- In 2008, Wilson was 9-5 with a 4.14 ERA, 108 strikeouts, and 65 walks in 19 starts for the NCAA champion Fresno State. In the clinching victory of the College World Series against Georgia, Justin allowed one run over eight innings and struck out nine.
In 2009, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Wilson as the 29th-best prospect in the Pirates' organization. But he dropped out of the book in the spring of 2010.
In 2011, they moved Justin all the way up to #15. And he was at #17 in the offseason before 2012 spring camps opened.
In the spring of 2013, they had Wilson as the 8th-best prospect in the Pirates' farm system.
April 29, 2012: Wilson pitched most of a no-hitter for the Indianapolis Indians (IL-Pirates). He held Durham hitless for 7 1/3 innings. Jose (Jumbo) Diaz and Major League veteran lefty Doug Slaten finished up the Indians' first no-hitter since Ian Snell's on May 15, 2005.
Then on August 9, 2012, Justin threw an 8-inning no-hitter against the Charlotte Knights (IL-White Sox). Rain washed away the final frame of the Indians' 3-0 victory. It was Wilson's second no-hitter in just over three months!
"You can't fight Mother Nature. Of course, we didn't want the rain coming in, but it was great in the clubhouse when we found out it was official. It was nice to know that it's done, but, of course, I wanted to go the full nine," Wilson said.
- June 2008: The Pirates chose Justin in the 5th round of the draft, out of California State-Fresno. He signed via scout Sean Campbell for a bonus of $195,000.
- November 12, 2014: The Yankees sent C Francisco Cervelli to the Pirates, acquiring Wilson.
- December 9, 2015: The Yankees traded Wilson to the Tigers for RHP Chad Green and RHP Luis Cessa.
- January 13, 2016: Wilson avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $1,525,000 deal with the Tigers.
- Jan 13, 2017: Justin avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $2.7 million contract with the Tigers.
- July 31, 2017: The Cubs acquired lefty reliever Justin Wlson and backup catcher Alex Avila.
The Cubs dipped into their farm system once again, sending top prospect Jeimer Candelario, Class A shortstop Isaac Paredes and a player to be named later or cash to the Tigers
|Birth City:||Anaheim, CA|
|Draft:||Pirates #5 - 2008 - Out of Cal. State-Fresno|
Wilson is that rare lefthander who has an 89-99 mph FASTBALL with exceptional life. In fact, Justin's heater moves so much, he has trouble with his command of the pitch. He can't always get it in the strike zone. But it is sneaky and gets him a lot of swings-and-misses.
When moved to the bullpen early in August 2011, Justin hit 99 mph with his fastball. He also has a big-breaking CURVEBALL and a CUT FASTBALL. He has gotten a good feel for his CHANGEUP that has fade.
Opposing hitters just don't pick up the ball well against Wilson.
2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 41.3% of the time; Sinker 23.9% of the time; Change .7%; Slider 3%; Curve 2.6%; and Cutter 28.7% of the time.
2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 67% of the time; Change .2% of the time; Slider 10.2%; Curve 4.8%; and Cutter 18.7% of the time.
Justin is a strongly-built lefthander who can eat up innings if used as a starter. But the Pirates used him out of the 'pen in 2013, and manager Clint Hurdle said, "He's been a real weapon for us—a power arm from the left side that can be used for multiple innings and get righthanded hitters out as well as lefthanders. That’s a valuable guy to have.”
Wilson enjoys pitching out of the bullpen, but that is not his first choice.
"If I had my choice, starting is what I would do,” Wilson said. “It’s not that I don’t like relieving, because I do, but starting is what I’m used to and I really feel that I could be an effective Major League starting pitcher.”
This lefty's delivery is a little rough, with a slight hook in the back. And he tends to shift on the rubber, depending on whether he's facing a lefthanded or a righthanded hitter.
His arm action makes it difficult for Justin to throw strikes consistently, which may put him in the bullpen. He would make an awesome lefty specialist. (Editor's note: As of 2016, Wilson is, indeed, an awesome lefty specialist.)
In the early part of 2017, Wilson became the Tigers' closer when Francisco Rodriguez failed to do the job.
- As of the start of the 2018 season, Wilson had a career record of 22-14 with a 3.30 ERA, having allowed just 22 home runs and 259 hits in 316 innings. Justin had struck out 338 batters.
June 13, 2016: Wilson was on the D.L.
August 15, 2016: Justin received a cortisone injection for a muscle issue in his left elbow that was pinching a nerve extending to his hand.
"Justin had an elbow-finger combination," Ausmus said. "We had him looked at in Dallas. The MRI shows nothing different, really, from earlier in the year."