Cole Wilcox, is a right-handed pitcher out of the University of Georgia. Wilcox is from Chickamauga, Georgia, and he stands six feet, five inches tall, weighing 232 pound. He attended Heritage High School in Ringgold, Georgia where he played basketball, football, and baseball. Wilcox ultimately ended up agreeing to play baseball at the University of Georgia as a freshman in high school.
The Washington Nationals selected Wilcox in the 37th round of the 2018 MLB Draft. Wilcox declined and chose to go to play baseball for the Georgia Bulldogs. Wilcox is now the 23rd-ranked prospect according to MLB.com.
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Cole Wilcox is an overpowering fastball. Wilcox’s fastball sits in the mid 90’s, hitting triple digits, on occasion. His fastball is rated as a 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale. Alongside his overwhelming fastball, Wilcox features an above average changeup and slider. The changeup sits at 60 on the 20-80 scale while the slider sits at a 55.
His biggest strength is his strikeout ability. During his senior season in high school, Wilcox went 9-2 with a 1.59 and 95 strikeouts over 65 and 2/3 innings.
Over two seasons in college, Wilcox went 6-2 with a 3.38 ERA over 82.2 innings pitched. Over those two seasons, Wilcox showed extreme strikeout potential with a 10.5 K/9.
During the 2020 collegiate season alone, Wilcox pitched 23 innings and struck out 32 batters. Those numbers equate to a 12.5 K/9.
Ian Smith of Prospect 365 commented on Wilcox’s ability:
“He possesses a flamethrower build and is surprisingly athletic at 6-foot-5, 240 lbs,” Smith said. Leans on two plus pitches in the fastball and slider, with the fastball often sitting at 97-99 mph. Another sophomore eligible player in this year’s class, Wilcox only has 10 starts under his belt in his collegiate career, but he’s shown the most potential in that role.”
Despite possessing great strikeout stuff, Wilcox is still learning to control/command it. In 82.2 collegiate innings pitched, Wilcox allowed a whopping 40 walks. 40 walks in 82.2 innings equates to a 4.4 BB/9.
These types of command issues are fixable, but can hinder an entire career. If Wilcox has trouble finding the zone, he may never be able to stay in a MLB rotation. With his excellent arsenal Wilcox will be able to, at the very least, be able to stay in a MLB bullpen.
If Wilcox is able to develop his command, he will be an excellent Major League pitcher. Especially because all three of his pitchers are already above average.
Although Wilcox is currently a starter, a good comparison for him is New York Mets reliever Edwin Diaz. Both pitchers possess excellent pitching ability with multiple plus pitches, on the other hand, both pitchers struggle with command.
In 2018, Diaz was at his best, pitching 73.1 with a 15.2 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.1 walks per nine innings. In 2019 we saw the worst of Diaz, although the strikeout rate increased to 15.4, his walk rate increased all the way to 3.4 walks per nine innings.
Wilcox could easily be the 2018 Diaz, striking out everybody while only walking about two batters per nine innings. Or he could be the 2019 Diaz, walking over three batters per nine innings. If Wilcox can gain control of the strike zone, he will be an outstanding Major League pitcher.
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