Jul 20, 2016

Former Mets First Round Draft Pick: Preston Wilson (1998)

Preston James Richard Wilson was born on July 19, 1974 in Bamberg, South Carolina. Preston Wilson is the stepson & nephew of former Mets player & current coach, Mookie Wilson. Mookie married his brother’s ex-wife who is the mother of Preston. Preston went to the same high school as Mookie and was a star outfielder there as well. He was drafted by the New York Mets as a first round pick (9th pick overall) in 1992.

He spent five seasons in the minors hitting over 20 HRs four different times. He was voted one of the top 100 prospects by Baseball America four separate times as well. Preston also spent one season playing in the Australian baseball league. He was an aggressive hitter known to swing at the first pitch & strike out often.

He was brought up in May of 1998 as a highly touted prospect. In his first two games he got three hits apiece and drove in two runs against the St. Louis Cardinals. He went hitless on a West Coast road trip and while still in California, he learned he was being traded. He was sent to the Florida Marlins with two minor leaguers, for All Star Mike Piazza. Wilson spent the rest of the season back in the minor leagues hitting 26 HRs batting .273.

In 1999 he was the starting centerfielder in Florida playing in his first full season, hitting 26 HRs with 21 doubles 11 steals & 71 RBIs with a .280 batting average. He came in runner up for the Rookie of the Year Award. In 2000 he joined the 30-30 club, with 31 HRs & 36 stolen bases, driving in 121 runs (8th best in the league). The free swinging Wilson, also led the NL in strikeouts with a whopping 187, two shy of Bobby Bonds record (189) at that time.

His numbers fell off the next two seasons although he did hit over twenty HRs & stole twenty plus bases each year. In November 2002 he was traded to the Colorado Rockies with Charles Johnson for Mike Hampton & Juan Pierre. Preston enjoyed hitting in Colorado and bashed 36 HRs with 43 doubles, while leading the NL in RBIs (141) in 2003.

He never had the same numbers again, and went to the Washington Nationals (2005), the Houston Astros (2006) & St. Louis Cardinals (2006) before getting released in 2007. He finished his career after ten seasons with 1055 hits 189 HRs 221 doubles 668 RBIs 124 stolen bases & a .264 average with 1085 strikeouts in 4003 at bats. He struck out over 100 times seven out of ten seasons he played.

In 2009 he played in the Independent league for the Long Island Ducks under former Met, Gary Carter.

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