From BR Bullpen
Travis David Wilson
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 180-185 lb.
Infielder Travis Wilson played minor league baseball from 1997 to 2004, before returning to New Zealand. Wilson reached AAA and nearly made the 2003 Atlanta Braves team . He was the first minor leaguer born and raised in New Zealand. As Peter Gammons said during the 2008 Futures Game, Wilson was never able to control the strike zone, leading to a falling batting average as pitchers exploited his weaknesses.
Wilson began his career with the 1997 Danville Braves, hitting .215/~.259/.326 while playing third base. In 1998, Travis spent most of the year with Danville and improved significantly, batting .323/~.367/.554 with 25 doubles in 64 games and 16 steals in 21 tries. He led Appalachian League third basemen in putouts (55), assists (150) and double plays (13) and paced the entire league in doubles and extra-base hits (39). He was 8th in the circuit in average and split All-Star honors at 3B with Paul Day.
Wilson spent the winter of 1998-1999 in the Australian Baseball League with the Melbourne Monarchs, hitting .200/.247/.325 and fielding .918 in a rough campaign after replacing the injured Dax Norris. Wilson spent the summer of 1999 with the Macon Braves and produced at a .309/~.325/.477 clip; he only had 9 walks to 66 strikeouts in 90 games. He stole 14 bases in 20 tries and spent most of the year at a new position, second base. Wilson finished 8th in the South Atlantic League in average and made the circuit All-Star team as a utility man.
Wilson was the second baseman for the 2000 Myrtle Beach Pelicans and had a batting line of .275/.308/.438 with 33 doubles. He continued to show poor plate discipline and judgment (16 BB, 111 K) and he did not steal as well (7 for 15). He started at second for the World team in the 2000 Futures Game, hitting 7th. He went 1 for 2 before being replaced by Ruben Salazar.
Returning to Australia for the 2000-2001 International Baseball League of Australia, Wilson did much better in his second stint there. He hit .352/.364/.604 with 38 RBI in 42 games. He finished second to A.J. Zapp in average and slugging (.004 behind in the latter), tied Rob Stratton for the most home runs (7), was one behind Zapp for the hit lead (57-56), led in RBI, was second to Zapp in extra-base hits (24-23), tied Gavin Fingleson for 5th in runs (26) and was 10th in OBP. He was chosen as the league's All-Star 3B.
In the 2001 regular season, Wilson split time between the Greenville Braves (.325/.344/.455 in 31 games, easily outhitting Zapp) and the Richmond Braves (.243/.262/.339). He drew only 10 walks while striking out 105 times. With Richmond, he played the outfield, second, third and first in a utility capacity.
The New Zealander had a similar role in 2002 - he played 57 games in the outfield,45 at first, 29 at second and 5 at third. He batted .263/.287/.409 with 13 walks to 106 strikeouts and cracked 13 homers, driving in 71. He stole 10 bases while being caught only 3 times. In 2003, Travis hit .257/.284/.384 for Richmond with 9 walks to 110 strikeouts. He had 26 doubles and continued to play all 3 bases as well as the outfield.
Moving to the Cincinnati Reds organization for 2004, Wilson hit .277/.338/.413 for the Chattanooga Lookouts, even drawing 21 walks in 109 games. The utility man also pitched three games, going 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA and .185 opponent average but issuing 6 walks in 8 innings. It was his final minor league campaign.
Wilson currently (2008) plays softball in New Zealand, as well as being the fielding coach for the New Zealand cricket team, the Black Caps.
 Primary Sources
- 1998-2005 Baseball Almanacs
- Flintoff & Dunn's Australian Baseball Almanac (2001 edition)