Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Pitcher CJ Wilson
Christopher John “CJ” Wilson was born on November 18, 1980 in Newport Beach, CA. He is a professional baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Attended high school in Fountain Valley in Fountain Valley, CA and attended his college at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. After graduating high school, Wilson went undrafted. Instead, he was offered walk-on roles at Division I universities. In the end, he chose to attend Santa Ana Junior College. “Realistically, I was physically behind and couldn’t compete at the D1 level yet. Don Sneddon and his coaching staff at Santa Ana really gave me the chance to work my way into maturity by emphasizing self-discipline. I wanted to be a Major Leaguer and knew I could do it with the right amount of work and focus. ”
After two very productive seasons at Santa Ana JC, the young pitcher got a scholarship offer from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He took the offer and transferred to Fountain Valley believing it would positively impact his chances for the June Draft. His standout performance that year earned him MVP honors in the Orange Empire Conference and California Junior College Co-Player of the Year, thought he still went undrafted.
The sinistral pitcher decided to apply himself in his academics, juggling daily practice while actively making an effort in his passion, film. He took a hefty course load in his major, screenwriting, and attended classes with well known actors, writers, and directors.
He was finally drafted in the 5th round of the 2001 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers. He was scouted by Tim Fortugno, who also resided in Huntington Beach. “Tim believed in me and took a chance on me. It was the happiest day of my life. ”
The next few years, Wilson started off by flying through the Minor Leagues, starting the 2001 season in Pulaski of the Appalachian League, afterwards being promoted to Single-A with the Savannah Sand Gnats. He moved through High-A Charlotte (Florida State League) and into Double-A Tulsa (Texas League) by late 2002. His exceptional start was not without faults, however, as he encountered several major obstacles, namely:
2001 – Promoted from rookie ball to low-A ball mid season, then suffered stress fracture in leg.
2002 – From High A ball All-Star to complete game playoff win in AA.
2003 – AA ace to open the season, Tommy John Surgery in August.
2004 – Missed entire season, setbacks from surgery including nerve damage.
Wilson’s real breakthrough season came in 2007 when he became the closer for The Texas Rangers, which “was an absolute dream come true.” He was 11 for 12 in saves in just his second full season in the Majors.
2010 saw Wilson named to the starting rotation. Starting in the majors for the first time since his rookie year, Wilson would prove to be one of the best pitchers in the league and would start the second post-season game for the Rangers. In two seasons as a starter, Wilson compiled a 31-15 record with six complete games, one shutout and a 3.14 ERA (427.1 IP – 149 ER) in 67 starts. His 31 wins are tied for seventh most in the Majors over the last two seasons. For his career, Wilson is 43-35, with six complete games, one shutout, 52 saves and a 3.60 ERA in 325 games (73 starts).
By 2011, Wilson’s talents had helped guide Texas to a second consecutive World Series berth. The lefty made a career-high 34 starts (T1st in MLB) registering a 16-7 record with three complete games, one shutout and a 2.94 ERA (223.1 IP – 73 ER) while walking 74 batters and striking out 206. He finished among A.L. leaders in wins (T4th), strikeouts (6th), ERA (7th) and opponents’ batting average (10th, .232). Wilson’s 2.31 road ERA (121 IP – 31 ER) was the lowest mark in the A.L.
Wilson joined the Angels on the same day Los Angeles agreed to a 10-year, $254 million deal with first baseman Albert Pujols. “It’s crazy, obviously, with Albert going over there,” Wilson told reporters. “It’s a big swing of the balance of power in the West. I thought I was going to make a little bit of difference and he’s obviously going to make a huge one. I mean, nobody saw that coming.”
Currently, Wilson is part of a dynamic pitching foursome that also includes Jered Weaver (the ace), Dan Haren (possibly baseball’s most consistent arm the last seven years) and Ervin Santana (among the most electric in the game).
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