson has fits at times commanding it and when it moves over the middle of the plate, he gets into trouble. But that isn’t his only impressive pitch. He also throws an 11-to-5 curveball that has shown plus action at times, but he has trouble commanding it. Wilson’s third pitch is a show-me changeup. Wilson turns 22 in August, so he’s not exactly super-young, but he has some potential as a starting pitcher or the Rays could try him out of the bullpen. Wilson has a lot of work they needs to be done in turns of his command and control, but he has the upside of an impact pitcher in the major leagues as a back-of-the-rotation option or a even a back-end bullpen option. This pick may very well be forgotten, and that’s the most likely scenario. But there’s a chance the Rays get some real value from Wilson here.