Andy Wilson Isn't The Everyday Catcher Yet

In order for Andy Wilson to get more time at the plate, he's learning how to play behind it. A jack of all trades defensively, Andy is shaking his utility player and designated hitter appeal by becoming a master at catching. But while that's the plan, Wilson still hasn't been tabbed as the everyday catcher for Binghamton just yet.

Andy Wilson spent some of 2005 and all of Spring Training learning to play behind the plate, a move he and coaches have agreed to make in order to get the slugger more at-bats.

The 26-year-old Florida native has showed promise with the bat, slugging 28 home runs and driving in 89 runs while batting .284 for St. Lucie last year. He's shown discipline as well, drawing about as many walks in 2005 as strike outs, leading to a pleasingly high on-base percentage.

Starting the season with AA Binghamton this year, Wilson still has some work to do before he'll earn the B-Mets starting job. According to his coaches, however, he's made impressive strides toward being the every day backstop.

"In spring training, he caught a few games few games, and he did a very good job at it," said Binghamton manager Juan Samuel. "I think we expect him to keep improving at it."

Surprisingly, its been the physical parts of catching that have been hardest for Wilson to catch on to. Although he's still learning how to block the plate efficiently, he's impressed his coaches with how well he's been able to call games.

"He's got a good feel for the game. He's a pretty smart cookie," said pitching coach Mark Brewer, who said he had no apprehensions going into Wilson's first regular season AA-start as a catcher on Sunday. He attributes Andy's success putting down signs as a product of him being such a good hitter.

"Hitters sitting behind home plate, calling the game, have a pretty good understanding of how to approach hitters," said Brewer. Wilson agreed.

"You put down the signs you wouldn't want see in that situation as a hitter yourself," he said, "and if the pitcher executes, it's going to be a good deal."

It remains unclear as to how far Wilson is from earning the everyday responsibilities over Yunir Garcia, who has been an inconsistent hitter throughout his career.

"As the year goes by we're going to monitor his progress and take it from there," said Samuel. Wilson estimated he'd be catching some 80 games this season with Binghamton, barring any injuries or setbacks.

Game time experience is clearly the final element to Andy Wilson's transformation into a full-time catcher at this point.

"Some of the things that he has to still learn are more situation pitching than anything else," said coach Brewer.

The way that he's been hitting the ball, it is likely that Wilson will also see significant time as the team's designated hitter, and who knows if injuries will force him into making spot starts in the field. Though he's yet to launch a long ball in 2006, he's surely picking up where he left off in 2005, spraying base hits into right field in his first two at-bats Sunday.

"I'm just trying to be solid behind the plate defensively, and go out and have a good year offensively," said Andrew Wilson of his new position. "It's a quick way to the big leagues they say, so I'm excited about the opportunity to do it."

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\nAndy Wilson spent some of 2005 and all of Spring Training learning to play behind the plate, a move he and coaches have agreed to make in order to get the slugger more at-bats.
\r\n
\r\nThe 26-year-old Florida native has showed promise with the bat, slugging 28 home runs and driving in 89 runs while batting .284 for St. Lucie last year. He's shown discipline as well, drawing about as many walks in 2005 as strike outs, leading to a pleasingly high on-base percentage.
\r\n
\r\nStarting the season with AA Binghamton this year, Wilson still has some work to do before he'll earn the B-Mets starting job. According to his \r\ncoaches, however, he's made impressive strides toward being the every day backstop.
\r\n
\r\n\"In spring training, he caught a few games few games, and he did a very good job at it,\" said Binghamton manager Juan Samuel. \"I think we expect \r\nhim to keep improving at it.\"
\r\n
\r\nSurprisingly, its been the physical parts of catching that have been hardest for Wilson to catch on to. Although he's still learning how to \r\nblock the plate efficiently, he's impressed his coaches with how well he's been able to call games.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got a good feel for the game. He's a pretty smart cookie,\" said pitching coach Mark Brewer, who said he had no apprehensions going into \r\nWilson's first regular season AA-start as a catcher on Sunday. He attributes Andy's success putting down signs as a product of him being \r\nsuch a good hitter.
\r\n
\r\n\"Hitters sitting behind home plate, calling the game, have a pretty good understanding of how to approach hitters,\" said Brewer. Wilson agreed.
\r\n
\r\n\"You put down the signs you wouldn't want see in that situation as a hitter yourself,\" he said, \"and if the pitcher executes, it's going to \r\nbe a good deal.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt remains unclear as to how far Wilson is from earning the everyday responsibilities over Yunir Garcia, who has been an inconsistent hitter \r\nthroughout his career.
\r\n
\r\n\"As the year goes by we're going to monitor his progress and take it from there,\" said Samuel. Wilson estimated he'd be catching some 80 games this season with Binghamton, barring any injuries or setbacks.
\r\n
\r\nGame time experience is clearly the final element to Andy Wilson's transformation into a full-time catcher at this point.
\r\n
\r\n\"Some of the things that he has to still learn are more situation pitching than anything else,\" said coach Brewer.
\r\n
\r\nThe way that he's been hitting the ball, it is likely that Wilson will also see significant time as the team's designated hitter, and who knows if injuries will force him into making spot starts in the field. Though he's yet to launch a long ball in 2006, he's surely picking up where he left off in 2005, spraying base hits into right field in his first two at-bats Sunday.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm just trying to be solid behind the plate defensively, and go out and have a good year offensively,\" said Andrew Wilson of his new position. \"It's a quick way to the big leagues they say, so I'm excited about the \r\nopportunity to do it.\"
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