A little housekeeping up front. My last player previewed Spencer Jones, fractured his elbow pitching last week (happened before my post, but wasn’t announced until this Tuesday). I suspect it was an avulsion fracture, where a tendon instead of rupturing pops off a bit of the bone it is connected to as a way to relieve the pressure (I can’t think of another reason for a bone to break while pitching). I had also planned on previewing Daniel Espino a Prep RHP, but he’s one of the hottest draft prospects right now and won’t be around at 14 barring catastrophe. I had also thought about previewing Shea Langeliers, but he is having a very, very bad, might play himself right out of the First Round kind of season. If you have anyone you want previewed mention them in the comments and I’ll add them to my list.
Onto Wilson, a 6’0” 175lb NC State Junior, he’s a right handed hitting and throwing Shortstop. Scouting reports are mixed on where he’ll play as a pro. He’s an average runner, but there are plenty of slower players who are great shortstops (neither Andrelton Simmons nor Freddy Galvis are setting any land speed records). His range isn’t great, but he’s a smart player who positions himself well. His footwork is fine and his arm I have seen listed as Above Average to Plus (depending upon the report). He has played both Short and Second Base for NC State, so there’s little uncertainty he can play Second if the arm or range prove a problem at Short.
As a hitter Wilson has Average power with plus bat speed. I can see a guy who could hit 15-20 Homers per year in the Majors. When I look at College hitting stats the first thing I look at K:BB ratio. I ideally want a guy with more walks than K’s. Barring that, I want it as close to even as possible. Wilson’s BB rate has risen every year (to 12.6% this year), while his K rate has dropped for 18.3% as a Freshman to 14.6% this year. That’s pretty close to ideal and with him maintaining a .272 ISO it’s easy to see why his draft stock is on the rise.
The first video is courtesy of Prospects Live. This one is from a little over a month ago. It’s only 3 swings, so pay attention. I’m not a big fan of a few parts of his swing. First thing I am not huge on on is his head, as it pulls back and doesn’t look like he sees the ball all the way in. Second, he has a little bit of a bat wrap (tilting the bat behind your head when you load your hands). He doesn’t go all the way behind his head, but his bat is definitely tilted that way a little. Players do this to build power, but really it just elongates your swing and Wislon has plenty of bat speed and a good enough use of lower half he doesn’t need the wrap. He can get away with it given his bat speed.
This video is from 2080 Baseball, from last summer with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. His swing mostly looks the same as the above video, but I like that on the last pitch, with a 2-strike count he shortens his swing, no leg kick, less bat wrap and a better eye level maintained. I still have some concerns with the swing, but it shows some adjustments within an at bat and possibly the flexibility to retool the swing a little in the Pros.
Wilson’s not my favorite prospect in this class. I talked about Second Baseman profile plenty last year and my concerns with it (kind of a narrow path to the Majors, since they usually don’t have the arm or power to make a position change). I just talked above about a swing I think is kind of problematic presently, especially since hitting is his carrying tool. However, the bat has improved every year, he plays in a premier conference and faces some of the best Pitchers in the NCAA every week and picking in the middle of the first round is a traditionally risky spot. Some scouting reports suggest he has a shot at staying at Shortstop and if that’s true and the bat plays, he’d be a bit of a steal.