Player: Austin Wilson
Drafted by: Seattle Mariners (No. 49 Overall)
DOB: 2/7/1992 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’5”/245 lbs
Previously Drafted: 2010, St. Louis Cardinals (12th round)
Austin Wilson carried legitimate first-round buzz as a high school senior after he impressed scouts over the summer on the showcase circuit with his highly projectable blend of athleticism and tools.
However, all throughout the spring Wilson made it clear that he intended to honor his commitment to Stanford. And as a result, the then-18-year-old was passed over by every team numerous times until the St. Louis Cardinals ultimately took a flier on him in the 12th round.
So Wilson went to Stanford as planned in 2011 where he made an immediate impact as a freshman by batting .311 with five home runs in 196 at-bats, but also posted an ugly 56/7 K/BB rate. Still, the fact that he was relatively successful only fueled his prospect stock.
After struggling in the Cape Cod League over the summer (.204 BA), Wilson showed signs of putting it all together as a sophomore, batting .285 with 10 home runs and improving his strikeout-to-walk rate. The 6’4”, 245-pound outfielder continued to make significant developmental strides in his second stint in the Cape, this time batting .312 with six home runs in 23 games.
Headed into the spring, Wilson was once regarded as a likely first-round draft pick. However, he unfortunately suffered a right elbow injury (stress reaction) during Stanford’s opening series against Rice and didn’t return to the field until early April. That being said, he still returned with enough time remaining in the season to ensure his selection on Day 1 of the draft.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is average, with the current score first and projected score second.
Despite massive frame and present strength, Wilson has an effortless and well-balanced swing; refined approach over the last year has resulted in a more favorable hit tool projection; unfortunately features the classic, contact-geared Stanford swing; direct bat path; has eliminated a lot of swing-and-miss from his game; strikeout and walk rates finally moving in convergent direction; bat should be slightly above-average at maturity; natural swing results in hard contact up the middle and to the opposite field; stays inside the ball well; yet to demonstrate ability to consistently turn on the ball.
Possesses exceptional strength; plus bat speed thanks to quick, strong wrists; plus-plus power potential; still relies too much on sheer strength of upper body; high load with hands prevents him from exploding through the zone; should start to tap into his delivery with improved use of legs, core; can absolutely crush the ball; in-game power utility is the biggest concern regarding his offensive projection; some concern whether he’ll ever make enough contact to showcase consistent power; needs to start pulling more balls; working with a professional (non-Stanford) hitting coach should help get more weight off his backside.
Moves better than expected considering his linebacker-like build; has lost a step since high school due to inevitable physical maturation; long strides allow him to effectively gain and cover ground; not a great runner, but certainly not a base-clogger; speed will always be tied to his health.
Prototypical right field profile; has the athleticism and instincts to man center field in a pinch; fluid actions despite size; average range is best suited for a corner spot; will be interesting to see if previous injuries impact his playing style.
Legitimate plus arm that’s ideal for right field; could conceivably be a plus-plus tool if he fully recovers from spring arm/elbow injury; gets on top of the ball from a high release point; generates phenomenal carry with decent accuracy.
MLB Player Comparison: Giancarlo Stanton; Dave Winfield
Projection: High-risk college player; low floor; ceiling of an occasional All-Star; 30 HR/20 SB potential in his prime; multiple Silver Slugger awards.
MLB ETA: 2016
Chances of Signing: 95%