After a rocky introduction to the Eastern League, Tommy Wilson is making himself at home -- because he finally feels like he belongs there.
The right-handed Mets prospect turned in his second straight six-inning scoreless outing -- scattering two hits and whiffing a pair -- to set up Double-A Binghamton's 3-2 triumph over Reading at FirstEnergy Stadium on Monday.
Video: Rumble Ponies' Wilson gets groundout to complete star
Wilson (3-4) opened the season at Class A Advanced St. Lucie, where he posted a 4-2 mark with a 2.01 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP in eight starts. The 23-year-old fanned 36 and walked 14 over 44 1/3 frames before he was promoted on May 24. After struggling to a 7.90 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP through his first six Eastern League starts, Wilson has allowed four hits and a walk with five punchouts over his last 12 innings.
According to the 6-foot-4, 220-pound hurler, the turnaround has nothing to do with a mechanical change, it's simply a sense of belonging.
"I really didn't change anything with my delivery -- it was nothing physical. It was just my mentality and my focus that changed," Wilson said. "It was just a level of confidence that I needed to get to -- knowing that I deserve to pitch here. That I'm good enough to get here. That was really it. Just a matter of confidence."
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Wilson was placed on the injured list on June 26 -- a day after he allowed eight runs on 11 hits and a walk over 3 2/3 frames against Erie -- and made his next start on July 14. He scattered a pair of hits and a walk while striking out three over six scoreless innings at Portland.
"I just had a lot of conversations with teammates and coaches about their experiences in pro ball and started taking tips and pointers from them," he said. "What they learned about being successful here at Double-A and all of that information really helped out."
The biggest takeaway from those conversations?
"Guys really know how to swing the bat here and they take advantage of mistakes," Wilson said. "It's different for everybody, but that's been the toughest adjustment -- minimizing my mistakes, especially behind in the count. When you fall behind 2-0, 3-0, you can't just throw a fastball down the middle here. So I'm focusing on still hitting my spots in those situations, and that's been working out a lot better for me the last couple of times out."
Against the Fightin Phils, everything was working for last year's 19th-round Draft pick. He retired the first six batters he faced -- needing just six pitches to get through the second -- before his throwing error while attempting to field a bunt enabled No. 13 Phillies prospect Arquimedes Gamboa to reach to lead off the third inning.
"It was a good bunt, and when I fielded it, I knew I didn't have a lot of time, so I let it rip to first and sailed it," Wilson said. "But that's gonna happen. It didn't bother me. I just turned my focus back on going after the next guy."
That was Raul Rivas, who blooped a first-pitch single into center field to set Reading up with two on and nobody out. Fightin Phils starter JoJo Romero -- Philadelphia's seventh-ranked prospect -- successfully sacrificed the runners up a base, but Wilson stranded both after he coaxed Luke Williams and No. 9 prospect Mickey Moniak into groundouts.
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"It was early in the game, so I really wasn't trying to buckle down there. Just hit my spots and try to get early contact," he said. "So I focused on making some good pitches low in the zone and it all worked out."
The Cal State Fullerton product coasted through the remainder of his outing, allowing just a base hit to Rivas in the fifth while retiring the side in order in the fourth and sixth. Wilson needed six pitches to navigate through the sixth and was pulled after a 42-minute rain delay for the start of the seventh. He finished with 68 pitches -- 47 for strikes.
"I felt great. My arm felt good and I was actually ready to hit to start the seventh when the rain started," he said. "So I was a little disappointed to have it cut short like that, but it was great to be economical, and it's something I can take with me into my next outing."
New York's 27th-ranked prospect Quinn Brodey put Binghamton on the board with a solo shot to left-center field in the sixth and No. 25 Patrick Mazeika lined an RBI single to right later in the frame. Gavin Cecchini -- the Mets' 18th-ranked prospect -- capped the scoring with an RBI double down the left-field line in the eighth.
Moniak and top Phillies prospect Alec Bohm accounted for Reading's offense with an RBI apiece in the eighth. Romero (4-4) allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and a pair of walks while fanning seven over six frames.
"It's always fun to go toe to toe with a guy like that," said Wilson, who flied out and struck out in two plate appearances against Romero. "He's got really good stuff and you watch it from the dugout, but when you step in for a couple of at-bats against him, it's totally different. He's very talented, but I still viewed tonight the same as any other start."