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SoxProspects News

July 29, 2009 at 6:59 AM

Q&A with Alex Wilson

The Red Sox drafted Alex Wilson in the second round of this season’s draft out of Texas A&M. Wilson first pitched two seasons with Winthrop before transferring to Texas A&M, but underwent Tommy John Surgery and missed all of the 2008 season. Back on the mound in 2009, Wilson began the season in the starting rotation but moved into the bullpen to finish off the year. Making his professional debut with Lowell this summer, Wilson has been working in the Spinners’ starting rotation and having good success. Recently, Chris Mellen of SoxProspects.com had a chance to catch up with Alex prior to a game in Lowell.

Chris Mellen: First off, welcome to the organization and congratulations. What was that draft-day experience like for you?
Alex Wilson
: Long! It was one of those days that I had been waiting for a full year now after being drafted last year and not having it work out with the Chicago Cubs. (tenth round pick in 2008, but did not sign) After that, I kind of put my head down and decided to grind it out to have the best year I could. I worked as hard as I could everyday and it worked out.

CM: Talk about this past season at Texas A&M. It was kind of a tale of two seasons as you went from the rotation to the bullpen. What was going on there?
: I started the first eight games of the year and had some success early on. Towards the end of the year I moved into the ‘pen. It wasn’t because my arm was tired or anything like that- it was a better fit for me and the team at the time for me to move into the ‘pen. We had been having trouble holding leads in the middle and towards the end of the game, and they asked me if I would be okay moving into that role as it would be the best fit. I was okay with the move. I like to win. That is what I have always been about. Moving into the ‘pen was a new experience for me, but one that worked out well and we were able to have some success with it.

CM: Obviously the Red Sox scouted you a lot prior to drafting you. How much contact did you have with them leading up to the draft? And when they called your number were you expecting it?
: Actually, the year before I had come up to Fenway for a private workout the day prior to the draft (in 2008), so I got to meet everyone then and get a feel for who was behind the scenes. This year, I filled out some paperwork for them, and talked a lot to Jimmy Robinson (Red Sox Amateur Scout) several times leading up to everything. About two weeks before the draft I had a pretty good idea of where I was going to go, but to who was still up in the air. The night of the draft I got a call from Jimmy Robinson about ten minutes before they drafted me. It was kind of funny because I kind of thought I was going to go to Cincinnati a few picks after the Red Sox with the way things were going that night, so it was unexpected and a real nice surprise.

CM: After everything going down and the Red Sox being the team to pick you, how tough of a decision was it to sign?
I knew from the onset that if this is what I wanted to do and to make a career of it that this was the year for me to go. I told them I wasn’t going to be a problem if they drafted me early enough and that I wanted to get out there to play, and get my career going towards the big leagues.

CM: Tell us a bit about your repertoire.
: I’m primarily a fastball and slider pitcher. My slider is definitely my out-pitch, but I like to challenge hitters with my fastball too. I feel like I can locate my fastball well by going to either side of the plate to set hitters up. My change-up is my weakest pitch right now. I’m still working on it, but it has been coming along a little bit. The last couple of starts I have been able to throw it early in the count when I have wanted to get ahead of some guys. It’s not spectacular right now, but it is something I want to work on using more in the future.

CM: Talking a little more about your fastball: We’ve had you clocked around 92-93 MPH this season. Is this generally where you sit or is there a little more there?
: Yeah, I’ve been more around there consistently recently. Coming off this past year without having a day off after rehab and now pitching a full season, my body has been telling me to slow down a bit. I have a few months left here and then I’ll be able to get some time off. I’ve been up around 96-97 before, and feel like I’ll be getting back around there after I get some time off and a break.

CM: What is the main goal for you here in Lowell? What are you looking to get out of your first professional experience?
: I’m trying to get a feel for the system and get comfortable in the starting role, pitching on every fifth day as opposed to about every seventh day in college or coming out of the ‘pen. I’m on a very strict schedule here and I am trying to get used to it. It has been coming along real well and I have been feeling comfortable. We’re taking it nice and slow this year after rehabbing along with throwing about 90 innings at school. They told me they were going to be patient and take it slow with me this year.

CM: Is 2 or 3 innings the max? We’ve seen you around 30 pitches or so thus far.
: I might get past 3 innings once or twice this year, but it is basically a pitch count of about 40 each outing.

CM: In your short time here in Lowell and the system so far, who is a teammate that has impressed you so far?
: Ryan Westmoreland. He’s a young kid who is a big, strong, fast, and athletic guy who leaves it all out on the field, along with being a fun kid to be around off the field. There are a couple of years of age between us, but he’s one of my better friends here in Lowell and he is fun to watch. He’s one of those guys you can’t help but like.

CM: What are your plans for the off-season? Do you know if you’ll be around in the fall?
: I don’t know for sure yet, but when I was drafted I was told to be ready to be around for Fall Instruction. So, whatever happens, when I am done I am going to head back to Texas and start to workout.

CM: What is the plan going forward? Starting or relieving?
AW: The biggest thing for me right now is to get a better feel for my change-up and have some better control with it. Getting a feel for the pitch is only going to benefit me going forward. That’s what I am trying to work on here and that is going to be a key addition this off-season. Moving forward, I have been told to expect to stay as a starter and that is where I’d like to be, so I’m working on doing that.