Despite a solid collegiate career at GW, Josh Wilkie went undrafted and signed with the Washington organization as a free agent with help from then Nationals’ outfielder Jose Guillen. It would prove to be a risk that paid off as Wilkie rose through the farm system like a high draft pick bonus baby.
Wilkie began the 2009 season in Harrisburg compiling a 5-2 record with three saves and a 2.37 ERA in 34 games before a promotion to Syracuse. Over parts of four seasons and 169 career innings at Triple-A, the Georgia native had a 1.25 WHIP and a promising 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio.
However, in June 2012 the Nationals announced that Wilkie had been suspended 50 games for testing positive with a “drug of abuse” for the second time. In a text message conversation with MASN Sports’ Byron Kerr, Wilkie took full responsibility for ingesting a substance called Spice mixed with a flavored tobacco. He went on to express disappointment and embarrassment over the situation and added, “I will rebound from this and hopefully with another opportunity I can prove myself as a competitive successful pitcher in the Nationals organization. I am going to continue to stay in shape and pitch and be ready when the suspension is up.”
That chance never came for Wilkie as he was released shortly thereafter. In late October, Wilkie signed with the Tigres de Aragua club of the Venezuelan Winter League but due to an undisclosed injury would fail to appear in a single game for the team.