Speedy Cody Wilson Improves His Swing
In some ways, outfielder Cody Wilson fits right in at big league spring training camp. The 24-year-old non-roster invitee might be the fastest runner and best defensive outfielder in the Nationals' system.
"Cody is a dynamic athlete,” Nationals farm director Mark Scialabba said. “He has the fast-twitch quickness and closing speed to play center field at the major league level and is not afraid to use his aggressiveness to make the spectacular plays deep in the gaps.”
Wilson, a 13th-round pick in 2018 out of Florida Atlantic, is looking most forward to using his new swing. He felt like all the work he has done with Troy Gingrich and Mark Harris started to click in spring training last year and paid off even more at instructional league.
“I've improved on my hitting a lot—just from getting reps, repeating my swing and developing it, and then just sticking with it,” Wilson said.
Wilson went 22-for-27 in stolen bases at Low-A Hagerstown in 2019, but he hit .215/.311/.323 in 77 games.
A resident of Jupiter, Fla., Wilson has been training at the Nationals’ stadium in West Palm Beach since it reopened last fall. He also spent some of the pandemic working out at Cressey Sports Performance gym.
“He’s worked extremely hard throughout the past year despite the lockdowns, and he’s ready to compete and see the work he’s done in the cage translate to the field,” Scialabba said.
“His bat path has shortened up and is now in the zone for a longer period of time, and he’s learning who he is and what he needs to do to be successful on a consistent basis.”
In 2008, Wilson was part of a Jupiter team that won the Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen, Md. He went on to star at Jupiter High and Palm Beach State JC before helping Florida Atlantic reach the Gainesville Regional title game in his one year with the Owls.
“I had a blast with all those guys, and we played well," Wilson said of his NCAA Tournament experience. "I just wish we could’ve won that last game.”
— Four of the Nationals’ top five pitching prospects received non-roster invites to big league camp: righthanders Cade Cavalli, Cole Henry and Jackson Rutledge and lefthander Tim Cate. Cavalli and Henry were the team’s top two draft picks in 2020.
— Righthander Todd Peterson, a seventh-round pick in 2019 out of Louisiana State, was among the other prospects invited to big league camp. He went 2-1, 3.19 in 36.2 innings at short-season Auburn in 2019 and has a fastball that touches 98 mph.