Don’t blame former College of Charleston hurler Bailey Ober is his team doesn't advance to the Southern League championship in Double-A baseball.
It's better to just give credit to Clemson's Weston Wilson and his Biloxi Shuckers, an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.
The third baseman played a huge role in the Shuckers reaching the playoffs, where they're playing Ober’s Pensacola Blue Wahoos, a Minnesota Twins’ affiliate, this week in the first round.
The Shuckers are a game away from sending Wilson to the championship where he’ll compete for a title. But regardless of who advances, both he and Ober have made overwhelming cases for promotions to Triple-A to kick off the 2020 season.
The teams played late Saturday.
Tiger blood brewing
Despite a .231 average, Wilson had one of the league’s best offensive campaigns in 2019. But Tiger fans weren’t surprised.
Wilson has shown the minors his worth since he batted .318 through 62 games in the Rookie League. That was in 2016 after the Brewers took the third baseman late in the Major League Baseball draft.
Since then, Wilson has been navigating the farm system and wound up in Double-A ball for the Brewers this year. Through 127 games, the former Tiger belted 19 homers and 58 RBIs, good for fourth and 13th, respectively, in the Southern League.
He also finished top 10 in runs and walks, and was among the league’s best in hits and slugging percentage.
A great showing in the Southern League championship would go a long way toward the late round pick.
Cougar in the wild
As impressive as Wilson was in the batter’s box this season, Ober was equally as good on the mound.
He totaled one start in Rookie League, eight in Class A-Advanced and four in Double-A for Pensacola. That amounted to a ridiculous 8-0 record with a 0.69 ERA and 100 strikeouts.
Through 78.2 innings, Ober allowed only six earned runs and surrendered just nine walks while holding hitters to a .194 batting average.
Ober has a lot in common with Wilson. Both are North Carolina natives, with Ober growing in Huntersville and Wilson an hour away in High Point.
Both went to South Carolina colleges, and both were late round picks, with Ober going in the 12th of the 2017 draft and Wilson the 17th of the 2016 draft.
And both helped their squads reach the playoffs.
Now, the two stars have the same goal of reaching the majors. At this rate, it seems inevitable that they'll get there. It’s just a matter of who breaks through first.