Justin Wilson
Justin Wilson
31-Year-Old PitcherRP
Chicago Cubs
2018 Fantasy Outlook
We hear the narrative of having a setup man close to build up trade value all the time, and the Tigers pulled it off with Wilson. After tiring of Francisco Rodriguez in early May, Detroit elevated the fireballing southpaw to the ninth inning, where he racked up a dozen saves to add onto the one he recorded in early April. At the trade deadline, he was shipped to the Cubs as part of the deal that brought Jeimer Candelario to Motown. You wouldn't know Wilson throws left-handed by his splits, as he's much more effective versus righty swingers, which is odd since he's mostly a fastball-cutter pitcher, without a typical pitch to handle righties. He makes it work, parlaying a 96-mph heater into a 25 percent strikeout rate versus lefties and 26 percent mark with a righty in the box. Despite struggling with the Cubs, registering a 5.10 ERA and 2.10 WHIP with 25 strikeouts and a bloated 19 walks in 17.2 innings, Wilson enters 2018 as a key bullpen cog in Chicago, who should be in play for holds. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a one-year, $4.25 million contract with the Cubs in January of 2018, avoiding arbitration.
Could see some save opportunities
PChicago Cubs
September 14, 2018
Wilson figures to move up in the bullpen pecking order and could get some save opportunities with Pedro Strop (hamstring) expected to miss a few weeks.
Wilson has had a nice season to date, compiling a 2.92 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 67 strikeouts across 52.1 innings. As the top lefty in Chicago's bullpen, Wilson is likely to be used whenever the matchups are most advantageous rather than in a strict ninth-inning role, but he could still get a few saves here and there down the stretch. Steve Cishek, Carl Edwards Jr. and Brandon Kintzler also profile as potential replacements for Strop.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .249 264 85 27 58 11 1 6
Since 2016vs Right .205 463 128 58 83 13 4 10
2018vs Left .192 92 32 13 15 3 0 3
2018vs Right .216 136 36 20 25 5 0 2
2017vs Left .234 76 30 10 15 5 0 1
2017vs Right .170 172 50 25 25 5 2 4
2016vs Left .308 96 23 4 28 3 1 2
2016vs Right .234 155 42 13 33 3 2 4
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
Even Split
ERA on Road
Even Split
ERA at Home
Since 2016Home 3.49 1.19 84.0 12 4 6 10.4 4.1 1.0
Since 2016Away 3.48 1.46 85.1 0 9 8 12.1 4.9 0.7
2018Home 3.70 1.36 24.1 4 2 0 9.6 4.8 0.7
2018Away 2.15 1.36 29.1 0 2 0 12.9 6.1 0.9
2017Home 3.41 1.28 29.0 4 2 6 12.1 5.9 0.9
2017Away 3.41 1.31 29.0 0 2 7 12.7 5.0 0.6
2016Home 3.41 0.98 31.2 4 0 0 9.4 2.0 1.1
2016Away 5.00 1.74 27.0 0 5 1 10.7 3.3 0.7
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Stat Review
How does Justin Wilson compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
94.7 mph
Strand %
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Wilson regressed slightly in his fourth full major league season after being traded to the Tigers, yielding a 4.14 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. He was used in a similar role, making a lot of middle and late-inning appearances, and picked up 25 holds. Wilson continued to post a high strikeout rate, fanning 65 batters over 58.2 innings. Opponents hit .307 off his mid-90s fastball, so he threw a lot more cutters in 2016 after throwing 80 percent fastballs in 2015. With opponents' .340 BABIP and an uptick in HR/FB to 12.2 percent, Wilson probably suffered from some poor luck in 2016. If so, we can expect him to regress back towards his 3.10 ERA and 1.13 WHIP numbers from 2015. The Tigers re-signed veteran closer Francisco Rodriguez, so Wilson should slide into a similar role in 2016 unless Rodriguez slips up or he gets traded. Wilson's value will most likely come from being a relatively high-strikeout reliever who gets holds.
Wilson quickly slotted into a late-inning role in his first year with the Yankees, posting career best marks of 9.7 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, and a 2.69 FIP. The lefty has always been able to get out both lefties and righties, and was once again more effective against opposite-handed hitters in 2015, holding righties to a .216/.275/.318 line against. The 28-year-old was actually unlucky to not have an even better season than he did, as he suffered from a career-worst .305 BABIP. If that number comes back down in 2016, he could put up numbers more similar to his breakout 2013 campaign when he worked to a 2.08 ERA in 73.2 innings. Traded to Detroit in the offseason, Wilson will likely be inserted into a high-leverage role and could help out in formats that value holds.
A repeat of Wilson's outstanding 2013 campaign was never realistic, as he benefited greatly from a .229 BABIP and 84.9% strand rate, but the southpaw's surface numbers declined a bit more than most expected. His ERA more than doubled to 4.20, and lefties hit a combined .253/.314/.367 against him, up from .200/.266/.235 a year before. The 27-year-old's walk rate jumped, from 3.4 BB/9 to 4.5 BB/9, but so did his strikeout rate, by an even two per nine innings no less (from 7.2 K/9 to 9.2 K/9) and his xFIP only increased by a mere six points. Wilson also maintained a groundball rate above 50 percent (51.3%), and he held opposing batters to just a .209 average after the All-Star break. Now a member of the Yankees following a November trade, Wilson figures to slot in as a late-inning lefty out of the bullpen, making him of some interest to those in leagues that count holds.
Wilson exceeded expectations in 2013, going 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 73.2 innings. The 26-year-old southpaw threw a heavy 95.3 mph average fastball, but finished with just a 7.2 K/9 rate. His 59:28 K:BB rate shows his penchant for losing the strike zone at times, but a 3.4 BB/9 rate marked the first time he's been lower than 4.0 BB/9 in six pro seasons. Despite being a two-pitch pitcher, Wilson mostly started in the minors -- he struck out 138 in 135 Triple-A innings in 2012. There's always a chance Pittsburgh could try him again in the rotation. File that away, and also remember that he totaled only 6.2 innings in September, indicating that he was fatigued from a heavy early-season workload, or was dealing with some sort of injury.
Wilson, 24, pitched at Triple-A Indianapolis for the second consecutive season, improving both his ERA (4.13 to 3.78) and WHIP (1.51 to 1.16). He's got a deadly fastball (averaging 93.9 mph) and pitched in parts of two no-hitters for his club. General manager Neal Huntington saw fit to move him back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen in 2012, making his long-term role uncertain. Until Wilson improves his control -- he's got a career 4.5 BB/9 rate -- he represents a bit of a wild card. He'll fight for an Opening Day roster spot, but is more likely to make his season debut in Pittsburgh sometime during summer.
More Fantasy News
Takes loss in Game 2 of doubleheader
PChicago Cubs
September 9, 2018
Wilson (4-4) took the loss and a blown save in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader against the Nationals, allowing a run on a hit and a walk while retiring two batters.
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Picks up fourth win
PChicago Cubs
August 12, 2018
Wilson (4-3) snagged the win in Sunday's comeback win over the Nationals. He retired the only two batters he faced with one strikeout.
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Takes loss in nightcap
PChicago Cubs
July 22, 2018
Wilson (3-3) was tagged with the loss in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader with the Cardinals. He allowed two earned runs on two walks and did not retire a batter.
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Picks up win Saturday
PChicago Cubs
July 1, 2018
Wilson (2-2) picked up the win Saturday against the Twins. He pitched a scoreless inning of relief with one strikeout.
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Blows save Tuesday
PChicago Cubs
June 19, 2018
Wilson (1-2) blew the save and took the loss in Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Dodgers, allowing two earned runs on two hits and a walk over an inning of work.
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