We continue our countdown of top prospects here at The Good Phight, counting backwards from 20 to our top prospect.
Ethan Wilson, L/L, 21 years old
The compact Wilson is a short-levered powder keg, built like an American muscle car, and with the same sort of power. Wilson hit a whopping 17 home runs as a freshman at South Alabama but never recreated that level of output again, partially because the 2020 season was so short. He only popped eight homers in 2021, but he was seeing fewer hittable pitches as the core force in the Jaguars lineup, and also saw more changeups, the offering against which he has been the least effective. He still made a ton of contact, though, and while we re-ordered him and Painter (they were stacked back-to-back Wilson then Painter on the draft list), their FV grades remain the same. We had a late-first round grade on Wilson before the draft, but he ended up falling into the middle of the second round and signing for slot. He’s a high-probability corner platoon piece, especially for a fresh, small-conference draftee. We think he’ll move through the minors pretty quickly.
Jay: 13, Ethan: 9, Alex: 9
The Phillies drafted Wilson on the strength of his hitting projection. Most scouting community members, Fangraphs included, believe he will hit his way quickly through the minors. The basis of good hitters is of course hitting (duh) and so far, it looks like Wilson is doing that.
Digging into the Statcast data (thanks, Matt), Wilson does hit the ball hard. Over 80 balls in play in Clearwater, Wilson had an average exit velocity of 86.6 miles per hour (105 peak) and an average launch angle of 10.2 degrees. The exit velocity leaves something to be desired, but we’re also talking about a player coming off of a college season and facing perhaps the best pitching he had seen all year. He could have simply been tired.
From all that has been said about him, the team drafted a solid hitter in Wilson.