After drawing little attention as a seventh-round sign in 2011, Ohioan Matt Wisler flew somewhat under the radar even as he ranked among Midwest League leaders during his professional debut last year. Now, at 20 years old, the righty owns a 1.35 ERA through his first four starts in the Cal League, and more people are taking notice.
Wisler has filled out from his listed 6’3", 195, one of the reasons his four-seam fastball is sitting 93-95 this spring, with a two-seamer that is a tick below. He currently uses both a curve and a slider effectively, though he sometimes has trouble staying on top of the curve and can wind up pushing it a bit. Like many young pitchers, he’s still developing feel on his changeup, which he hadn’t used before signing.
Within the deep roster of pitching talent in the Padres organization, Wisler stands out not just for his ability, but his acumen.
I spoke with Padres pitching coordinator Mike Cather about Wisler. "Situations that come up that test him don’t usually test him more than once before he makes an adjustment and figures stuff out," Cather told me. "He understands the game, asks questions and is not afraid of looking stupid – which is often a fear for the young kids that they might ask a dumb question."
The organization is using a six-man rotation in Elsinore to help limit innings in the early going. But after he worked 114 frames last year, the club won’t be afraid to push him more aggressively as the season progresses and he could be in San Antonio soon after the All-Star break.