Brooks Wilson. Among all the highly rated Braves pitching prospects, it’s a name you might not have heard. Atlanta’s 20th ranked prospect has been overlooked by most fans to this point in his career. But at every stop he’s made, Wilson has shown himself to be capable of anything.
After a dominant season as a high school senior, where he had a .493 batting average and a 1.02 ERA on the mound, Wilson chose to go to Stetson University. It was there where his career blossomed. In his Freshman year of college, the right-handed pitcher had a 4.29 ERA while being named to the Freshman All-American team. Both Wilson’s Sophomore and Junior seasons saw him obtain a sub-3.10 ERA. To this point in his collegiate career, Wilson had displayed his poise and calm presence on the mound. The Texas Rangers recognized this, drafting the then 21-year-old with a 24th round pick in 2017.
Rather than join the Rangers, Wilson stayed with the Hatters for his Senior season. It was a wise decision. After being a starter for his three previous seasons at Stetson, he was transferred to the closer role, where he proved to be an elite bullpen arm. During the season, the Lakeland, Fla. native’s draft stock ballooned. He was a first team All-American and the ASUN Player of the Year before the Braves drafted him in the 7th round of the 2018 draft.
Although Wilson has never been known for devastating stuff or velocities in the high 90s, he has always been consistent. Given how some of the Braves pitching prospects have fared, that is an extremely valued quality. Wilson shot up the minor league ranks, logging a 2.24 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 165 innings. His rise in the prospect rankings came in 2021 when he turned heads with a nasty splitter that he threw with more frequency, leading to an eye-popping 15 strikeouts per nine innings. It’s become evident he’s close to being major-league ready. Atlanta’s surplus of relievers will makes that more difficult; however, recent injuries might have just paved a path for him to begin the season with the Braves.
With Luke Jackson dealing with forearm tightness and other relievers Kirby Yates and Jay Jackson also on the IL, Wilson would be a fantastic addition to an already loaded bullpen. For that to happen, the Braves would have to part ways with an arm like Sean Newcomb or Tyler Thornburg, but I don’t think that’s out of the question. Newcomb has really struggled this Spring, and it might be time for the Braves to finally cut ties. A change of scenery could do him wonders.
Regardless, the future of Brooks Wilson and the Atlanta bullpen is bright. Even if he doesn’t break into the MLB this season, there are plenty of opportunities down the road. Personally, I believe that Wilson is one of the more underrated prospects in Atlanta’s farm system. He deserves more hype than he gets, whether he throws 100 mph or not.