Never give up!
It’s been over nine years since Jacob Wilson made his professional debut in the minor leagues, and since then he’s come to the plate over 3,700 times at various levels of competition and in multiple countries. His 31st birthday is next week.
On Tuesday, he finally earned his first career MLB hit.
Wilson was picked in the 10th round of the 2012 draft by the Cardinals and spent a half-dozen years touring their farm system, then moved to the Nationals organization for a couple seasons and later played a stint in Korea. The Oakland A’s picked him up last winter and stashed him in Triple-A, where he played great for Las Vegas, and a couple weeks ago he got his first call-up to the majors.
- Wilson, 2021 AAA: .288/.385/.630, 138 wRC+, 14 HR, 11.9% BB, 19.7% Ks
Two days later, on July 10, Wilson made his MLB debut off the bench, and the day after that he started in left field. But he went hitless in his first three at-bats, and then had to wait through the All-Star break for his next opportunity.
That chance came Tuesday. Wilson started again, this time at second base against lefty Jose Suarez and the Angels. Suarez retired the lineup in order the first time through, including Wilson on a groundout, but in the 6th inning they met again. Wilson led off the frame and worked a 2-2 count, then got a changeup on the outside corner and drilled a hard grounder up the middle. It ricocheted off the mound on the way past, but that didn’t slow the 99.9 mph exit velocity enough for any infielders to catch up with it. Clean single!
First Major League hit for Jacob Wilson pic.twitter.com/I0T7zsp1jo
— A’s on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 20, 2021
It turned out to be quite a meaningful hit, as it sparked a three-run rally. The next batter was pegged by a pitch, followed by a sac bunt to move them both up, and then a sac fly and clutch double combined to drive home three runners. However, Wilson himself didn’t get to cross the plate, as Tony Kemp had already replaced him as a pinch-runner, so he’ll have to keep waiting for his first career run scored in the majors.
That rally turned a 1-0 lead into a 4-0 margin, en route to a 6-0 victory. Wilson!
Jacob Wilson, who was called up to replace an injured Chad Pinder, said he got a long text from Pinder talking about how excited he was for him: “To go play his role and get a text from him after that game really meant a lot to me. How excited he was to see me make my debut.”
— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) July 20, 2021
How long has Wilson waited and worked toward this moment? The 2012 draft is when the A’s chose Matt Olson out of high school, and it’s when they picked Max Muncy (the first one). When Wilson was coming up through St. Louis’ system, he was often teammates with Nick Martini, another long-time minor leaguer who later got his first MLB hit in an A’s uniform as an old rookie — back in 2018.
- Wilson, MLB career: 1-for-5, single
That batting line might not look like much on its own, but it took over 900 professional games to achieve. Regardless of what else happens in his career, he’s forever on the board in the hit column. Congrats!
Wilson is the third A’s player to register his first career hit this summer, after Ka’ai Tom in April and Luis Barrera in May. Meanwhile, Skye Bolt and Frank Schwindel each already had an MLB hit before this year, but they both blasted their first career homers. Reliever Domingo Acevedo also made his MLB debut in June.