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Baseball
Tim Kurkjian
June 13, 1994
If the Price Is Right
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June 13, 1994

Baseball

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Florida State junior righthander Paul Wilson is 21 but looks older. He's 6'5", 217 pounds, but looks bigger. His fastball has been clocked at 95 mph but looks faster. That's why the Mets made him the first player chosen in the amateur draft last Thursday. Wilson reminds major league scouts of Padre pitcher Andy Benes, the No. 1 pick in the 1988 draft. "I liked Andy then, and I do now," says one scout, "but I guarantee this kid will be much better."

Wilson was 11-5 with a 2.16 ERA, 29 walks and 144 strikeouts in 125 innings for the Seminoles during the regular season. Then, in a first-round game of the College World Series last Friday, he threw a complete-game 6-3 win over LSU.

What makes Wilson even more appealing is his approach to signing. Unlike other recent top draft picks, he says he's not interested in commanding the largest signing bonus ever; he figures that the big money will come later in his career. He also says he won't set down demands as to where he should begin playing as a pro, because he assumes he will move up to the majors fast enough.

And he's not one of those rah-rah college pitchers who jump around after they win a gameā€”or even after merely striking out a batter. "I don't show anyone up," he says, "but I want to beat your butt."

Attitude Adjustments

The good news in Texas is that Ranger DH Jose Canseco appears interested in being a great player again. After failing to play up to his capabilities in recent years, Canseco has shown signs of being the player he was in 1988, when he became the first 40-40 man in baseball history. Through Sunday he was hitting .307 with 15 homers and 52 RBIs, and he had 12 steals. More to his credit, Canseco has avoided controversy and led a quiet life off the field.

The bad news in Texas is that Ranger leftfielder Juan Gonzalez was hitting .258 at week's end, with fewer home runs (six) than Indian leadoff man Kenny Lofton (seven) had, including no home runs in his last 91 at bats. Gonzalez, the two-time defending American League home run champ, also was being ripped by local fans and media for not playing through a number of injuries that didn't appear serious.

Texas had hoped that some of new first baseman Will Clark's intensity might rub off on Gonzalez, who needs to realize that there's more to the game than hitting homers. Obviously, that hasn't happened yet. Says one former Ranger, "Anyone who thinks Will Clark can get through to Juan is crazy. Juan doesn't listen to anyone. If Will, or anyone, confronts him, they'd better be ready to fight."

Short Hops

The talk throughout baseball is about the possible players' strike after the All-Star break. It seems no one is optimistic enough to think it won't happen. "I used to be that way," says Expo general manager Kevin Malone. "Now I'm trying to find someone who thinks it's going to be a short strike."...

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