For years, even decades, the University of Virginia has been known as a hotbed of talent for the sport of football. (Every NFL draft since the early 1980s has seen at least one NFL player get drafted out of UVA.) But make way, football, Major League Baseball is gaining steam.
As of Tuesday, September 15th, when the Orioles recalled P Tyler Wilson (Midlothian) from Triple-A Norfolk, a record 10 Wahoos appear on major league rosters. Here is the rundown of the UVA-to-MLB pipeline:
San Francisco Giants reliever Javier Lopez (Fairfax) played at Virginia from 1996-1998. He currently leads all active major league players with 4 World Series rings. (2007 with the Red Sox and the three SF titles of the 2010s.)
St Louis Cardinals IF Mark Reynolds (Va Beach) played at Virginia from 2001-2004. His 236 career homers are 23rd among active major league players.
Washington Nationals IF Ryan Zimmerman (Va Beach) played at Virginia from 2003-2005. In the 2005 draft, he was selected in the first round by Washington, the very first draft choice in the history of the Washington Nationals, who had just moved to DC from Montreal. Zimmerman is the last player left from the team’s inaugural season in Washington, and has clearly become the face of the franchise. His 10 career Walk-off homers are 2 short of the NL record). On March 30th, 2008, he christened the new Nationals Park with a walk-off HR to beat the Braves. In the summer of 2015, he cracked the 200 HR milestone. In his time as a National, his resume also includes an all-star game, a Gold Glove, and 2 Silver Sluggers.
Oakland Athletics P Sean Dolittle played at Virginia from 2005-2007. In 2014 he was 10th in the AL with 22 saves, and made his first all-star game.
Also currently on Major League rosters: Cleveland Indians P Kyle Crockett (Poquoson), Arizona Diamondbacks IF Phil Gosselin, Tampa Bay Rays OF Brandon Guyer (Herndon), Seattle Mariners C John Hicks (Richmond), San Francisco Giants OF Jarrett Parker (Stafford), and Wilson.
Major League Baseball, Wahoo strong!!!!!!!!
In the resumption of Game 2, suspended last night, Tyler Wilson (Midlothian/UVA) took over the pitching and threw 5 solid innings and Henry Urrutia and Christian Walker each homered and combined to drive in 5 runs.
Norfolk salvages the split and the series will now shift to and finish up in Columbus, as it now turns into a best-of-3.
As we are now in the final weeks of the minor league’s 2015 season, the “dog days” of summer for the minors, we take a look at how Virginia’s teams are doing in their push for a spot in their respective league’s playoffs. Such a discussion has to start, or course, with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides (Orioles) club.
The Tides have won 7 of their last 10, have a record of 64-44. stand 6 games ahead in the IL’s South Division, and have the best record in the entire IL.
What has boosted the Tides this year? Probably their pitching. Despite the active shuttle between Hampton Roads and Charm City, there have been some amazing performances by Tides players to put them among IL leaders. Three of the top 8 ERAs in the IL are Tides pitchers-Zach Davies (5th-2.84-since traded to Brewers), Chris Jones (7th-3.00), UVA alum and Midlothian-native Tyler Wilson (8th-3.05). Mike Wright, who has gotten 7 starts in Baltimore this year, has posted an 8-0 record with the Tides and a 2.41 ERA (not enough innings to qualify for league leadership status). 30-yr old career minor leaguer Eddie Gamboa, a 2008 Orioles draft choice, has struggled to an ERA north of 4, but has still won 8 games for Norfolk this year. Led by these guys, the Tides have an IL-best 2.93 ERA, which includes 13 SHO wins. In a testament to how they are doing as a team, only one of their shutouts this year has been a CG. And speaking of their team effort, Naval Academy grad Oliver Drake is third in the league with 17 saves for the Tides.
While you and I both know that minor league baseball is about player development, the Tides are winning right now and have a shot at their first division title since 2005 and their first as an Orioles affiliate. That being said, Norfolk’s run right now means the future is bright in Baltimore.
Stay tuned, Tides and Orioles fans, this will be a fun stretch run.
A whirlwind week is probably the best way to describe the week that befelled Orioles RH Tyler Wilson (Midlothian/UVA/Norfolk Tides ’14-’15). A week ago, this highly-regarded pitching prospect was in the minors, albeit at AAA, toiling on bus rides that took him as far north as Rhode Island, as far west as Indiana, and as far south as Georgia.
Now he goes all over in chartered flights, with the Baltimore Orioles,
And he also now has a major league win under his belt.
Wilson was called up from AAA on Wednesday, and actually got into the game. He pitched the 9th inning of a 4-2 Orioles home loss to Seattle, allowing 2 hits.
On Friday, he notched that first major league win, pitching the 5th inning and allowing a run on three hits. He got credited with the win as the Orioles defeated the free-falling Marlins 8-5.
UPDATE:Tyler Wilson was returned to Norfolk today.
With the winter months settling in, baseball teams are in the middle of their off-season plans. One of those is the annual Rule 5 draft, which allows teams to select players from other big league organization’s minor league systems and give them a full season on their major league roster, for a dirt cheap price of $50,000.
Teams just passed the deadline to set their 40-man rosters and determine which players they wanted to protect from the Rule 5 draft, and the Seattle Mariners have chosen to protect their Top Catcher prospect, John Hicks (Goochland/UVA). In 2014, Hicks started the year with an invite to big league spring training. He would open the season at Double-A, and finish the year at Triple-A. For the season he hit .290 with a .351 On base Percentage and a slugging percentage of .403. He will more than likely return to Triple-A Tacoma, but appears set to make his major league debut in ’15, should one of the Mariners catchers get hurt.
In Baltimore, the Orioles are competitive and relevant again. After no playoff baseball in Charm City since 1997, Orioles fans have seen postseason ball in 2 of the last 3 years. In 2012, they beat Texas in the Wild Card Gams before losing to the Yankees in 5 games in the ALDS. In 2014, they went a step further, winning their first division title since ’97, sweeping 3 Cy Young Award Winning Detroit Tigers pitchers in the ALDS, before getting swept by the upstart Royals in the ALCS. The Orioles are very competitive and should remain so for a while, but any crack in the Orioles rotation should pave the way for RHP Tyler Wilson (Midlothian/UVA), whom the Orioles have added to their 40-man roster. Wilson started 2014 at Double-A Bowie, and finished the season at Norfolk. He went a combined 14-8 with a 3.67 ERA and 157 Strikeouts in 166 innings pitched, nearly a strikeout per inning. Wilson is likely to return to Norfolk to open 2015, but could get a look in Baltimore sometime during the season.
John Hicks. Tyler Wilson. Promising futures in the big leagues.
To continue this series about Virginia baseball stars in the making, we turn to the Orioles system and look at Midlothian-native and UVA alumni P Tyler Wilson.
Wilson was 21 when he was drafted out of University of Virginia in the 10th round of the 2011 draft by the Baltimore Orioles, but signed quickly enough that he got some work in that season, with the GCL and then Aberdeen. He finished that first pro season with a 1.91 ERA in a combined 8 starts between the two levels. He notched 27 strikeouts and 5 walks in 33 innings.
The next season, he started out at Low-A Delmarva, where he posted a bloated 5.06 ERA, but went 3-3 with 29 SO in 32 innings over 6 starts before being promoted to High-A Frederick. The organization decided to try stretching him out a little bit, and he went 7-7, but posted a 3.49 ERA with more strikeouts (114) than total innings pitched (111), walking only 19!
In 2013, he opened at Frederick, where he posted a 4.48 ERA over 11 starts, but impressed the organization enough that he was moved up to Double-A Bowie. With the Baysox, he posted a 3.83 ERA in 16 starts to finish the season.
Wilson would open up 2014 with the Baysox, and really began to impress. He won 10 games with Bowie, over 16 starts, and posted a 3.72 ERA, with 91 strikeouts in 96 2/3 innings. This earned him a promotion to Triple-A Norfolk, which would allow him to pitch less than 2 hours from home.
With the Tides, Wilson went 4-3 in 12 starts, but posted a 3.60 ERA. He threw 70 innings over those 12 starts, and got 66 strikeouts. He also started to prove to be an innings-eater at Norfolk, throwing at least 6 innings in 8 of his 12 starts with the Tides. He had 2 starts at Norfolk where he gave up 4 or 5 runs in no more than 4 innings-take out those starts and his ERA at AAA plummets to 2.72.
For his entire 4-year minor league career so far, Wilson is 32-24 in 88 starts, with a 3.73 ERA. He has notched 445 strikeouts in 494 1/3 innings pitched, with 125 walks, an average of about 1 walk per 4 innings.
The Baltimore Orioles have become a very competitive team again, thanks in part to their farm system producing players. Tyler Wilson appears to be a part of the future in Charm City, and just three hours away, his friends and family in Midlothian could not be prouder.
Midlothian-native Tyler Wilson got pounded, giving up 5 runs in less than 4 innings, and Norfolk was unable to recover, dealing a major blow to Norfolk’s slim playoff hopes.