C.J. Wilson: Reliever to Successful Starter
This article pays tribute to my favorite player in the game of baseball, Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher, C.J. Wilson. When Wilson rose to the major leagues with the Texas Rangers in 2005, he flip-flopped from starting to relieving and starting and relieving. Not something young pitchers really want to do to start their careers. Wilson was permanently made a reliever in 2006 where he enjoyed modest success coming out of the Rangers bullpen. in 2007 Wilson tried his hand at closing where he had a great season, going 12 for 14 in saves with a 3.03 ERA. In 2008, he continued to close for the Rangers but struggled in that role. He did convert 24 of 28 save opportunities but Wilson never made things easy on himself as he had an ERA over 6. In 2009, which was Wilson`s final year as a relief pitcher, he got back to some of the early career success he had out of the bullpen, putting up an ERA of 2.81 in 74 games out of the bullpen, adding 14 saves.
When the 2010 season rolled around, Wilson wanted to be a starter, and the Rangers complied with his wishes. He worked extremely hard in the off-season of 2009-2010 in order to stretch himself out to be a successful starter for the Rangers. He did not disappoint at all. Wilson had an outstanding 2010 season where he went 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA. He was instrumental in the Rangers run to the World Series and formed a very dangerous 1 and 1A type combination for the Rangers at the top of the rotation with Cliff Lee. Wilson had an outstanding first season in the starting rotation for the Rangers and the idea of having him as a full time starter truly paid off.
2011 saw Wilson have the best season of his career. He was the ace of the Texas Rangers and was truly a stopper at the top of the rotation for the Rangers and saw him earn an all-star berth for the first time in his career. Wilson finished 2011 with a 16-7 record with a 2.94 ERA, numbers which signify a true ace. Yet again, the Rangers made a run to the World Series. Unfortunately for Wilson, the playoffs were not so kind to him. He had some good games and some bad ones, but even some of the outings that were not as good, he was able to keep the Rangers in the ball game for a potential comeback. 2011 is also the first time in which I met my favorite baseball player in the MLB:
The off-season leading into 2o12 was the most eventful and media coverage off-season Wilson had ever experienced as he was the best free agent starting pitcher to hit the market. After speculation for weeks about if he would re-sign with Texas or go elsewhere, it was announced Wilson had signed with his hometown, Los Angeles Angels. December 8th, 2011 Wilson inked the 5 year, $75 million deal with the Angels and big things were expected from Wilson.
2012 saw Wilson earn yet another all-star selection, an honor that once again, was truly deserved for the veteran. Wilson entered the all-star break with a 9-5 record with a sparkling 2.43 ERA. Unfortunately for him, a blister on his finger sidelined him from pitching in the all-star game but the accolade was yet another defining moment in his transformation from a reliever to successful starter. The rest of 2012, Wilson dealt with a bummed elbow which eventually required surgery to fix in the off-season. He stumbled a bit to a 13-10 record and a 3.83 ERA at the seasons end, but again, Wilson proved he is a top of the line starting pitcher.
Now into his 4th season as a starter, Wilson has been building up strength again in his arm and as the 2013 season has gotten underway, he has improved with each start he is making. Injuries to the Angels ace Jered Weaver has put Wilson back into his familiar role as an ace, and once again is proving why he is a great starting pitcher. He has a 3-1 record with a 3.86 ERA, and as mentioned earlier, he is only improving with each and every start he makes.
C.J Wilson is a guy who often flies under the radar as a great starting pitcher in the MLB, and I wanted to share his career journey in order to highlight how he as gotten to where he is today. Wilson is not only a very good starting pitcher, but is also a great person. His career path truly highlights how he has made a great transition from an often used reliever to a very reliable, top of the rotation starter.