Rounding the Bases with Tyler Wilson
After earning Pitcher of the Year honors in the Great Lakes Collegiate Summer League last summer, Tyler Wilson has backed it up with a strong start in 2009 for Virginia. The right-hander from Midlothian, Va., is tied for the team lead in wins with five and has a 3.13 ERA. But he is much more than a baseball player. The ACC Academic Honor Roll selection has aspirations of becoming a doctor once his playing days are over. Today he talks with VirginiaSports.com about all of that and much more.
You made your first career ACC start two weeks ago against Maryland? What were you feeling heading into that?
Wilson: There definitely are some nerves going into a big start just because it’s your first time. I wouldn’t say I was nervous, but I was more excited to get out there and prove to my teammates that I can help this squad and be a big factor on the team. Whatever role they want me in whether it’s as a starter or in the bullpen, I hope it will carry us deep into the postseason.
What was last summer like for you?
Wilson: The summer was an absolute blast. I went with Kevin Arico, who is a really good friend of mine on the team, and we had a great time playing for a summer league team in Ohio (Delaware Cows). We went fishing a lot and worked out a lot. It was a very productive summer in the weight room and confidence-wise with the innings that I got under my belt.
The team really hit the weights hard before the season. What were you focusing on in your workouts?
Wilson: I definitely needed work in my lower half, and everywhere to be honest. I was never really big into the weights until I came to school last year. Anywhere I can get stronger would be better for me the core and the legs. It definitely has been a big help.
Tell us about the start to this year you have to feel pretty good about the strong start.
Wilson: It’s a great feeling. I can honestly say I have never been on a team that is as tightly-knit as this one. A lot of people marked us off going into the season and that gave us some fire that we needed to prove that we are a top, nationally-prominent program that can do big things in the postseason. In the fall, everyone started clicking, working hard and putting their time in not only with the team, but on their own as well.
This team seemed to click from day one. How did everyone gel so quickly?
Wilson: Coming in as a freshman last year, I had a lot of people that took me under their wing and made the transition a lot easier. We’re still a young team this year and with 11 freshmen coming in, all of us sophomores knew what it took to show them the way and that we could be a team. It’s one of those rare things where the personalities on the team and the work ethics are similar and everyone is so committed to this team. There is nobody that is selfish who takes away from the team. That is why everybody is clicking so well.
Your dad was drafted by the San Diego Padres and played in the pros. How has the helped you as you have developed?
Wilson: It definitely is a blessing. I consider him and my mom to be my best friends. I have him there to talk about situations like that. When it came time after high school to decide if maybe I did want to go pro, he had been there he went pro after high school. He has that experience and knows what that life is like. He helped me to understand just how important an education was and to come here and grow and mature. I definitely want to follow in his footsteps, but ever since I was young my folks have always been very supportive of the fact that they want me to do whatever I want. Academically, I have been very committed and I have always wanted to be a doctor. Whatever I do, they are behind me 100 percent.
What medical field are you looking toward?
Wilson: I would like to become an orthopedic surgeon, do Tommy John surgeries and stay in the game as long as I can. That is the path I am going down now. I’m a biology major, but UVa doesn’t have a pre-med major. I have to take the pre-med prerequisites with biology, physics, chemistry and organic chemistry and then fulfill my major before I apply to med school. And I am minoring in Spanish.
Wilson: I’ve taken a liking to Spanish. I feel like it could be very beneficial in the future what if I end up coaching baseball? That could help with the Latin players. With regard to being a doctor, it could help if I work at a bilingual clinic. I think there are a lot of benefits. Spanish is such an emerging language.
What is on your iPod right now?
Wilson: I am a huge country fan. My favorite by far is Sugarland. The PA system here at the stadium plays a lot of Sugarland during games, and when it comes on, everybody on the team looks at me. But overall I like a broad spectrum.
What do you like to do outside of baseball?
Wilson: I am family-oriented guy and I love to hang out with my folks. Around Grounds, I am a huge UVa fanatic and love everything about the University so we hang out a lot around here. Kevin, Packer and I go play golf occasionally. I live with John Barr, Phil Gosselin and Jarrett Parker, who are great guys and we have a lot of fun together. But this team is so close that you can’t find any one of us without five or six of us around. We have our own little brotherhood, I guess.