photo credit: Tom Hagerty for Lakeland Local

Down on the Farm: Adam Wilk

PHOTO: James R. Chipman

Adam Wilk warms up in the Tigers bullpen in a game against the Houston Astros on March 12, 2011.

2010: Advanced-A Lakeland & AA-Erie

167.1 innings  11-5  2.74 ERA  1.03 WHIP  1.3 BB/9  6.1 K/9

BACKGROUND:
Adam Wilk was drafted in the eleventh round of the 2009 June MLB Amateur Draft out of Long Beach State University. The 6-foot-2, 23-year-old southpaw starting pitcher is quietly making a name for himself down on the farm.

With two seasons and 241 innings of professional ball under his belt Wilk has posted some amazing numbers. He has allowed just 11 home-runs and 31 walks while posting a 2.35 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. This spring, Wilk has pitched nine scoreless innings, striking out four.

REPERTOIRE:
Wilk features a five pitch mix that includes a 4-seam and 2-seam fastball, curve-ball, change-up and cutter. The southpaw throws from a unique almost sidearm angle that helps him create a good deal of deception.

I had the opportunity in Lakeland last season to watch several of his starts. In doing so I observed a few things beyond the numbers. While Wilk doesn’t exactly light up the radar gun his control and command are second to none in our farm system. Baseball America ranks him first and I’m inclined to agree. He is comfortable throwing anything in his arsenal regardless of the count. Wilk relies heavily on his secondary stuff and has been labeled a “junk-baller” by several scouts. Because of this  many wonder if his stuff will translate against big league hitters. However, at every level Wilk continues to post eye-popping statistics. Regardless of his lack of flashy stuff Wilk always seems to get things done.

FUTURE:
Most would agree that Wilk has a ceiling of a back of the rotation starter. I could also see him in a long reliever/mop-up role. As harsh as that sounds it’s more realistic than believing that his stuff  will continue to produce in higher levels.

That being said, Wilk continues to defy the odds and put up solid numbers at every stop. I hate to be so borderline with his projection but he is a tricky case to crack. Solely based on numbers he looks legit. Observing him in person you wonder how long he can continue to play see ball-hit ball. He has the make-up of a pitcher who you could see turning into a crafty finesse pitcher like Kenny Rogers. Yet, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit a brick-wall once the competition improves in AAA. He’s only 23 and holding his own in Spring Training so I am excited to see what Wilk can do this season.

After his brief cup of coffee with the Sea Wolves at the end of last season It’s reasonable to expect him to begin the season in AA-Erie. The hitter friendly park should give us a little more insight on what to expect from the contact pitcher-who to this point has a solid track record of keeping the ball in the park.

Keep an eye on Adam Wilk as he continues to earn his stripes down on the farm.

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