Independent Baseball Chatter – by Bob Wirz
Aaron Wilkerson (Grand Prairie 2013-14) admits he has pitched with a chip on his shoulder much of his young career because of being overlooked for working at lower levels than he expected, but more importantly the way he is going he may soon be a marked man. Marked for the major leagues, that is.
The 6-foot-3 right-hander had his contract purchased by Boston in his second season at Grand Prairie (2014), and at the prime age of 26 is making a statement with the Red Sox.
He started on opening night of the Double-A Eastern League season for the Portland Sea Dogs, and all he did was strike out a career-high 11 while limiting Reading to two hits and a walk in 5.2 scoreless innings of the 3-1 triumph.
“It’s an honor (to start the opener),” he told MiLB.com. “Going into today and accomplishing 11 strikeouts — and it didn’t feel like 11, by no means — it was one of those where I just kind of went out, did my job and it paid off for me.”
Manager Carlos Febles told the Portland Press-Herald “He doesn’t have a lot of power but when he’s hitting is spots, he’s tough to hit.” Wilkerson’s fastball ranges from 89-91 mph. His slider is a strong secondary pitch, and his curveball or change-up serves as a complement.
“He’s got a knack for upsetting timing and fooling hitters,” added Sea Dogs pitching coach Kevin Walker. “He can throw any pitch in any count.
Wilkerson was a combined 11-3 with an earned run average under 3.00 for Class A Salem and Portland last season, then got invited to the prestigious Arizona Fall League.
“I totally expect him to have a good year (in ’16),” Walker said. “Who knows what the end of the season holds for him.”
DiFazio and the President
Vinny DiFazio made something of a name for himself during his first spring training in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ camp at Glendale, Ariz., even though he was at the minor league level. Known during his time in baseball for his humor, the major league media made such a deal of DiFazio’s impersonation of President Barack Obama that video landed on You Tube.
David Peralta Was Very Alert
American Association managers may want to tell this story to their players during training sessions.
Arizona cleanup hitter David Peralta (Amarillo 2013, Wichita 2012) makes his living–and a very good one–with his bat, but he used his intuition and hustle to help pull of an unusual double play in the Diamondback’s victory which handed the Chicago Cubs their first loss of the season.
With runners at first and third, Anthony Rizzo hit a sharp grounder to first. Dexter Fowler was caught in a rundown for one out, and when Peralta crept in from right field shortstop Nick Ahmed threw to him at first base where he tagged Rizzo to finish the twin killing.
“I was trying to get sneaky to surprise the guy and it worked for us,” Peralta told The Associated Press. “I guess it’s not normal. It doesn’t happen too often, but it worked for us. I think even the first base coach didn’t know I was there.”
Previously the chief spokesman for Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site as well as writing his own blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com.