Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dr B's 2014 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #5 Mac Williamson

Mac Williamson, OF.  B-R, T-R, 6'5", 240 lbs.  DOB: 7/15/1990

High A:  .292/.375/504, 25 HR, 10 SB, 51 BB, 132 K in 520 AB.

Mac was the Giants 3rd round draft pick in 2012 out of Wake Forest.  After a cameo in Arizona that summer, he was assigned to Salem-Keizer where he raked NWL pitching to a slash line of .342/.392/.596 with 7 HR in 114 AB. The Giants promoted him aggressively to San Jose for his first full pro season.  There, he started off hot for his first few games but then suffered an injury diving to make a catch early on.  He missed several games and then struggled for the remainder of April and May.  He turned things around in June hitting .320 and kept getting hotter as the year went along hitting .321 in July and .356 in August.  He slashed .331/.408/.578 with 16 HR after the All Star break and hit .412 over the last 10 games of the regular season.

Williamson is an exceptional athlete who, despite being listed at 240 lbs actually looks lean! He's got speed to steal an occasional base and covers more than enough ground to play corner OF, possibly even in AT&T Park.  His arm is a cannon.  He tied for the league lead in OF assists with 15 including 3 in one game on August 31!

Mac now faces the big test that all Giants hitting prospects seem to face, the dreaded AA Eastern League.  The concern, as with all tall, lanky looking hitters is that his swing will be too long for more advanced pitching and he will have trouble controlling the strike zone.  His K rates so far, while not stellar, have been more than manageable.  Were his early season struggles in SJ due more to a nagging injury or more to adjusting to the league? How he responds to the challenge will go a long way toward telling us if Mac has a future as a middle of the order force in the Giants lineup or not.

24 comments:

  1. And that's why I love second half splits! Thanks Doc. I had not seen those #'s before.

    Do you think Sickels gives him a B?

    And are we talking Hunter Pence in right and Hunter Pence in left for the future Giants?

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    1. I'll be conservative and say that Mac's MLB ETA is 2016 by which time Angel Pagan will be in the final year of his contract and Hunter Pence will be in the 3'rd year of his 5 year deal. Who knows where Gary Brown will be? Of course, if Mac destroys AA he might challenge to take over LF from Morse/Blanco/etc in 2015! I'm going to say Mac is the likely LF of the future, but we all know a lot can happen in 2 years.

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    2. I think Mac is down near 10 on Sickels' list. Probably a B-. For the body of work he put together, he doesn't really get much love. Those 2nd half numbers were flat out dominant. I didn't realize he had so many outfield assists. That's impressive stuff. Mac would be a great candidate to break the streak of Giants homegrown outfielders. Right now, people will almost certainly look to Roger Kieschnick as a comp. I did it myself early on. Roger did have an impressive season in SJ in his pro debut as well, but he struggled mightily in Richmond. It seems to me that lefty hitters struggle quite a bit more there than righties... I don't have any hard data to back that up, but guys like Kieschnick, Noonan, Crawford and Ricky O had their fits with the EL, while Pill, Susac, Duvall and even Angel V to some extent, had very nice seasons. Obviously, Belt bucked the trend for the lefties. Maybe this is just coincidental, but I would expect Mac to have a nice season next year if Susac and Duvall could keep their power #'s going in Rich. Maybe I'll go do a little digging and come back with some #'s...

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    3. Roger K put up very similar numbers for SJ in his first full season, but then his following season in Richmond was cut short with back problems and his development has stalled/delayed a couple of times with ill-timed injuries. I'm mostly hoping for Mac to stay healthy and be able to put in a full season's worth of AB's for Richmond next year. I think the rest will likely take care of itself.

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    4. Ok, so I did some fast number crunching on the RHH vs LHH in Richmond. Here's what came out...

      The Giants moved their AA affiliate from Connecticut to Richmond in 2010, so I only included guys who actually played in Richmond. I also tried to include only players who you'd consider "prospects" at the time, so roughly ages 21-25. For guys who repeated the league, I only used the numbers from their first go-around (except for Roger K, since he was pretty banged up his first try, and he is the subject of our Mac comp anyway). With two seasons of Mac, it evens out to 10 individual seasons for lefties, and 10 for righties, all of varying plate appearances, obviously. For simplicity, I only used OPS.

      Righties:
      Duvall, Susac, Angel V (2013), Brown, Joseph (2012), Peguero, Culberson, Neal, Dominguez, Perez (2011).
      Total: 4,172 PA, .732 OPS (averaged)

      Lefties:
      Panik, Parker, Oropesa (2013), Monell, Kieschnick (2011), Kieschnick, Noonan, Belt, Crawford, Gillaspie (2010).
      Total: 4,059 PA, .725 OPS (average)

      Obviously the PA are about 100 less for the lefties, but the results weren't near as drastic as I thought. Righties do grade out slightly better though. When I have a little more time, I'd like to do a post on my site with an actual breakdown, and maybe tie in what each guy had done in San Jose prior to Richmond. Might be kind of a fun comparative piece. For the record, Mac's OPS in SJ was .879.


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    5. How about Thomas Neal as a Williamson comp ? Especially when considering performance in San Jose. Maybe reason to pump the breaks. But man those were great 2nd half splits.

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    6. My pet theory, although I have not done a systematic study on it, is it's the guys who grew up on the west coast who struggle the most in the EL. Whether it's the weather or culture or old-fashioned homesickness or maybe I'm just all wet on it, I don't know.

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    7. Although I guess Susac is a counter-example.

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  2. Mac came straight out of Wake Forest not NC State, but he was the NC HS player of the year like another big guy Ryder Jones. He just got the best work ethic award in AZ.

    Big, big test coming.

    I hope at some point people pick up on the fact the Giants are value drafting in extremely efficient ways. Mac comps to Richie Shaffer, the Rays popped him at 25, the Giants waited 90 more picks - that's the sign of a savvy organization. Ty Blach in the 5th comps well to Andrew Heaney drafted 9th overall.

    It'd be nice if Mac is the guy who breaks out the curse of the Gigantes OF prospect, we might have to light a candle to some Jamaican juju to celebrate Chili Davis.

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    1. So savvy with Williamson, but not so savvy with Brown, Panik and we'll still have to see about Arroyo/Jones.

      For you Mr. Shankbone, I saw The Big Lebowski for the first time. The Dude abides...

      Fun movie, I won't be joining the cult however.

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    2. That's like, your opinion, man...

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  3. Okay, Doc:

    Sickels list finally arrived (BRAVO!)...

    I feel the same way he does about relief prospects: (Hembree #8) "B- is a high grade for a relief prospect in my view".

    I'm a little more tepid about Mejia, especially after he got clobbered in the AFL. He's more of a wait and see prospect. I'd position Blackburn ahead of him. There seems to the expectation that Mejia will just follow in Escobar's footsteps. As they say, we'll see. Same for Arroyo, who's still just a pup. I find the notion that Arroyo is already pegged to shift to second base a bit concerting. Hope he's got some Jeff Kent in that stick.



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    1. So, you like Sickels' list better than mine? That's why we have multiple lists, I guess. If you don't like any of them out there, you can even make your own!

      As for relief prospects, all I'll say is look at the teams went deep in the postseason and look at what teams who expect to go deep this year are doing. Bullpens have become as essential to winning baseball as any position, maybe more so.

      The notion that relief pitchers aren fungible and not worth a lot may be going the way of record shops and bookstores.

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    2. It's also weighing whether a guy can make the show, which is a huge accomplishment by itself. I think way too much effort is spent on WAR and getting "value" - and with the low # of innings that pen arms pitch, the counting stat doesn't do them favors. Obviously a starting pitcher is one of the rarest and most valuable commodities. But a pen is extremely important. As we found out with Nen, Felix Rodriguez and a rusty spoon. Didn't work out so well...

      Giants pen might look a tad weak on paper right now. but they maybe trusting their farm to some degree by not going out and getting another big name. Romo has the best slider in baseball. But he is also small framed and has a fragile label. Lopez is the best loogy in baseball, but he only pitches 40 innings or so. Casilla looks good on paper, and the stats say he is good, I think he's the weak link personally. And Affeldt is an enigma, he's either very very bad or very very good. The key might be Affeldt having a return to form.

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    3. Grant, over at MCC, recently did a pen breakdown that I mostly agree with. It goes something like this:

      There are generally 7 RP slots on a 25 man roster at any given time.

      Locks(4):

      Romo- Closer.
      Lopez, Affeldt- LOOGY's
      Casilla- Setup man

      Probable Locks:

      Yusmeiro Petit- Long man/6'th starter.
      Heath Hembree- just because he needs to be a lock!

      Probably Deserves to be a Lock, but on the Bubble by Process of Elimination:

      Jean Machi- Sub 3 ERA last year.

      It's not the scariest bullpen in the world but where are you going to upgrade it, and how much are you going to pay to do it?

      The success of the pen, and possibly the Giants entire season, probably depends on hoping a lot of things go right:

      1. Romo stays healthy.
      2. Affeldt and Casilla stay healthy and regain/maintain effectiveness.
      3. Hembree taking the next step.
      4. Petit being an effective innings eater.

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    4. You went looking to MCC for a discussion of the Giants pen? Good luck with that! They still have to mention the accidental Romo DFA every other week, its in their by-laws.

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    5. Hey, if Grants says something I agree with, I agree with it. His stuff has been a bit better lately even if the comments haven't improved. Heck, sometimes Grant posts something and then the comments come along and it's like he didn't post anything at all. it just starts in off-topic from the get-go.

      Just my opinion, but he could do more to upgrade his site by simply deleting all that garbage and insisting the comments stay on topic than anything else.

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    6. I think the key is IF the starters hold up and don't wear out our bullpen arms.

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  4. disconcerting sounds better than concerting, although it wouldn't mind concerting with a good band.

    Sickel's list looks more like mine, so I dig it !

    Here you are:

    Crick-Escobar-Susac-Williamson-Blackburn-Mejia-Hembree-Law-Arroyo-Stratton

    I've even stashed another reliever in there who is on the up and ups for his filthiness. A lights out pen is wunderbar. See Louis, Saint.

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    1. Ultimately it doesn't matter whether Hembree is #3 or #8 or #15. What counts is whether he comes in and grabs a spot in the pen and dominates MLB hitters with it. I'm betting he will, but as always, there's a reason why they play the games.

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  5. What does matter is that soon enough Hembree won't have prospect status because he'll be doing his thing with the big boy pants on.

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    1. Uh, yeah, I think that's the point of all this.

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  6. Your analysis brings up a good point. Almost every year the Giants have a college draftee who did well the previous year in A+ playing against younger competition and then struggles in AA. Maybe instead of ranking college draftees highly based on their success in A+, we should start actually anticipating their struggles in AA and ranking them lower?

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