Brian Wilson‘s exploits rub a lot of people the wrong way. Brian Wilson’s beard and Brian Wilson’s oddball behavior eclipsed Brian Wilson’s baseball production about halfway through the 2011 season.
Then, early in the 2012 season, Brian Wilson went down injured, requiring a second Tommy John surgery, ending his time with the San Francisco Giants (who won the World Series with Wilson’s beard taking up space in the dugout as he rehabbed his elbow.)
After a short but incredibly successful stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, Wilson netted hims a one-year contract with a player option for a second. Hard to believe that after facing just 49 batters in the regular season (and another 24 in the playoffs) that a player could net more than ten million guaranteed dollars.
Luckily for Brian Wilson, he has the pedigree and the stuff to warrant such a deal (and the Dodgers have the money to burn.) Wilson allowed just 12 hits in 2013, striking out 21 against just six walks and zero home runs. According to ESPN Stats & Info, he gave up just seven “well hit” balls between the regular season and playoffs.
More importantly, he looked good doing it. Wilson’s velocity was nearly back to its previous levels, averaging nearly 93 mph with his fastball and 88 mph with his slider/cutter. He keep his pitches out of the middle of the plate, the same command to the edges of the strike zone that made him so effective with the Giants.
The Dodgers are taking an expensive risk with a player who threw just 311 pitches this season. But it is a risk they can afford to take. For Wilson, the hardest part of coming back from Tommy John is over. The player option and performance bonuses give the big right-hander plenty of incentive to remain vigilant in his efforts as the Dodgers chase down a very expensive World Series title.