Wilson couldn’t do it. He was tagged for five runs over 5-1/3 innings in the Grapefruit League with two strikeouts, two walks and eight hits allowed. In Wilson’s last outing, Thursday against the Pirates, he lasted just two-thirds of an inning, with a two-run home run among three hits allowed.
Results aren’t everything in spring training, but the Braves apparently aren’t satisfied that Wilson has made enough progress with his off-speed pitches. Wilson’s change-up has been pretty good, and he said he was working on a slider during spring training. Developing those pitches in the minors will be key because major-league hitters have sit on his fastball, which he’s thrown 72 percent of the time per FanGraphs (the MLB average for a starting pitcher typically is about 55 percent).
Two major projection systems disagree on whether Wilson eventually will end up making a significant contribution to the big-league Braves this season. PECOTA says he'll pitch a few ineffective innings. ZiPS likes Wilson better than Newcomb and Wright. It could go either way or somewhere in between for Wilson, who has plenty of potential.
The Braves will need another starting pitcher at some point this season because that’s how it always goes. (Their improved bullpen depth means they are less likely to need help there.) Whether Wilson gets the call again could depend on how much he can polish his off-speed pitching at Gwinnett.