Canadian Baseball - Kenny Wilson Profile

A look at Kenny Wilson with Canadian Baseball's Alexis Brudnicki

By New Hampshire Fisher Cats | November 22, 2013 9:24 AM ET

It's 5 o'clock somewhere.

Of course what that means is - despite being full swing into the month of November; it is an exciting time in baseball, some place.

Even though games have wound down in the northern hemisphere and players are beginning to hit the gym for workouts before resuming regular baseball activities, each new day continues to bring baseball news.

On Wednesday, just more than a week after arriving back home in Tampa from the prestigious and prospect-laden Arizona Fall League, Kenny Wilson's future with the Toronto Blue Jays became a whole lot brighter. The 23-year-old received a boost of confidence when the organization called to inform him that they would be adding him to the 40-man roster, protecting him from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

"It means everything," Wilson said. "They made an investment in me when I was 18 and they've backed me up since then. I can't tell you how good it feels. It's an amazing feeling to know that they still have faith in me and they still see me as a premier player and that hopefully I can help the Blue Jays win a World Series one year. Ultimately that's the goal.

"Watching the World Series this year and playing with the guys in Arizona, that was the biggest thing that we all had in common - obviously we all want to get to the big leagues but all of us want to win a World Series. That's all we could talk about when we were out there and playing. To come up short a half game in Arizona was unfortunate because we were playing to win and that's all we wanted to do. But it feels good to know that the Blue Jays have my back and that they still feel like I can be the player that they drafted back in 2008."

Taken in the second round out of high school, Wilson was a significant investment for the Jays right from the start. They continued to try and push him to his potential by sending him to the Australian Baseball League to play for the Canberra Cavalry after his fourth professional season was shortened due to injury.

Wilson watched from afar early this year and recently as his former ABL team first brought home the Claxton Shield, the prestigious trophy offered to the victors of the league championship, and then became the first Aussie team to ever win a game in the Asia Series, eventually capturing the crown in Taiwan on Wednesday.

Amidst an exciting time in his own career Wilson kept up with the Cavalry, paying special attention to his fellow Blue Jays farmhands who are currently on the Canberra roster.

"I wasn't able to watch it, but I was able to follow them on Twitter and Facebook," Wilson said. "Just to see the big steps they made and the addition of the good players that they brought over there, that really helped them. Not to say that the guys we had weren't good enough - I don't want to put them down or anything because we were good.

"But they were able to get more affiliated guys, and having [fellow Fisher Cat] Jack Murphy there is really good for them. He's a tremendous leader, he knows how to call a good game, he does everything you could want from behind the plate, and it seems like he's swinging the bat really well right now, which is good for them too."

This season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Wilson once again missed out on some playing time due to injury woes. He needed extra work, and Toronto wanted to see more of their centre field prospect, so off to Arizona he went for one of the best experiences of his life.

"Being out there and playing with the elite minor league players was a tremendous feeling; an amazing feeling," Wilson said. "I can't tell you how much fun I had. I had so much fun out there just being around the amount of talent. That alone was incredible. But the guys that we had on our team were awesome and everybody wanted to win.

"There weren't any 'me' thoughts going on or 'I' want to do this, or 'I' want to do that. It was all about the team. Everybody wanted to win. What I got out of being in the fall league was how to become a winning player. Of course everybody wants to win and that's really all that matters at the end of the year - did you win? Were you on a winning team? Did you do what you could to help your team win? But honestly that was one of the proudest moments of my life and my baseball career, definitely."

Wilson batted .258/.333/.392 with 12 stolen bases in just 23 games for the Salt River Rafters, earning looks from many scouts across the league. Thursday's roster move gave him a huge bout of confidence within his own organization heading into the off-season, and was a definite surprise for Wilson despite knowing it was a real possibility.

"I won't say I had a feeling but I was talking to my agent back and forth and we kept talking about the Rule 5 [Draft] and that there was a chance that I might get protected on the 40-man, but I didn't want to get my hopes up," Wilson said. "I definitely wasn't expecting it. I was more so hoping and praying that they would go ahead and put me on. When I got the call about it, I was totally shocked. I was speechless. I was at a loss for words. It was a tremendous feeling."

Wilson was protected by the big club along with 2010 first-round pick Deck McGuire, who has yet to achieve his potential or move beyond Double-A. Though the centre fielder was seemingly an afterthought to some in the wake of the 40-man additions, he has continued to make improvements in his game and will look to do more of that by capitalizing on this opportunity.

"I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest," Wilson said. "I've been waiting for this day for a long time and I just feel like I'm one step closer to my ultimate dream, which is playing in the big leagues one day. I'm just overwhelmed with excitement. I can't wait to get to spring training and just be with all the big league guys and to learn and learn and take what I've learned from there back to minor league camp and into the season. I hope to get to Toronto as soon as I can."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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