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Braves NRI In-Depth: Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson will attempt to earn a job on Atlanta's bench in Spring Training.  (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Josh Wilson will attempt to earn a job on Atlanta's bench in Spring Training. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
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Josh Wilson has had a long, interesting career. Originally a 3rd round pick of the Marlins out of high school in 1999, he made his Major League debut with the Fish in 2005, going 1-10 in a September cup of coffee. After that, his journey as a Four-A player began. He was traded to the Rockies in the offseason, spending all of 2006 with AAA Colorado Springs, before becoming a Minor League free agent. In 2007, he signed with the Nationals and made the team out of Spring Training, playing in 15 games before being claimed off waivers by the Devil Rays. The Rays actually gave him a chance to play, as he started 73 of the 90 games he played with the team, seeing time mostly at second base, but also playing some shortstop, hitting .251 with a .644 OPS.

Despite his work with the Rays, Wilson found himself on the waiver wire again, with the Pirates selecting him and sending him to AAA Indianapolis to start 2008. Later in the season, he was traded to the Pawtucket, Boston's AAA affiliate, and again he became a free agent at the end of the season. The Diamondbacks signed him prior to the 2009 season and he managed to play 15 games with AAA Reno and 11 with Arizona before he was claimed off waivers by the Padres. After 16 games with San Diego, he went on waivers again, this time claimed by the Mariners, and he spent time with both Seattle and AAA Tacoma before the year was over.

The Mariners actually kept him over the offseason, and in 2010 he spent most of the season with Seattle, hitting .227 with a .572 OPS, starting 95 of his 108 games at shortstop, though he still managed to spend 20 games with AAA Tacoma. Again, being a starter wasn't enough to keep his job, as the Mariners released him at the end of Spring Training in 2011. He was almost immediately signed by the Diamondbacks, appearing in 16 games with AAA Reno and 6 games with Arizona before the Brewers claimed him off waivers. He finished the year in Milwaukee, hitting .227 with a .626 OPS in 54 games. He became a Minor League free agent at the end of the year, and signed a Minor League contract with the Braves in November.

Over the course of his 13 year playing career, Wilson, who will turn 31 right at the end of Spring Training, has played with 7 different Major League teams, and in 9 different Major League organizations, compiling a slash line of .227/.279/.318/.597 in 1012 plate appearances over 356 games in 5 seasons. He has appeared in 227 games at shortstop, 47 at second base, 31 games at third base, 4 at first base, 3 in left field, and has even pitched in 3 games.

Wilson will enter Spring Training this year with an outside chance to win a job on Atlanta's bench, with fellow Minor League signee Drew Sutton and Brandon Hicks as his main competitors. Wilson's main advantage in that competition is his experience, as he has more than double the at bats in the Majors than Sutton and Hicks combined. Wilson is a solid, if unspectacular defender, with a strong, accurate arm, capable of handling himself all around the infield. He has little upside with the bat, and his chances as a starter have shown he's not capable of handling that role for an extended period. He never showed much more than average pop or speed at any point in his career, so he's more or less the epitome of an average baseball player all around. That's not a bad thing though, particularly when looking at a player who might fill the final spot on the roster. Still, if the Braves decide that the combination of Jack Wilson and a roving Martin Prado is enough to fill their backup infield needs, and choose to go with an outfielder like Jose Constanza for the final roster spot, Wilson will have to take his experience to AAA Gwinnett and wait for an opportunity to open for him. Of course, given his history, there's a high likelihood one will.

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