St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training Countdown: Six Days

michaeldavidmiles
Mar 11, 2015; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Jacob Wilson (87) throws to first during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2015; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Jacob Wilson (87) throws to first during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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We are down to six days until pitchers and catchers report to St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training, and day five of my exploration.

Having now covered a pitcher, catcher, potential first baseman/certainly outfielder, and middle infielder, I turn my attention to Bartlett’s own Jacob Wilson.

A little personal background: I watched Wilson last season and was impressed with him.  At the end of the 2015 season, I relocated my family from Arkansas to the Bartlett area.  Immediately, hometown admiration set in and I now find myself overjoyed to live in the town where Jacob originated.

Mar 2, 2015; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals infielder Jacob Wilson (87) during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2015; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals infielder Jacob Wilson (87) during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Let’s dig in… 25 year old Jacob Wilson, from Bartlett, TN (me bragging again), was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2012 season.  His entire career has been with the St. Louis Cardinals playing either second base or third base yet has not made his debut with the major squad.  He has, however, received invites to spring training in 2015 and again this year.

Offensively in his career spanning the minors and fall league play, Wilson has amassed 1,440 at-bats posting a .258 batting average.  While this might not be too flashy to some, Wilson has 89 doubles, 48 home runs, and 251 RBI.  This amounts to a career .425 slugging and .758 OPS.  Again, while not necessarily wow factors, I can personally attest to his teamsmanship (I know, not a word) and that alone impresses me.

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A quick note here before moving on: it should be noted that Wilson experienced two stints on the disabled list early in his career.  I mention this to note that these stints might have contributed to a lack in development and exposure that others at his age and playing time might have witnessed.  And, admittedly, maybe I am mollifying his numbers listed above because I like this player so much.

Looking at his defensive numbers, Wilson has posted a .977 fielding percentage when manning second base and a .947 when playing third.  He has played a total of 183 games at second base and 127 games at third.  I have had the privilege of watching him play both positions and I am most impressed with his abilities shown at third.

He definitely reminds me of a young Matt Carpenter. With only five years of age separating them, I could easily prognosticate that Jacob’s future could well look like Carpenter’s past and I, for one, and fine with that.

As I like to point out where applicable, I am not the only one enamored by Wilson.  In March of 2015, Viva El Birdos writer Eric Johnson noted Wilson as number eleven in his top twenty-five St. Louis Cardinals prospects. Johnson compares Wilson to David Freese and I don’t have any objection to that comparison at all.  My memories of watching Freese at third and Wilson at third find great similarity.

I feel the above-mentioned  comparison to Freese and my own opinions that Wilson will solidify his place in 2016 at third base should spell him a mid-season call-up if needed in St. Louis. However, as Steven McNeil mentioned in his “Top Prospects” series, he is going to need to improve his contact this season.

Even in college at the University of Memphis, his final season in 2011 showed Wilson starting every game at third further illustrating his comfort with this position.  This position is a strong potential need in future seasons in St. Louis and Wilson’s 2016 season could help make him the nature successor to Carpenter.

As I stated many times in this post, I like Jacob Wilson.  I cannot wait for the chance to cover him this season in Memphis for what promises to be his break-out season.  I like his acumen at third base, am sure he will fill in a game or two at second, and feel confident that his bat will remain a strong contributor for the offense.  Let’s hope he can stay healthy and show these things that I feel are there so that he can find his way to St. Louis and a debut this season at some point.

Next: St. Louis Cardinals’ Spring Training Countdown: Seven Days

Follow me on twitter and keep watching for a new article over these next nine days as I look at the players who excite me for the upcoming season!

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