P.J. Hilson, Center Field
DOB: August 25, 2000
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: Drafted 6th Round (#166), 2018
LAST LEVEL: Rookie
GiantFutures Ranks: #3 Center Fielder
Performance: In 2019, Hilson spent his second season in the Rookie League, and mostly improved upon his numbers, though they still weren’t great. The .220/.310/.346 slash line stands out, as he was unable to get his bat onto the ball enough. He had a 36.5% strikeout rate, and a 8.3% walk rate. When on the bases, he began using his speed as a tool, with 13 steals in 15 attempts.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Hilson is obviously a speed and defense guy. He is one of the fastest players in the system, and is a strong center fielder with a plus arm. That alone gives him the push to continue on in the system, providing plus defense in a premium position.
But looking at the stat line also shows his ultimate weakness, his hitting. Hilson has problems making strong contact, and that reflects both in his poor batting average and his incredibly high strikeout rate. Getting on base will be the key for Hilson to become a real weapon offensively, or at least enough to carry with his defense.
2021 Outlook: Hilson could very well spend the start of his third pro season back in extended spring training. He did not go to Instructs with other top prospects, so he may need to work more. But there’s an outside chance he’ll appear in Low-A San Jose if the Giants feel he needs a push.
Future Profile: Right now, it’s hard to see Hilson as an everyday starter, even with the impressive tools he has defensively. Still, center field is a premium position, and for most teams, they could use a player like Hilson as a defensive replacement and pinch runner. That’s probably his likely future.