SF Giants prospects: Midseason 2021 rankings
16. Will Wilson, Infielder
Highest Level: Double-A (Richmond)
Acquired: Trade (2019)
Future-Value Grade: 40+
The Angels drafted Will Wilson in the first round of the 2019 MLB draft out of NC State. Wilson posted an underwhelming .275/.328/.439 triple-slash line even with substantial batted-ball luck (.343 BABIP) against younger competition in his first pro experience that summer. However, the SF Giants had scouted Wilson heavily leading up to the draft and jumped at the chance to acquire him in a trade the following offseason.
Wilson spent last summer at the Giants alternate site in Sacramento, where he focused on elevating more consistently. The Giants player development staff noted that Wilson hit the ball on the ground 2.5 times more often than in the air. Wilson has always recorded solid exit velocities and has above-average power potential. They believed a swing change could help unlock his bat.
Those adjustments have paid dividends this season. Wilson began the year at High-A Eugene and hit .251/.339/.497 with 14 doubles and 10 home runs in 49 games. While his groundball rates rose after a promotion to Double-A, they remain significantly lower than they were in college and with the Angels. With that said, Wilson has struggled in the pitcher-friendly Double-A Northeast, hitting .201/.297/.338 in 175 plate appearances.
Wilson looked particularly overmatched in his first month at Double-A, where he struck out in 52 of his first 137 plate appearances. However, he is trending upwards, hitting .382/.462/.706 over his last 10 games with just six strikeouts in 39 plate appearances.
After moving around the diamond at the alternate site last year, the Giants player development staff have let Wilson play almost exclusively shortstop this season. Assuming his hit and power tools reach league average, he’ll probably end up a starter at second base. However, if either one stall, Wilson might be limited to a platoon/utility role where he’ll have to rely on defensive versatility. He should be competent enough to play short on occasion and projects to be an average defender at second and third.