The 21st chapter of the 2023 Willie McCovey Memorial Community Prospect List has come and passed, as we near the halfway mark of our quest to rank the top 44 prospects in the San Francisco Giants organization. Coming in at No. 21 is infielder Will Wilson, who drops just three spots from his place on last year’s list.
Wilson is the first player on this year’s list who wasn’t a Giants draftee or international signing. Instead, he was a first-round pick by the Los Angeles Angels in 2019, taken No. 15 overall, five selections after San Francisco nabbed Hunter Bishop (suffice to say, having two first-round picks in the draft and neither making our top 20 is not what the Giants had in mind). Just a few months after the draft, the Giants made the kind of move we all hope they make more times: they traded for Wilson, with the “return” being the willingness to eat the final year of Zack Cozart’s deal (fun fact: the Giants designated Cozart for assignment before the 2020 season was postponed/truncated, which guaranteed him his entire contract for the year, which made him the highest-paid Giant in 2020).
But enough about Cozart. Wilson had a good 2022, but it was cut short by injuries. He began the year with AA Richmond, and put up decent numbers, hitting .225/.324/.445, good for a 109 wRC+. His 12 home runs in 219 plate appearances in a pitcher-friendly environment shows some good power.
He earned a promotion to AAA Sacramento, where he only played in 10 games before getting injured. He struggled in those games (.182/.250/.242, 25 wRC+ in 36 plate appearances) before beating the brakes off of the rookie league during rehab (.500/.588/.750, 257 wRC+ in 34 plate appearances), and then finishing the season back in Richmond.
He has a good-not-great glove that can handle multiple positions — he played mostly second base and shortstop last year, but dabbled at third base — so his path to the Majors is almost surely as a utility infielder. His midseason promotion suggests the Giants are fairly high on him, but given his age and Minor League status, 2023 might be a make or break year for him. If he hasn’t made it to the Majors by the end of the year, it might be the last we see of him in a Giants jersey. I’d expect him to start in Sacramento, where he’ll have the opportunity to jump to the front of the infield depth line.
One thing to watch about Wilson in 2023: despite being a right-handed hitter, he was red hot against righties in Richmond last year (.817 OPS), but struggled against lefties (.595 OPS). One of those numbers will likely correct itself this year, and which number it is could determine Wilson’s future.
Now on we march!
The list so far
- Kyle Harrison — LHP
- Marco Luciano — SS
- Casey Schmitt — 3B
- Luis Matos — CF
- Vaun Brown — OF
- Grant McCray — CF
- Aeverson Arteaga — SS
- Carson Whisenhunt — LHP
- Reggie Crawford — LHP/DH
- Patrick Bailey — C
- Mason Black — RHP
- Heliot Ramos — OF
- Eric Silva — RHP
- Jairo Pomares — OF
- Cole Waites — RHP
- Keaton Winn — RHP
- R.J. Dabovich — RHP
- Tyler Fitzgerald — INF
- Ryan Murphy — RHP
- Landen Roupp — RHP
- Will Wilson — INF
Note: Clicking on the above names will link to the CPL where they were voted onto the list.
On to No. 22!
No. 22 prospect nominees
Rayner Arias — 16.9-year old OF, yet to debut
Tristan Beck — 26.7-year old RHP, 4.28 FIP in AAA (97.1 IP), 3.34 FIP in AA (14 IP)
Will Bednar — 22.7-year old RHP, 6.26 FIP in Low-A (43 IP)
Trevor McDonald — 21.11-year old RHP, 3.30 FIP in High-A (11 IP), 3.74 FIP in Low-A (90.1 IP)
Adrian Sugastey — 20.3-year old C, 79 wRC+ in Low-A (340 PAs)
Note: Each player’s first name links to their Baseball-Reference page, and their last name links to their Fangraphs page.
Reminder: voting is now in the comments!