SoxProspects News

April 4, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Wilson ready for first full season as reliever


PAWTUCKET, R.I. - For the first time since the Red Sox selected him in the second round of the 2009 draft, Alex Wilson enters a season knowing he'll be used exclusively as a reliever.

With this knowledge in his possession during the offseason, Wilson, the top ranked reliever on SoxProspects.com, decided to tailor his workout regime to prepare for the role.

"Coming into this year knowing I was going to be a reliever, I changed my workout program a little bit. I made it more power-intensive," the righty said at PawSox Media Day on Tuesday.

 "Hopefully it'll allow me to stay strong through the inning, and be able to come out more frequently without so many days in between."

Last season, Wilson worked back-to-back games just twice after he was converted to a reliever on April 24, and was primarily used only after three days' rest. That rest allowed him to be successful in his first go-around as a reliever, posting a 3.42 ERA in 40 games (three starts) and striking out more than a better per inning with Pawtucket. Now, he'll attempt to take the final step in that transition to the bullpen.

"That's my goal, to be involved in the game every day if I can be. Something to where I can pitch as much as possible," continued Wilson, who currently sits at 16 in the SoxProspects.com prospect rankings.

Maintaining consistency is a critical part in working consecutive nights out of the bullpen. It's especially imperative when a pitcher possesses a limited repertoire like Wilson, who mainly uses his fastball-slider combination to dispatch hitters. The fastball sits around 92-94 mph and tops out at 96 mph, while the slider can have a tight break at 81-84 mph, and he also mixes in a below-average 83-86 mph changeup.

Wilson attempted to address his consistency issues during spring training, while he also focused on using his changeup more often to play off the effective fastball-slider combo. The results of his work are still to be determined, but he's confident that the effort he put forth during the spring will yield positive results.

"[I worked on] just being consistent," said the Texas A&M product on his spring. "I know a big thing for me is getting my fanners out and using my changeup. I really tried to focus on that this spring. I think I did a pretty good job with it, and we'll just try to keep it going."

Wilson's offseason and spring work in addition to his improved comfort in the bullpen have him excited for this upcoming season, one that could mark his major-league debut either during the summer or in September.

"Now that I got a year under my belt, the comfort level is definitely there," he said. "It's something that I'm used to again, so I'm looking forward to being [in the bullpen] all year this year. I'm excited for it."

Photo Credit: Alex Wilson by Kelly O'Connor 

Kevin Pereira is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @kevinrpereira.

 
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