The Milwaukee Brewers announced Saturday that they have signed left handed pitcher Justin Wilson to a one-year deal. Wilson is coming off a Tommy John surgery and expected to miss the beginning of the season, joining Jason Alexander and Aaron Ashby on that front, but could provide the Brewers with a little bit of bullpen depth once healthy.
Wilson is 35 years old and will be entering his 12th year in the big leagues. The deal does also include a club option for the 2024 season. If Wilson pitches well when he returns from injury the Brewers could potentially get a solid relief pitcher for the next two seasons.
The Brewers motivation for adding Wilson likely stems from the lack of bullpen depth after the offseason departures of Taylor Rogers, Trevor Gott, Brad Boxberger and Brent Suter.
What does Justin Wilson bring to the Milwaukee Brewers?
Justin Wilson appeared in just five games for the Cincinnati Reds in 2022 but appeared in 42 games in 2021. Wilson started the 2021 season with the New York Yankees and struggled in his first 21 appearances, recording a 7.50 ERA.
In July of 2021 Wilson was traded to the Reds and had a stellar finish to the season. Wilson appeared in 21 games with the Reds in the final months of the 2021 season, Wilson put up a very respectable 2.81 ERA, notching 14 strikeouts and allowing seven walks over 16.0 innings, with an ERA+ of 86.
Over the course of his long career, Wilson has pitched for six different teams, three of them are in the NL Central, the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and aforementioned Cincinnati Reds, so Wilson does have some familiarity with the division.
In his 11 years in Major League Baseball, Wilson has respectable numbers, having made 527 relief appearances in his career, Wilson sports a 3.41 ERA, 510 career strikeouts and 210 walks.
According to Baseball Savant, Justin Wilson is very good at not allowing hard contact. Since tracking started in 2015, Wilson's average exit velocity has been below 90 MPH every season except his injury shortened 2022 season. Looking at his batted ball profile, Wilson gets more players to ground out and pop up and allows fewer line drives than the MLB average since tracking began in 2015.
Where do Justin Wilson's numbers stand compared to the Milwaukee Brewers current bullpen pitchers?
Justin Wilson over his career has a 1.285 WHIP, compared to the rest of the Milwaukee Brewer's bullpen from last season, that number would have put him in similar territory as some of the Brewers solid pitchers. Brad Boxberger, Peter Strzelecki, Eric Lauer, Jandel Gustave, Taylor Rogers, all were near that same WHIP.
His 3.41 ERA fits below Hoby Milner, Brent Suter, Luis Perdomo, Jandel Gustave, Miguel Sanchez, Trevor Gott and even Josh Hader from the 2022 season.
Justin Wilson, once fully recovered from his surgery, may be a solid 6th or 7th inning pitcher as guys like Hoby Milner and Devin Williams move back towards the end of games when stakes are higher.