Thursday, January 3, 2013

DrB's 2013 Giants Top 50 Prospects #16: Mac Williamson

Mac Williamson, OF.  DOB:  7/15/1990.  6'4", 240 lbs.  B-R, T-R.

NCAA:           .286/.396/.589, 17 HR, 12 SB in 192 AB.

Rookie AZL:  .176/.263/.529, 2 HR in 17 AB.

Short Season:  .321/.392/.596, 7 HR in 114 AB.

Johnathan Mackensey "Mac" Williamson is the latest in a line of high ceiling low floor college sluggers drafted in rounds 2-5 by the Giants.  He was their 3'rd round selection out of Wake Forest in the 2012 draft.  He wasn't on my radar prior to the draft, probably because I pretty much write off college players with a sub-.300 BA.  The way I figure it, any player who can't maintain a BA of at least .300 with metal bats is probably going to end up somewhere down around the Mendoza Line trying to use wood.  Of course, scouting has to be worth something and the Giants have shown a willingness and ability to make adjustments post-draft to bring out a players upside.

Despite his impressive size, Williamson may just be a true 5 tool player.  Here's an excerpt from his BA pre-draft scouting report:  "He puts out plus-plus raw power from his 6'4", 240 lb frame.  It comes with some swing-and-miss and scouts have reservations about his ability to hit, but he has toned down his strikeouts a little this season and walked at a solid rate.  He plays center field for Wake Forest and runs well, but he fits best in right.  He has a strong arm that would profile well there."

So, the 5 tools of baseball are running(check), catching(check), throwing(check), hitting(maybe), hitting for power(double check!).  Williamson started to put an emphatic check on the hit tool with an impressive all around performance in Salem-Keizer where he kept his K rate well below 20% and hit for both average and power.

Given the Giants history of placement for college hitters drafted in the top 5 rounds and his performance in S-K, I would anticipate Williamson starting 2013 in San Jose.  I thought about placing him a lot higher on the list, but ultimately decided to be conservative and see if he could come close to duplicating his pro debut at the next level before ranking him in the top 10.  Again, gotta love the upside here and the depth it gives the Giants in their farm system.  RH bats with that kind of power are as rare as hen's teeth in MLB these days.


  1. I like Mac! Considered a reach by some on draft day, I really like the Giants attitude of drafting the guy they want when they want with no regard to consensus. You have great points: right handed power IS rare as hen's teeth. Its something we could use. I believe Mac is a 5-tool talent, IF the hit tool comes along. His limiting his Ks in S/K was a good start. Big test this year. Way to early, but he might be one of those rare mid-season promotion guys if he succeeds in SJ. I think he has the biggest chance to zoom like Belt did, but who knows, he has to hit first. One thing that is different than Belt: he has a very short compact powerful swing. Its really nice. The speed is more of a once underway, but I think he could be a good RF at the Bell. IF the hit tool can come along. So far, so good.

  2. I wonder if "drafting the guy they want when they want with no regard to consensus" is a lesson from the 2009 draft. Prior to that draft, it was assumed that the Giants will draft Wheeler or Matzak (spelling?). A few days before the actual draft, there were some rumblings about the Giants wanting Mike Trout. There were a few messages on the internet about how the Giants don't know what they are doing, especially with respect to position players, and that drafting Trout would be a major overdraft/mistake. When the Giants actually drafted Wheeler, all's right with the world again. However, if the rumblings were real, is the Giants front office using this as a lesson learned?

    Here is a link to a hindsight article that mentions the Giants looking at drafting Trout.

    1. As noted below, the Giants have a long history under Sabean of drafting ahead of consensus (as defined by BA's ranking). I would also note that the Giants ended up signing Wheeler to a $3.3M (if memory serves...) bonus, not far from the rumored Trout amount, so it would appear that they decided that Wheeler was the better bet.

      I would also note that the Northeast is where Sabean came up as a coach then scout, so it would not surprise me if his scouts and contacts in the area had seen Trout and were very familiar with him. Unfortunately, not familiar enough. :^)

      Too bad his agent had to float that rumor, it definitely costed Trout a World Series ring since he most probably would have been on the Giants in 2012. But without Wheeler, I wonder what the Giants would have done in 2011, trade Brown? Especially if they had Wheeler. Or maybe they don't select Brown if they had Wheeler.

    2. Ooops, I meant to say Trout when I wrote Wheeler in the last two sentences: "Especially if they had Trout, who is now playing CF, Brown's position. Or maybe they don't even select Brown if they had Trout already, maybe they go for another player."

      Or who knows, they supposedly go for BPA, so maybe they pick Brown anyway and he would have been traded instead in 2011, since there would be no Wheeler and Brown was the other name in the deal.

  3. I like his name, it reminds me of Willie Mac (Mac Willie?).

    He is one of a long line of reaches the Giants have made with 2nd and 3rd round picks. Nate the Great was one of the head scratchers, and so is Mac, who, as far as I could tell, almost everyone thought was a reach (I do not recall anyone thinking he was third round material).

    The Giants have generally drafted counter to the Baseball America ranking of prospects, I analyzed it once and found that the Giants often selected prospects at least one round (30 picks) earlier than one would think given BA's ranking. Even Matt Cain was considered a reach in his selection. That was a while ago and before Barr, but generally that still seems to be true.

    Wow, did not recall that he is considered even close to a 5-tool talent. I did not recall that he played CF once. Then again, for some reason I had in my mind that he played 3B. Ooops!

    Wow, nice hitting on his part for Salem-Keizer. Though I would note that he was 22 YO basically for the season (it is considered his 21 YO season, but he turned 22 on July 15th, just after the cut-off of June 30th) and the average age for the league was 21.0 for hitters, 21.3 for pitchers, so he had a bit of an age advantage, I would note.

    Still, his contact rate was just short of 85% (had 2 extra strikeouts, putting him roughly at 83%) and he has a history of being able to take walks (his OBP was elite despite him not hitting .300 in college). And, of course, all his lovely homers. Oddly, though, his LD% and FB% were low in S-K, he was more of a groundball hitter there, despite all the power he showed. Not sure what to make of that.

    The average age in Cal League is approximately 23 YO, so San Jose does seem to be a good placement for Mac, a bit of a challenge but close enough in age that he should not be overwhelmed in his first pro season. Given SJ's strikeout tendencies, it would be interesting to see whether he can continue his good contact skills in the higher league. That would bode well for any Brandon Belt comparisons and zooming up, as his power should show up at any league he plays in, I think. If he could do that, he could reach the majors by 2014, but more realistically, 2015-16 is when he'll more likely reach the majors.

    1. Williamson was a redshirt junior at Wake Forest so that would explain why he would be a bit older than the average college junior draftee. Turning 22 at the time of the draft isn't all that old though. Hope to see him playing with SJ in 2013 so I can see him in person.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.