Will Wilson, SS
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: Trade from Angels (Dec. 2019) with Zack Cozart for PTBNL (Garrett Williams)
DRAFTED: 2019, 1st Round (by Angels)
LAST LEVEL: Double-A
GiantFutures 2022 Ranks: #1 Super-Utility, #16 Overall
Performance: After the Giants traded for him in December of 2019, Will Wilson had to wait a long time to make his Giants debut. After a Spring where Wilson was heavily used with the big league club, he went on to a regular season that was frustrating and confusing.
Wilson started the year as one of three first round picks with the High-A Eugene Emeralds, and he had the best year out of any of them, though that was to a .251/.339/.497 batting line across 49 games, which wasn’t pretty but wasn’t bad. That led to an early July call-up to Double-A Richmond, where Wilson just truly struggled, spending just a few days of the rest of the year batting over even .200, seeing his power get sapped, and striking out once every 2.4 at-bats.
And yet, despite the struggles, the Giants kept Wilson at the level, and not at any point giving him a demotion or time off to make adjustments like the team did for other struggling top prospects, like Patrick Bailey or Seth Corry. Wilson stayed at Double-A through all the struggles.
Notable was Wilson’s positional usage. In the Spring, the Giants used Wilson all over the infield, but when he got to Eugene, Wilson played 42 games at shortstop, with four at second base. In Richmond, he also spent the majority of his time at short (48 games) with three at third base. But in the Arizona Fall League, Wilson went back to a utility role, even making a few starts at all three outfield positions.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Wilson has often been described as a player with no real standout tool, but no deficiencies, though some holes were discovered in 2021. His biggest strengths are his overall athleticism and his power, as he could be a 20-home run hitter but also hits a done of line drives for doubles. While he’s not a pure athlete with speed, he handled himself all over the diamond well, including time at center field, though he’s not an elite defender anywhere.
This season, however, his contact tool really showed some holes. Especially in Double-A, he was attacked inside and had problems even making contact against fastballs. When he did make contact in the past, he usually barreled it. There were some reports of fatigue, as this was Wilson’s first full season, so he could come back stronger for 2022 just from that.
2022 Outlook: It really says how much he’s believed in that the Giants held Wilson at a level he struggled with. Wilson will likely go back to Richmond for 2022. The more curious question will be, will the team push him to play other positions more, or continue to give most of his regular season starts at shortstop? I assume it’ll be more variation.
Future Profile: At the moment, with his contact hitting, it’s hard to profile Wilson anywhere as a regular starter. His positional versatility makes him valuable, especially for matchups, so a super-utility bench role seems pretty likely.