For a player with barely 30 games of experience at the Double-A level, Jacob Wilson certainly has taken advantage of every opportunity to impress this month and honestly has come out of nowhere in the past year. Projected as an advanced bat coming out of the University of Memphis, the Cardinals snagged Wilson in the 10th round back in 2012 and sent the second baseman to short-season Batavia.
He clubbed 15 home runs for Peoria in 97 games and earned a promotion to Palm Beach to finish out the 2013 summer. The middle infielder also saw more time at the hot corner as St. Louis looked to maximize the power potential and shipped him to Arizona for the invite-only prospect league. Wilson has just kept hitting from there, adding a strong on-base percentage to the rest of the tools. Injuries kept him from a possible homecoming last year, but that didn’t stop the Cardinals from giving him a homework assignment in Arizona last fall.
Wilson added another couple of gloves to his bag, manning some first base as well as the outfield in the best sign of things to come. Just ask Matt Carpenter or another similar comparison in Allen Craig who both know the organization will find a spot for the bat. Where exactly that spot is for next month depends on a few things out of Wilson’s control. And before anyone asks, Wilson doesn’t project as a shortstop so that can be put to rest.
It is getting increasingly difficult to figure out how the rosters are going to be configured and who gets priority, but St. Louis is benefiting from the break out play of a few different unheralded future contributors. As Daniel pointed out, Tommy Pham has opened up Spring games by fighting to stay in the 5th outfielder race. Wilson did come in as a non-roster invite so that will have to be sorted out before any promotion happens but all in due time I like to say!
Initially it was my thought that Springfield had seen the last of Wilson, but even the hot start with the big club comes with more unknowns. Greg Garcia should be the incumbent Redbirds’ middle infielder, and then there are others with major league contracts to factor in as well. First base and outfield figure to be packed as well in Memphis, so I’m choosing to be greedy for once. Would it be such a bad thing for Wilson to be the focal point of the offense and tear up the Texas League for a month or two?
These things all tend to work themselves out before too long anyway, and it is never a bad thing to have an excess of weapons. The Cardinals will be keeping an eye to the high minors early and often, but it wouldn’t upset this scribe one bit to be able to make the short drive down the highway and catch Wilson in person. Who knows, he may be the next one to make the jump without any time in AAA and will just have to catch up with old friends next Winter!