Former NC State quarterback and current Asheville second baseman, Russell Wilson, is at a crossroads. His first month of the season didn’t go particularly well and his college football coach recently informed him that he is no longer welcome at NC State. Apparently, the thought of retiring from football didn’t sound appealing to Wilson because earlier this week he announced that he intends to play football for someone this fall. Whether that’s in the SEC or Canadian League remains to be determined.
Prior to this season, I had Russell ranked as the 20th best prospect in the Rockies’ system. He is a tremendous athlete, but very raw. I was hoping that by focusing on baseball alone, Wilson would develop. However, I can’t blame him for wanting to keep his options open. He’s only twenty-two and the allure of one more big time college football season would be appealing to anyone. That’s especially true when compared to the long bus rides and sparse crowds of the minor leagues.
Since being drafted by the Rockies, Wilson has 225 plate appearances. You can’t make any final determinations from a sample size that small, but he has not found much success. He’s hitting .225 with a miniscule .374 slugging percentage.
Assuming Wilson finds a new place to play football, he’ll probably have to report in July. That’s going to throw a bit of a kink in his development. But, like I said, you can’t fault him for not being ready to give up college football. Honestly, it’s not fair of anyone — including Tom O’Brien — to expect him to make such a tough call at the age of twenty-two.
Players of the Week
Cabrera, a twenty-three year-old lefty, has spent the last three seasons bouncing between the Dominican Summer League, Casper, and Tri-City. This year he is finally gaining some traction. Actually, he’s excelling. Impressively, he’s struck out forty-four hitters in thirty-two innings while only surrendering two walks.
On Saturday, Cabrera started against Greenville and had twelve Ks in seven innings. He’s a little old for his current level, but his combination of stuff and control has been impressive.
I’ve said this a hundred times and I’m going to keep saying it: Chad Bettis is Modesto’s best starter and probably their top prospect. Yes, I am aware that Nolan Arenado plays for the Nuts. I really like Chad’s repertoire. His fastball is electric with nice late movement. Reportedly, his change-up is a work in progress. The development of that pitch will likely determine whether he becomes a starter or a reliever.
On Tuesday, Chad threw six innings and struck out eleven hitters while only surrendering one run.
Last week, I named Nicasio the player of the week for Tulsa. I commented on his impressive FIP and high strike out rate — both best in the Texas League. At the time I labeled him as one of the fastest rising pitching prospects in all of baseball. Then, on Sunday, he threw a weather aided complete game shut-out. In just 6.2 innings of work, he struck out ten batters and only walked one. I’m starting to get very excited about Nicasio.
It’s good to see Junior have a nice week. He may not have much of a future with the Rockies, but he’s a solid guy. Plus, it had to be a slap in the face when the Rox traded for second baseman Brad Emaus. With the emergence of Jonny Herrera, EY’s path to the majors is blocked for the foreseeable future. As the trade deadline approaches, it’s a safe bet that his name will be the subject of rumors. Over the last week, he’s hitting .333/.448/.667 with two doubles, three triples, five walks, and two stolen bases.