Before we begin, thank you to Shannon Donahue from Berk Communications for helping to arrange this interview, and thank you to Marcus Wilson for finding time in his schedule to speak with me. (Long story short: We were in the process of moving which it made it tricky to find the perfect time to speak with him, but he was awesome throughout the whole process.)
Wilson was traded to the Red Sox in April in exchange for Blake Swihart and international pool money. He was assigned to Double-A Portland, and instantly became one of the Red Sox top outfield prospects, in part because of his talent, and in part because the Red Sox had a startling lack of outfield depth in the upper minors to draw from. Wilson currently ranks 17th on MLB.com’s list of top Red Sox prospects, and sits 19th on SoxProspect’s list. Both outlets note his defining tool as his plus speed, though he also has some solid raw power in his arsenal. For a brief time he was reassigned to Salem, then came back to Portland to finish out the year. He is presently playing in the Arizona Fall League, and was named to the AFL’s All-Star roster, after having a strong start to the league. (Ed. Note: The All-Star game happened last night. Wilson started and went 0-2 with a strikeout.)
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Jake Kostik: Marcus, the first thing I want to know about you, since coming over in the trade, how are you feeling about Boston, and how are you enjoying the organization at this point?
Marcus Wilson: Oh man, I’m loving the organization, they’ve welcomed me with open arms and all that. It’s all been good, you know. I’ve really enjoyed my time here, and had a lot of great teammates here, just enjoying my time here.
JK: What’s the trade process like, on the player side of things?
MW: It’s kind of crazy, it’s kind of just, at the spur of a moment, you never really know what day you are going to get traded. It’s just a regular day, and then they call you in the office, and they tell you, “Hey, you’ve been traded”. They tell you all of these things, and the next thing you know, you’re on the next flight out to whatever city you are going to go to. It’s pretty interesting.
JK: Was it a difficult move to go from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Boston Red Sox? Any difficulties with the moving process?
MW: Oh, no, not at all. Hardest part was saying goodbye to all my friends on the other team. That’s really about it, it’s not that bad.
JK: Have you found any big differences between how Arizona and Boston’s minor league systems are?
MW: A little bit. There are a couple of differences, but I wouldn’t call them big differences.
JK: What kind of differences, personalities in the clubhouses, something like that?
MW: Yeah, kind of like that. Yeah, we had different scouting, that was different too.
JK: You are also participating in the Arizona Fall League. What’s that like?
MW: It’s great, man. I’m really enjoying my time here, getting to play against a lot of really good guys here, that are coming up. Also getting to actually play with them on the same team. It’s really cool, getting to play against guys that I’ve somewhat kind of looked up to, you know? Getting to pick their brain, talking to them and picking their brains some more, and putting that stuff into my game so that I can use it.
JK: Seems like it’s working out for you, it looks like you’ve been tearing up the AFL actually. You’ve been hitting well and it looks like you are getting good work in, getting the most out of the experience. What’s an average day like in the AFL?
MW: It’s nice. You basically just do your stuff, you get there, get warmed up, get treatment, go in the cage, do your routine, go back in, go play the game, it’s really relaxed. You know, I am getting a lot out of it right now. The performance has been there so far, so I hope that continues
JK: Is there something you feel sets you apart from other ball players?
MW: I would say so, I would say I’m a pretty consistent guy, power came this year, I feel like I do everything pretty well.
JK: Anything that keeps you in the gym more, that motivates you extra hard?
MW: Oh, definitely man, I’m a grinder. I’ve been doing this now for six years, trying to get that opportunity to play in the league, and it just makes me want to work harder. I’m just glad I’m doing what I knew I could always do.
JK: Do you feel there’s any glaring weakness in your game? Anything that you feel you really want to improve on over the next year?
MW: Always, I know I’d say defense. I feel I’m a pretty good defender already, but you know you can always get better on defense. Outside of that, I’d say my two-strike approach. Everything else feels pretty solid, gotta keep up with those, and improve. But those are the definitely the two I want to focus on, going forward.
JK: Is there any teammate within the Red Sox organization that you feel you are particularly close to? One you work extra hard with?
MW: Definitely. There’s a couple guys, Bobby Dalbec is one, CJ Chatham is another, JD, I’m sorry, Jarren Duran is another good guy, you know, we all work hard. We’re all in it together at the end of the day.
JK: Earlier, you mentioned when we spoke about the AFL, there were some players you looked up to a bit. Are there any players you really look up to a bit right now?
MW: Shoot, man, there’s a lot of talented guys, not even guys you look up to. You just watch them play, like [Jarred] Kelenic, Kelenic’s a talented young kid on our team, Jo Adell, super talented kid, he’s great. Couple others that I could name, but man, it’s crazy how good they are at such a young age.
JK: Is there anything you really want Red Sox Nation to know? You seem to be on your way to making the Red Sox roster as an outfielder within the next couple years, if you continue on the path you are, especially with interesting questions in the outfield on the horizon. Anything you really want the fanbase to know about you?
MW: Just tell them I’m ready. It’s such an honor to play for the Red Sox. Growing up, I never even thought it was a possibility. You dream up stuff like this and ready yourself up for the task and I can’t wait to bring another championship to Boston.
JK: Anything else you want to say while we bring this interview to a close?
MW: Nah, man. Thank you guys for having me.
Thank you to Marcus Wilson for finding time in the demanding AFL schedule to speak with me.
Hope everyone enjoyed!