Generation K was composed of three highly touted New York Mets pitching prospects in the mid-1990s. The group included right-handers Jason Isringhausen and Paul Wilson, as well as left-hander Bill Pulsipher. Plenty of hype surrounded the three young arms, but none would pan out for the Mets.
Jason Isringhausen was the oldest of the group, and was a 44th round draft pick in 1991 from Lewis and Clark Community College. He debuted with New York in 1995, and went 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA that season.
Paul Wilson was selected first overall in the 1994 amateur draft out of Florida State University. He advanced rapidly through the Mets organization and first appeared with the club in 1996, going 5-12 with a 5.38 ERA.
Bill Pulsipher was a second round pick in the 1991 amateur draft. The youngest of the group, and the only southpaw, he never posted an ERA higher than 3.22 during his four-year climb to New York. He got his chance in 1995 and won 5 games, lost 7, and put up a 3.98 ERA.
Decline and Dissolution
Isringhausen made 26 starts for the Mets in 1996, but had little success. His record was 6-14 and his ERA climbed to 4.77. His struggles continued in 1997, as he made just 12 appearance - 6 with the Mets and 6 in the minor leagues. He missed the entire 1998 season due to injury. He was traded to the Oakland Athletics in a deal for Billy Taylor in 1999.
Pulsipher was beset by arm injuries and struggles with mental illness, including anxiety. He never won another game for the Mets after 1995. The Mets traded Pulsipher to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Mike Kinkade in 1998.
After the Mets
Of the three pitchers, Isringhausen enjoyed the most success after leaving the Mets organization. He saved 75 games in two and a half seasons with the Athletics, and was then traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, where he has served as closer starting in 2002. In 2004, he recorded 47 saves, a career best.
Wilson won 15 games in a little over two seasons with the Devil Rays, before he signed with the Cincinnati Reds. He won 20 games in 66 starts for the Reds, but was ultimately brought down by injuries.
Pulsipher bounced around baseball, landing with major league organizations and independent league teams. He finished his major league career with 13 wins.
In contrast to the Big Three, Generation K is often used as an example to illustrate the risks involved with young pitchers. Isringhausen, Wilson and Pulsipher were all considered "can't miss" prospects, and yet none turned out as planned for the Mets. Other teams have attempted to stockpile young arms (notably the Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates), and have encountered similar results.