Right when it looked like D.J. Wilson was turning the corner in May, he landed on the disabled list. Now healthy again, the Cubs No. 8 prospect is wasting little time getting back into a groove. In this third game back with Class A South Bend, Wilson collected four hits and drove in a career-high
Right when it looked like D.J. Wilson was turning the corner in May, he landed on the disabled list.
Now healthy again, the Cubs No. 8 prospect is wasting little time getting back into a groove.
In this third game back with Class A South Bend, Wilson collected four hits and drove in a career-high six runs in a 15-8 win over Dayton on Monday at Fifth Third Field. The 2015 fourth-round pick homered, doubled and singled twice in the second four-hit game of his career.
Gameday box score
"I'm feeling great, coming back off of the injury," said Wilson, who had a fractured fibula. "You just never know with how things go. When I first went down, I had some time and I just didn't know. The closer I got to being game-ready, I was feeling well. I kept my head down and was fighting through it."
He struggled through a tough April with a .159/.247/.304 slash line, but started turning things around in May, when he hit .263 in 16 games before the injury. On July 3, he started a rehab assignment in the Rookie-level Arizona League and mashed three home runs in three games.
Now back in the Midwest League, Wilson is just glad to be swinging the bat well.
"I was just trying to stay through the ball and see if I could hit it," he said. "Just try and swing at the fastball. I got into some deep counts, but only swung at pitches I'm able to swing at. ... I just try to let the ball get deep, see it a long time. That's really it -- letting it get deep and putting it in play."
Using that strategy, the 20-year-old drove in a run by legging out an infield single in the first inning. After back-to-back two-out singles by Kevonte Mitchell and 17th-ranked Cubs prospect Isaac Paredes in the second, Wilson "took a hack" at a first-pitch fastball from Scott Moss and slugged a three-run homer over the center-field wall.
After striking out in the fifth, the Canton, Ohio native recorded an RBI single that extended South Bend's lead to 12-0. With two runners on in the eighth, Wilson ended his day with a two-run double down the right-field line and doubled his RBI total for all of April.
"It's a good feeling," the 5-foot-8, 177-pound center fielder said. "It's definitely a confidence booster. Hopefully, it carries over to the next game and the game after that."
It marked the second consecutive day in which a South Bend player posted a career high after Vimael Machin racked up five hits Sunday.
"It's fun to be competitive," Wilson said. "I just looked at it as a way to help the team in any way possible and put the bat on the ball and get on base. That was my goal."
In his last six games, the left-handed batter is 9-for-22 with six extra-base hits. Still, Wilson doesn't want to look too far into the future.
"I haven't really thought about it," he said. "I'll take it day by day and really just focus on each pitch, pitch counts. I'll try to take it slow."
Supported by a 15-hit attack, No. 13 Cubs prospect Jose Paulino (4-2) tossed five scoreless innings with four hits, two walks and five strikeouts.
"It was awesome, he took the pressure off the defense," Wilson said of the left-hander. "Just knowing a large percentage of the time it was going to be weak contact takes a lot of pressure off."
Third-ranked Reds prospectTaylor Trammell homered and drove in four runs, while Jose Siri and Hector Vargas also went deep for the Dragons.
Andrew Battifarano is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter, @AndrewAtBatt.