Wilson soaks up the spring

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. –- After starting literally from scratch, Mets prospect Andy Wilson appears to be getting the hang of catching.

Wilson, a 25-year-old who won the organizational award as the top player last year at Class-A St. Lucie, has added duty behind the plate to his repertoire.

Wilson spent much of the Arizona Fall League receiving pitchers for the Grand Canyon Rafters, and though he still hasn't earned status as a full-fledged catcher just yet – Wilson believes his first taste of the Major Leagues will come as a utility player – it's coming along.

"I'm a better catcher now," Wilson said. "And I was a better catcher at the start of that league than in Spring Training. I feel like I keep getting better and keep improving. I feel like every day that goes by, I get better and better at it."

A Stetson University product, Wilson caught, played first base and the outfield last year for St. Lucie, batting .284 with 28 home runs and 89 RBI. The performance earned him a spot in the Mets' Major League camp this spring.

"It's pretty much what I thought it was going to be," Wilson said. "It's pretty cool to be in the same locker room as all these big stars that are here. It's pretty neat to come over and share that experience for a couple weeks, however long it lasts."

Wilson has a handle on the fact that he won't be going north with the team this spring. However, he should be headed north – at his advanced age, Wilson still has yet to get his first at-bat in Double-A (though he did notch seven at-bats at Triple-A Norfolk last September, earning raves from manager Ken Oberkfell, who also managed Wilson's AFL club).

The taste of Double-A should come this season with Binghamton of the Eastern League, where Wilson will have a chance to show off the power bat that he believes will take him through the organization.

"I just want to go out there and work hard, and let the chips fall where they may," Wilson said. "I'm going to go out and have a good season, no matter where that is."

For now, the road leads through Tradition Field, where Wilson says he is watching players who have already been where he hopes to go.

"I think it shows you a little bit about professionalism and how to go about your business every day," Wilson said. "You get ready and prepare for your day at work and go about it like it's a job. You can learn a lot from the veterans watching how they do things."


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