Taylor Wilding was just what the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes needed.
The former Cal Poly Pomona hurler turned in some solid seasons in the Giants organization, even holding his own in Double-A, but was inexplicably released by that organizaton on the last day of spring training. That is a tough time to find work because minor league rosters are pretty much set by then.
So he waited. Six weeks or so.
The Angels finally came calling after a rash of injuries thinned out their pitching at both the minor and major league levels. Wilding jokes about his veteran status in the California League, reminding teammate Eddie McKiernan that he’s made more appearances in the Cal League than McKiernan has at all levels combined.
This is his third year in the league and he has made over 100 relief appearances. He says he is going for the record, although that is a pretty hard one to track down.
There is an old saying that you’re not just playing for one organization, you’re playing for 30. The logic being that you can get released by one club but if you do well enough someone else will come calling.
To that Wilding chides “In my case I’m down to 29.”
Getting a chance with the Angels saved Wilding from the toils of independent ball, which pays even less and comes with fewer perks and no guarantees.
The Etiwanda High School product has yet another good one-liner when it comes to breaking down the offers that were coming in.
“It was like to trying to pick a college again without being able to take the visits.”
The Angels organization was the perfect place for a second chance and Wilding is taking advantage of it. He is 3-1 with a 3.90 ERA in 20 appearances. In 27 2/3 innings he has 25 strikeouts and 10 walks and given up 40 hits.
He is the club’s primary setup man, pitching the eighth inning of games the Quakes are winning or down in a close game. He pitched a scoreless inning against Inland Empire on Thursday.
Here’s to second chances!