Alex Wilson followed up stellar 2014 and 2015 seasons with a solid 2016, putting up a 2.96 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 73 innings and notching 14 holds in the process. He's still a low-strikeout option, however, with a 6.0 K/9. Wilson's heavy use of his cutter gave him meaningful reverse splits, holding lefties to a .235 average compared to a .256 against righties. Versatility is part of the reason Wilson has been used so heavily by the Tigers the past two seasons, as he's thrown 143 innings between 2015 and 2016. The Tigers picked up veteran closer Francisco Rodriguez's contract for another year, although Wilson probably didn't have a good shot at closing regardless . A righty whose fastball sits in the low 90s and doesn't strike out many hitters, Wilson doesn't fit the bill of a prototypical closer anyway. He could have value as a low-ERA reliever in leagues that reward holds, but only in very deep leagues.
Wilson said he's fine after taking a comebacker to the eye in Sunday's win over the Indians, Evan Woodbery of MLive.com reports. Wilson was able to toss to first to record the out on the play, but he had to pause briefly afterward because his eye was watering so much. "Honestly, it wasn't so much the pain," Wilson said. "I just couldn't see out of it." The Tigers have an off day Monday, and it appears Wilson should be good to go when the team begins a series in Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Wilson recorded his second hold of the season Sunday, pitching a scoreless inning in a win over the Indians. He didn't allow a hit and struck out two. Wilson has his season ERA down to 3.00, and he should continue to be a decent source of holds in the middle of the Detroit bullpen.
Wilson agreed to a one-year, $1.175 million contract with the Tigers on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports. The right-hander was successful throughout most of the year -- outside of a pair of blowups in May. Wilson bumped his strikeout rate back up, although the strikeouts came with more walks and fewer groundballs. He's somewhat relevant in leagues that count holds after finishing with 14 last season, but his role in the middle innings doesn't lend itself well to mixed-league prominence.
Wilson credits two minor mechanical adjustments -- a slight adjustment to his arm angle and another to the grip on his cutter -- to turn around a dismal first half of the season. Wilson struggled with inherited runners in the first half of the season. But dropping his arm slot to a three-quarter angle and gripping his slider directly over the seams have made Wilson a real asset out of the pen in the second half. He's being used in a variety of situations and as early as the fifth inning. Wilson is worth monitoring and may become a value add off the wire if manager Brad Ausmus starts using him in a more set, late-inning role rather than in his current Jack-of-all-trades approach.
Wilson has a 3.93 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 34.1 innings this season. He has struck out 27 and walked 10. Wilson continues to pitch in low-leverage situations for the Tigers and he is nothing more than a innings muncher. He's decidedly hittable -- his last outing included four hits and three strikeouts in 1.2 innings. Wilson is down the bullpen pecking order, behind eighth-inning man Justin Wilson and potential seventh-inning hurlers Bruce Rondon, Kyle Ryan and Shane Green. And that makes him decidedly unownable in most formats.
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