INF/OF Stephen Wilkerson Having Fantastic 2017 Season, Cost Him All-Star Spot

In the world of minor league baseball, sometimes in a bit of a cruel twist, playing extremely well can actually cost you an All-Star spot. I'll explain that later, but Baltimore Orioles' prospect, infielder/outfielder Stephen Wilkerson is having a terrific season at the plate.

Photo: Patrick Cavey

Wilkerson, 25, was selected by the Orioles in the 8th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Clemson, and after a shaky professional debut season with Aberdeen, Wilkerson has hit pretty darn well in his time in the organization.

This season, Wilkerson began the year with the High-A Frederick Keys, which was basically repeating the level after a .251/.334/.343 season with the Keys in 2016 over 114 games (he also played three games with AA Bowie).

Repeating a level can frustrate some players enough to completely throw them off their game, but Wilkerson instead took it as a challenge.

Challenge won.

Over 41 games with the Keys, Wilkerson hit .323 with two home runs, 10 doubles, 15 RBI and scored 29 runs to go along with his robust .407 OBP.

Not only was he succeeding at the plate, but Wilkerson also showed some real versatility in the field. He played five defensive positions for the keys (1B-2, SS-1, RF-7, 2B-26, 3B-8), and posted a .950 fielding percentage or better at each of them.

With his bat scorching, and defensive versatility on full display, the Orioles promoted Wilkerson to AA Bowie in late May.

Since joining Bowie, Wilkerson has been even better at the plate. Over 18 games with the Baysox, Wilkerson is hitting .343 with four home runs, four doubles, 13 RBI and has scored 11 runs to go with a .390 OBP and a .961 OPS.

He continues to show some defensive versatility having played both third and second base with the Baysox since joining the team.

So what about that whole costing yourself an All-Star nod nonsense?

In looking at the North Division's All-Star team for the Carolina League All-Star Game (High-A), Wilkerson would have made the All-Star team, and likely would have had a good chance at starting as well. There's no doubt in my mind he would have been an All-Star had he not been promoted.

The good news for Wilkerson is that the non-All-Star bid is courtesy of being promoted to the AA level, and I am sure he would prefer that, especially with the way he has been playing.

Keep an eye on Wilkerson, especially in the Orioles organization because we all know how much Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette like defensive versatility.


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