29. Kyle Wilcox, RHP
The path towards the big leagues for this former 6th round pick has not been an easy one. Drafted out of Bryant University, the Mariners toyed with the idea that Wilcox had the raw stuff to be a starter, giving him a shot to do so for Clinton in his first full season of pro baseball. It was a disaster.
He made just 9 starts before being permanently moved to the pen, walking 68 batters in 76 innings. He has since gone to work on refining mechanics and has shown significant growth with his command.
Scouts gush over Wilcox’s dynamic fastball that sits in the 93-96 range, as well as his athleticism. His breaking ball also flashes plus, giving him 2 legitimate, big league pitches. Wilcox uses these pitches to miss a ton of bats, posting 250 strikeouts in 190 minor league innings, including 94 strikeouts in 58 innings in 2018.
Unlike Delaplane, Wilcox is a flyball pitcher who isn’t afraid to pitch at the top of the zone. He got some seasoning in High A Modesto at the end of the year and will likely be headed back there to start 2019.
Relievers like Wilcox can rise up the ranks fast. His fastball/slider combo give him an excellent chance to break the 25 man roster sometime in 2020. If he can continue to refine his command more, a future as a high leverage reliever could well be in the cards.
The difference between Delaplane and Wilcox was razor thin, and the two are essentially a coinflip tandem. Delaplane is the safer bet to reach the big leagues, but Wilcox has significant upside in his profile.