Continuing our coverage of Monday’s 2018 MLB Draft, here’s another high school arm for consideration: right-hander Cole Wilcox.
Wilcox attends Heritage High School in Ringgold, Georgia. There’s a lot of high school pitching in the south this year but Wilcox has been impressive enough to stand out even with competitors like Kumar Rocker and Ethan Hankins on the same draft boards.
Listed at 6-5, 220, Wilcox was born July 14th, 1999, making him one of the older preps in the class since he’ll turn 19 before the end of the summer. That’s not particularly important for a pitcher however, especially one with this kind of arsenal.
Wilcox features three pitches, beginning with a fastball at 95-95 with reported peaks at 96-98. He could add additional strength to his frame which would boost that further, or at least help him sustain the peak velocities more readily. He has a hard slider, occasionally inconsistent but a plus pitch at its best, and he’ll also mix in an advanced change-up.
That’s a starter’s arsenal and he already throws strikes with all three pitches. Like most young moundsmen Wilcox could use more consistency but he needs less work filling out his arsenal than most pitchers his age.
Not everyone likes his mechanics, Baseball America for example noting that Wilcox has a “low, three-quarter arm slot with some funk and recoil in his finish and a deep arm action in the back.” It may not be textbook but he repeats it well and to this point it hasn’t hurt his command. I don’t think his injury risk is abnormally elevated for a high school arm (which of course still means there’s significant risk just because he is a high school arm.)
Wilcox is a University of Georgia signee. Right now it sounds like he has a good shot at the first round, at least the back half of it, which would be enough to keep him from school. Some observers like him better than Hankins and Rocker, and that’s saying something special about Wilcox.
Here’s a concise preview from Steve Bernhardt at Baseball Factory. The first pitch starting at 0:26 has some interesting movement as it enters the strike zone.
Perfect Game video