Eli Wilson

ELI WILSON, CATCHER
Born: July 6, 1998
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 190
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 16th Round, 484th Overall, 2019
How Acquired: Draft
College: University of Minnesota
Agent:

WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
Wilson’s father, Dan, caught in the majors for 14 years.  Eli played short and ran cross country in high school, then moved to catcher in college, so he doesn’t have a huge amount of experience there.  Baseball America refers to him as improving but a “work in progress” defensively, with an average arm.  He’s athletic and runs well, and may still have some power projection.  He was the best overall hitter on a Minnesota team that appears to have played in a low-offense environment.  As a junior he hit 294/382/453, with just an OK BB:K ratio of 25:45.  That was a slight improvement over his sophomore line of 289/379/428.  BA rated him the second best draft prospect in Minnesota, which as a far northern state obviously isn’t a baseball hotbed, and 385th overall in the draft class.

2019
R+:  234/356/366, 145 AB, 7 2B, 4 HR, 23 BB, 30 K, 1-1 SB

Wilson was the regular catcher at Bristol, showing good athleticism behind the plate and throwing out 39% of base stealers.  He just held his own at the plate, with good patience and some power.  He had a moderate platoon split, with an OPS of .784 against LHPs and .689 against RHPs.

2020
DNP

2021
A:  328/480/474, 116 AB, 8 2B, 3 HR, 31 BB, 38 K
A+:  203/299/373, 59 AB, 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 BB, 21 K
AAA:  333/500/667, 3 AB, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K

Wilson opened the season at Bradenton as the backup to Endy Rodriguez.  In the early going, though, he was the team’s best hitter and hit his way into a shared role behind the plate.  Wilson hit for a high average with some power, and drew a huge number of walks, but there was also a lot of swing and miss.  That showed up more after a promotion to Greensboro at the beginning of August.  In Greensboro, he shared time with Blake Sabol.  Wilson also caught the last game of Indianapolis’ season.  On the season overall he threw out 20% of base stealers.

2022
A+:  233/315/373, 193 AB, 5 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 18 BB, 56 K, 1-3 SB

Wilson was in a tough spot at Greensboro, as the Pirates had Henry Davis, Endy Rodriguez and Abrahan Gutierrez there at the beginning of the season.  His meager playing time increased from just 22 plate appearances in April to a still-paltry 37 in July.  He hit respectably after a 2-for-19 start in April, posting an OPS from .716 to .766 in the next three months.  Finally, with Davis and Rodriguez both gone, he got to play semi-regularly and put up 312/368/475 line in August, although he followed that by going 1-for-23 in September.  Wilson started just 22 games behind the plate, none before late June.  Prior to then he mostly played third, where he hadn’t played before, even in college.  When he caught he did well, throwing out 31% of base stealers.  He had a huge home road split, with an OPS of .848 at home and .548 on the road, so the Greensboro ballpark probably aided him.

Wilson is a capable catcher with some offensive upside, but he’s gotten stuck in the midst of what’s turned out to be a lot of catching depth.  With Endy Rodriguez and Blake Sabol in AAA, and Henry Davis maybe reaching there soon, he could get more of a chance in 2023.

CONTRACT INFORMATION
2023: Minor league contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $125,000
MiLB Debut: 2019
MLB Debut:
MiLB FA Eligible: 2025
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2022
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 11, 2016: Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 37th round, 1107th overall pick.
June 5, 2019:
Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 16th round, 484th overall pick; signed on June 12.