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Thoughts on Orioles prospect Tyler Wilson, an intriguing control artist

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

From the Minor League Ball Mailbag:

"Is Orioles rookie Tyler Wilson worth a fantasy investment? I know that may depend on if Duquette and Showalter decide to go all Gausman on his role and options. Aside from Oriole weirdness, what role do you think Wilson would fit best in, if any?"---Neal J., Houston, Texas

"Going Gausman." I hope that doesn't become a trendy phrase.

Tyler Wilson isn't in Gausman's class as a pitching talent but he is pretty interesting. Drafted in the 10th round from the University of Virginia in 2011, he is a 6-1, 195 pound right-hander who has seldom stood out on prospect lists but has made steady progress through the system and experienced success at each level. He went 14-8, 3.67 with a 157/43 K/BB in 167 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last year, and he's been even more effective in 2015 (2.80 ERA in 61 innings, 40/8 K/BB).

Although currently at Triple-A Norfolk, he did have some success against big league hitters during his spring trial, posting a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings, albeit with 18 hits and a 4/3 K/BB; his control was sharp but the lack of Ks and the number of hits is notable and not in a good way. Still, he made an impression with his command and more chances will come, especially given Baltimore's propensity to shuffle pitchers on and off the roster.

Stuff-wise this is a classic pitchability finesse arm: fastball at 87-92 averaging around 90, mixing in a breaking ball and change-up. The secondaries are considered average but workable and he can hit most velocity slots from the mid-70s upward to 92. He supposedly hit 94 MPH last year but didn't show that in his big league trial.

Wilson never walks anybody and does a good job eating innings. Overall this is a fifth starter profile, but that's not an insult and if you put a guy like this in front of a competent defense, good things can happen. If he's used in relief, his stuff could play up. Knowing the Orioles, he'll be used in both roles.

He's not a premium prospect, but Wilson should not be under-estimated.