2013 Phillies Draft Preview - Austin Wilson, OF

Oh my God, oh my god, oh my God. Rube you need to draft him, we have a picture and everything. - Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE

He's a Stanford product which may play to Ruben, given the Phillies draft a lot from California (frankly, who doesn't?) and it's his alma mater. Wilson can play though, so this isn't just a chance for Ruben to wander down memory lane with a draft pick.

Austin Wilson passes the eyeball test. He's a 6'5" 245 lb Right Fielder with a plus arm. He bats and throws Right Handed. If you went to Central Casting and said "I want a guy who looks like the best athlete on the team. A guy who Michaelangelo would have chisled in granite. A guy viewers would instantly believe is a star athlete" You'd leave with a headshot and bio of Austin Wilson. It hasn't always translated to game performance though.

Wilson isn't without substantial red flags. A stress reaction in his elbow, which is a fairly minor injury but kept him out several weeks early this season. He then started slow when he came back, but has rebounded since with solid, if unspectacular numbers.

The biggest red flag with Wilson is that he is a hitter at Stanford. Let me explain a bit. Stanford stresses contact and line drive hitting, while stressing to their players not to pull the ball. Many Stanford players end up with long swings and struggle tapping into their power by driving balls away so frequently (to this end, Wilson, despite his size and power potential has only 20 HR's in 3 years over 500 AB). This means Wilson will likely need to do a good bit of work on his mechanics after he's drafted to get more lift and less length in his swing.

To Wilson's benefit, he has shown a willingness to take pitches (both literally and figuratively. He has a 10% walk rate, post Freshman year, and has been plunked 25 times). He doesn't strike out very often (that contact thing Stanford preaches), but his long swing will leave him susceptible to off speed pitches as he moves up the ladder in the Minors.

Defensively, Wilson is athletic enough to play Right field (Similar to John Mayberry he may even be able to play a passsable Center Field if absolutely needed) with plenty of arm. Scouting Reports range from a 60-70 score on his throwing arm. He may eventually need to move to First, but that's probably a decade from now, so hardly worth worrying about. He probably has enough present speed to steal somewhere from 12 -20 bases. Not great, but enough to note it as an average to slightly above-average skill.

Austin Wilson has more videos than Van Halen. I'm going to cherry pick a bit, lest this post become insanely long. First up, a Bullpen Banter video of Wilson taking BP this spring. Wilson is kind of a bee hive of activity prior to swinging. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just a not that he has a bat wiggle, hand movement and he dances a bit in the box. The swing itself isn't awful. Plenty of bat speed should generate power, if he adds some lift.

Here's one from the same source with fielding, BP and game at bats. UCLA seems to work him down and in (And down the middle of the back in the second AB) and he never seems to make great contact here. This is from 2012 and his BP swings look a bit different and his game swing here does look a little long and loopy.

Who doesn't love a triple with some fairly awkward baserunning at the end? (Was the coach actually instructing him to slide when he looked to be 3 feet from the bag? Wilson didn't seem sure either.) Video from mkalbis, by the way taken during the 2012 Cape Cod League, where Wilson was rated a top perfomer by BA and Perfect Game.

I'm a sucker for seeing these guys interviewed and this one is actually a nice talk about some hitting strategy and adjustments. From 2012. Courtesy Stanford Athletics.

Last video. A double down the line. Nice swing on this one and since he doesn't pull the ball all the time, no defender is near it.

No joke, there may be 20 or 30 more videos of Wilson on youtube. If the Phillies were to pick him, you could spend a whole lot of time watching those videos, taking screenshots and MSPainting Phillies unis on him, etc. Just make sure your search includes either "baseball" or "stanford", lest you get the Nebraska Football player of the same name.

So where does that leave us? If I had to project Wilson, I'd say his floor is probably similar to Mayberry as a 4/5th Outfielder type, while his ceiling could be as high as Jason Heyward's is. This is not the best of drafts to have a mid-first round pick as it's not really strong, especially for College bats. This one does seem to play into Rube's wheelhouse, plus the Org. has been preaching the need to make contact, cut down on K's and Wilson literally comes from that school of hitting.

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