The New York Mets signed Adam Wilk to a minor league deal on January 16 this year. Wilk is a lefty pitcher who could start and pitch out of the bullpen.
Wilk made his MLB debut for the Tigers on May the 26th 2011. He pitched 3.2 innings that day allowing no earned runs against a powerful Red Sox lineup. In the majors, Wilk has had limited success, but after a solid season in Triple-A last year the Mets liked what they saw to offer him a minor league deal.
In 2016, Wilk threw 87.1 innings pitching to a 3.61 ERA in 15 start for the Triple-A Durham Bulls, in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Wilk was great against lefties in 2016 as he held them to just a .167 batting average.
Wilk was a non-roster invitee to major league spring training camp before being reassigned on Monday.
In this interview Wilk talks about his career, which started in 2009, and his own foundation among other things. He’s had a strong spring to this point with a 1.93 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 9.1 innings.
MMN: First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and congrats with the signing with the Mets this offseason. How did the process go of you becoming a Met?
Wilk: Thank you. The process of becoming a Met this season was pretty similar to the other years that I have been a free agent. Teams will contact my agent and the process goes from there. The Mets are a good fit for me.
MMN: You had a solid season in Triple-A last season especially against lefties who you held to a .167 batting average. What is working for you against the lefty hitters?
Wilk: Last season I think I attacked left-handed hitters better than ever before. I put an emphasis last season more of throwing my offspeed and breaking pitches to them as opposed to aiming them.
MMN: You pitched in the rotation last season, but with your success against lefties do you think you will be more effective as a lefty specialist? Or do you still want to be a starter?
Wilk: I believe the Mets see me possibly in both roles. I have been a starter most of my career and that is always fun. I do though have some experience coming out of the bullpen so that would not be a big surprise to me. I think that if I pitch like last year I can be very effective against lefties while still having the ability to get right handers out as well.
MMN: You had a long career starting in 2009 in the Tigers organization. How did you become a Pro baseball player?
Wilk: I first started playing baseball back in Tball when I was 5 and have played every year since. I played little league, pony, high school, college, and now finally professional baseball. I enjoy playing the game of baseball and being around the game of baseball. There is always something new that happens.
MMN: What is your earliest baseball memory?
Wilk: That was quite a while ago so I really don’t remember anything specific but I do remember going to Angel Stadium when I was young for the Little League night. I grew up an Angels fan so it was a full circle when I was able to play for them a couple of years ago.
MMN: You made your MLB Debut for the 2011. Who told you that you’d got the call and how was it to be on a Major League mound for the first time?
Wilk: Phil Nevin was my AAA manager in Toledo in 2011 and he called me sometime around 2:30 AM letting me know that I had been called up and will be a Major Leaguer. It was quite an experience being on the mound for the first time. I still look back at the lineup card at the lineup I faced against Boston and revel at how many great players were in that lineup that afternoon.
MMN: What is your goals this spring/season with the Mets? Anything specific what you are working on?
Wilk: My goal is to help the team win first and foremost. I want to be back on a Major League field helping the team get to the playoffs. Personally I want to pitch the season successfully and continue my career in a positive direction.
MMN: You also played one season in the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization). How was it like to play on in a different country, different culture? Any good stories you want to share about your time there?
Wilk: Playing in Korea was interesting to say the least. The culture was very different, being on the other side of the world. It wasn’t like going to Europe or Canada but rather all the way across the world. The fans were very friendly toward the Americans when we were there and that was a great feeling. Baseball was mostly the same but just small differences here and there. Fortunately my parents were able to come for a few weeks and they enjoyed their time there very much.
MMN: Can you give us a quick scouting report with your strengths, weaknesses and your pitch arsenal?
Wilk: I basically throw the kitchen sink at the hitters. Four-seam and two-seam fastballs, slider, changeup, and cutter. I don’t light up the radar gun so I just attack hitters with all of my pitches.
MMN: How is your preparation before and between starts?
Wilk: I am a pretty low key, laid back kind of guy. Between starts I do my normal workout routine, bullpen, and conditioning routine. Don’t have any specific meals I must eat on certain days. Before a start I just hang out in the clubhouse and go out to the field about 30 minutes before the game to get ready.
MMN: Who was the toughest hitter you ever faced and do you have stories about facing that hitter?
MMN: You began your own non-profit organization called the Adam Wilk Foundation. Can you tell us what you want to achieve with your organization?
Wilk: The AWF is a great deal of pride for me. I very much enjoy helping others and this is definitely a situation where I can help. The foundation gives baseball equipment to the underprivileged youth in Southern California. Over the past 4 1/2 years my teammates have been amazing in helping. They donate much of the gear that is given out to the kids and its a big help that keeps the foundation running smoothly. There are also great fans who have been financial donors that have helped allow the foundation to buy the equipment that is not donated.
MMN: Final Question is there anyway fans can help you with The Adam Wilk Foundation?
Wilk: Fans are able to help with the AWF. The foundation collects new or lightly used baseball equipment to donate out. Or they are able to donate money as well. Any donation the AWF is 100% tax deductible as the AWF is a 501(c)3 charity.
MMN: Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions and good luck this season.
Wilk: Thank you. I appreciate the questions and hope to have a great season with the Mets.
You can follow Adam Wilk on twitter @adamwilk58 and you can follow his foundation @adamwilkfndtion.
Photo courtesy of Ed Delany