Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Wilk was the Tigers 11th round pick in the 2009 draft. Since signing quickly that summer he has seen nothing but success while climbing the minor league ladder; posting a cumulative 2.62 ERA across five minor league levels.
He sported a 1.47 ERA in 14 starts between Oneonta and West Michigan in 2009. His 4-1 record, 6.5 hits per nine innings, 0.9 walks per nine innings and 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings were all impressive numbers.
He continued that success with a 3.01 ERA in 24 starts for Lakeland in 2010 before earning a late season promotion to Double-A. In three starts with the Seawolves Wilk was 2-0 with a 1.14 ERA, averaging nearly eight innings per start. He allowed only ten hits and five walks over that span while striking out 14 hitters.
In 2011 the Tigers promoted Wilk to Triple-A Toledo and he continued to post successful results. In 18 starts he was 8-6 with a 3.24 ERA, 105 hits and 76 strikeouts in 102 2/3 innings of work. His most surprising number was his miniscule 14 walks or 1.2 walks per nine innings.
Wilk also made his big league debut in 2011, appearing in relief in five games for the Tigers. He gave up 14 hits in 13 1/3 innings, though all of them were singles and finished with a 5.40 ERA. His walk rate remained low (2 BB/9) and he managed to strike out ten batters.
As cliché as it is, Wilk is the typical crafty lefty. He has some of the best command of any prospect in the Tigers organization, allowing him to locate his fastball to both sides of the plate and consistently work low in the zone.
His fastball sits at 84-87 mph and will scrape 89 at times. He can move the ball a bit and will show some sink and/or run at times. The command of his fastball helps the pitch play up half a tick, but he has very little margin for error against big league hitters.
Wilk's best pitch is an above-average to plus change-up that he throws with good arm speed and from the same slot as his fastball. He can turn the pitch over to add sink or throw it with natural arm-side fade. The change-up helps him keep right-handed hitters back some.
He also throws a slurvy breaking ball that lacks sharp, deceptive bite. He gets around it too much and typically uses it as a below-average setup pitch for his fastball and change-up.
Wilk is an intelligent pitcher with a good concept of pitch sequencing and game situations.
Because of his fastball-change profile, Wilk will have to prove he can mix pitches and locate the ball well enough to work through the lineup multiple times as a starter. His lack of a quality curveball leaves him short of a lefty specialist profile and forces him toward the rotation where he is a fringy big league prospect.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP WHIP AAA
Wilk is rail thin and has never added the strength that some scouts projected he could, though that wasn't for lack of effort. Despite his frame he has been extremely durable and is capable of eating a lot of innings.
Wilk will head to big league spring training with a slim chance of breaking club with the Tigers. The Tigers insist he will be in competition for the fifth spot in the starting rotation but he would have to be lights out this spring to nab the slot.
He is most likely headed back to Triple-A to start the season and wait for an opportunity at the back of the rotation or in the middle innings out of the bullpen. Wilk has the smarts and just enough stuff to consistently get Triple-A hitters out with ease but until he is given a longer leash in the big leagues to prove his worth, he will likely garner plenty of skeptics throughout the scouting community.
TigsTown has gone social! You can now follow TigsTown.com and the TigsTown staff on Twitter and Facebook! For all the latest stories and forum updates, follow @ScoutTigers. For the latest from Managing Editor Mark Anderson, follow @TigsTownMark, and you can follow Executive Editor Paul Wezner @TigsTown. You can also find TigsTown on Facebook, just seach for TigsTown.com!