Born: May 24, 1989|
Fort Worth, Texas
He was signed by the Boston Red Sox out of the independent leagues at age 25. A two record-breaking NAIA pitcher in college, Wilkerson overcame Tommy John surgery, four independent league trades in a single season, and the usual skepticism that accompanies pitchers with his background to emerge as one of the most consistent performers in the Boston organization in less than three years.
Although he features a four-pitch mix, including a curveball, slider, and changeup, Wilkerson throws the secondary pitches sparingly in comparison to his fastball, which usually sits 91-93 mph and tops out at 95 mph, according to a Red Sox scouting report.
In his junior season, Wilkerson starred at Cumberland University, where he led the Bulldogs to a NAIA World Series championship in 2010. Wilkerson posted a 14-1 record with 14 consecutive victories, 11 complete games, and a team-best 2.13 earned run average (ERA) in 101⅓ innings, while leading the nation with 125 strikeouts and being named both to the Second Team All-American and the NAIA World Series All-Tournament Team.
As a senior in 2011, Wilkerson set an NAIA record by tossing 54 consecutive scoreless innings streak from February 9 to April 8. He finished that season with a 12-0 undefeated mark and a 1.49 ERA, closing his college career by setting other NAIA record while winning 26 straight decisions. Besides, he earned First Team All-American honors and was named TranSouth Conference Pitcher of the Week three times.
Doctors revealed that Wilkerson had pitched that season with a frayed ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. As a result, he went undrafted out of Cumberland in 2011 following Tommy John surgery, and he left baseball for two years while stocking frozen food shelves.
Wilkerson started his professional journey in 2013 with the Fort Worth Cats in the independent United League Baseball. At the time, Wilkerson had to rebuild his mechanics completely with the help of his Fort Worth pitching coach and a private instructor introduced to him by his brother. He had a 9-1 record and a 2.74 ERA in 13 games. He then was traded to the Florence Freedom of the Frontier League in the midseason, and finished the year with the Grand Prairie AirHogs of the American Association. Overall, he went 10-2 with a 2.96 ERA in 19 starts in the three leagues.
In 2014, Wilkerson was 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA in 13 games for Grand Prairie, before joining the Red Sox organization when his contract was purchased from the AirHogs in the month of August. After that, he went 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA in eight starts at short-season A-level Lowell Spinners.
After that, Wilkerson posted a 7-2 record with a 2.96 ERA, 1.05 Walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) ratio and .218 batting average against in 17 outings (12 starts) for High-A Salem Red Sox in 2015. He then went 4-1 with a 2.66 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and .192 BAA in seven starts for Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. Wilkerson followed with a brief stint in the Arizona Fall League, as the starter sent to the Scottsdale Scorpions from the Red Sox, but he had to left the Scorpions to pitch for the USA squad in the inaugural World Baseball Softball Confederation Premier12 Tournament held in Taiwan and Japan in November 2015.
In 2016, Wilkerson appeared in eight games for Portland, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.12 ERA and .175 BAA, striking out 48 batters while walking 14 in 44⅓ innings. He then gained a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox in late April. In 41 innings across eight Pawtucket appearances, Wilkerson went 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, .222 BAA, 49 strikeouts, and 10 walks.
- Aaron Wilkerson profile. MiLB.com. Retrieved on June 25, 2016.
- Salem Red Sox pitcher Wilkerson the ultimate survivor. The Roanoke Times. Retrieved on April 23, 2016.
- Aaron Wilkerson page. SoxProspects.com. Retrieved on June 25, 2016.
- Cumberland Wins 2010 Avista-NAIA World Series Title. National Association of Collegiate Athletics website. Retrieved on Jun22, 2016.
- #8 Aaron Wilkerson. Cumberland University Athletics website. Retrieved on June 22, 2016.
- Aaron Wilkerson goes from stocking frozen food to brink of majors. Boston Herald. Retrieved on June 22, 2016.
- Aaron Wilkerson – Minor League Baseball career. Baseball Reference. Retrieved on June 22, 2016.
- Red Sox Arizona Fall League Update: November 3-9, 2015. BoSox Injection. Retrieved on June 22, 2016.
- USA Baseball names WBSC Premier 12 roster. MLB.com. Retrieved on October 22, 2015.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)