Turning 27 in December, Wilhelmsen is one of the oldest players the Arizona Fall League has seen, but his circumstances are unique. A seventh-round pick by the Brewers in 2003, Wilhelmsen impressed in his pro debut, but that debut also looked like the end of his career, as after some arm problems and drug suspensions, he left the game. After starting a comeback in the independent leagues last year, he received a tryout from the Mariners this spring, and got another chance. Treating him like a freshly drafted player, Wilhelmsen pitched in the short-season leagues before finishing the year at Low-A Clinton, and after striking out nearly a batter per inning, he's at least some kind of sleeper. At six-foot-six and in possession of a fastball that can get into the mid-90s, there's physical ability here, and with 12 strikeouts in 8 1/3 Arizona Fall League innings, it's starting to show up in games as well.
Others Of Note:
- Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners (AFL: Javelinas): 2-for-5, HR (2), R, 2 RBI, K. Up to .344/.522/.625 in 10 games; Mariners hope defense improves enough to get him in the majors early next year.
- Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants (AFL: Scorpions): 3-for-5, 2B, RBI, K, CS. Starting to get hot again with eight hits in last three games; does he get the most big league at-bats at first base for the Giants next year?
- Justin DeFratus, RHP, Phillies (AFL: Solar Sox): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Features in yesterday's Ten Pack; now has ten strikeouts in five shutout innings while allowing just one hit.
- Andrew Lambo, OF, Pirates (AFL: Solar Sox): 3-for-6, HR (3), 2 R, RBI. Showed very little power in regular season, especially after trade to Pirates; up to .308/.357/.523 in Arizona.
- Lastings Milledge, OF, Pirates (VEN: Tigres): 2-for-5, 2B, R, K. On base 12 times in first five games for Aragua; needs a strong showing here and in the spring to keep getting starter's at-bats in Pittsburgh.
- Matt Rizzotti, 1B, Phillies (AFL: Solar Sox): 3-for-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB, K. Sixth round pick in '07 came out of nowhere with .343/.430/.555 season spread across three levels; needs to keep hitting as bat only prospect and has no future in Philly as 1B-only defender.
- Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (AFL: Solar Sox): 2-for-5, HR (2), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB. Third multi-hit effort in last four games; 2011 could be make-or-break seasons for upper-level prospect status.
- Josh Zeid, RHP, Phillies (AFL: Solar Sox): 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Nice sleeper with size and above-average velocity and control; projects by many as solid bullpen piece.