Among the 20 players honoured by the Great Lake Canadians as inaugural award winners for their accomplishments this season is Jake Wilson, selected as one of the organization’s two Alumni Award winners.
Choosing the finalists for the Great Lake awards was tough for the Canadians staff, but also a rewarding look back at the achievements of its teams, players and alumni from throughout the 2017 season, and Wilson’s first collegiate season was no exception.
After a successful tenure with the Canadians, the 6-foot, 175-pound outfielder fulfilled his commitment to Bowling Green State University. He became a member of the Falcons in the fall of 2016 after being drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 39th round of the selection process earlier in the summer.
“Jake was great,” GLC director of baseball operations Chris Robinson said. “With us, he had to understand how good he was. He took a leap during an off-season right before his senior year where we went from thinking this kid could be good to, ‘Wow, this guy is one of the best players we’ve had, ever.’”
Heading into his first season with the Falcons, the native of New Lowell was named Mid-American Conference pre-season freshman of the year by both D1 Baseball and Baseball America, an honour not short of pressure, but nothing that could take him off the track for success that he was on.
“He put himself in a position in the fall where he went in ready, on campus, to compete for a spot, and he won it,” Robinson said. “Obviously he garnered the accolades of the pre-season freshman of the year, and that was pretty neat, but he went out and produced.
“That tells you a lot, because there’s a little bit of pressure on him there when you’re the pre-season conference freshman of the year, and that’s a good conference. So for him to go back and do what he did was impressive. And we haven’t even seen what Jake Wilson is going to be yet. He’s going to keep going.”
In his freshman season, the 19-year-old outfielder hit .305/.387/.348 with one home run, five doubles, 19 runs scored, 31 driven in, eight stolen bases, 18 walks, and 57 hits in 48 games. He was named a freshman All-American by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, given all-conference honours, and named MAC Freshman of the Year for his first-year achievements.
“To go in as a freshman to any school and become the guy, especially at a premium position, that’s difficult,” Robinson said. “Sometimes people don’t understand how difficult that is. I didn’t understand when I was a high school kid. You think you’re pretty good and you roll into a Division-I campus, and all of a sudden everyone around you is great. You doubt yourself. There’s a process. You don’t jump in and become a four-year starter.
“So when the happens, that’s pretty impressive. Jake did that. He’s got that mentality, and he’s a hard worker. He’s going to maximize what he can do because he works hard.”
Wilson is one of two GLC alumni to win this award after a successful 2017 season, honoured alongside Miles Gordon. While there were many candidates considered for the accolades, and the decisions were difficult for the Great Lake staff to make, the organization is proud to honour these players as members of the inaugural awards class and recognize their achievements throughout the year.