Sunday, December 27, 2015

DrB's 2016 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #4 Mac Williamson

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

AA:  .293/.366/.429, 5 HR, 3 SB, 8.6 BB%, 18.3 K%, 290 PA.
AAA:  .249/.370/.439, 8 HR, 1 SB, 11.5 BB%, 24.2 K%, 227 PA.
MLB:  .219/.235/.281, 0 HR, 0 SB, 0.0 BB%, 23.5 K%, 34 PA.
AFL:  .370/.442/.493, 2 HR, 1 SB, 12.8 BB%, 12.8 K%, 86 PA.

Williamson was drafted in 2012, round 3, #115 overall.  He as a slugging OF in college, but with a BA under .300, but his peripherals looked promising.  He looked like he might be on the fast track when he hit .292 with 25 HR's in his first full pro season for San Jose in 2013.  Unfortunately, he missed most of the 2014 season due to a torn UCL which ultimately required Tommy John surgery.  He was already a bit on the older side for a prospect, so had a lot of ground to make up in 2015.  He did his part by logging a total of 627 PA's between the 4 above listed stops and that does not count a 2 week mid-season stint on Team USA.

Big Mac would qualify as being at least a 4 tool player.  He hits, hits for power, has a cannon for an arm(at least before his TJ surgery) and catches the ball.  Although he'll never steal 20 bases which probably keeps us from counting running as a plus tool, he is not slow and can easily cover a conventional corner OF, but that probably limits him to LF in SF.

The Giants may yet add a LF to their offseason shopping cart, but as it stands now, their decision to go after pitching first, gives Mac an opening to grab the job in 2016.  Gregor Blanco is the nominal starter on the depth chart, but the Giants would prefer him to continue in a  4'th OF role and he will likely be needed for at least part of the season in CF.  That leaves an opportunity for one out of a trio of Kyle Blanks, Jarrett Parker and Mac to step up and take over the starting role.  Of those 3, Mac seems to me to have the top long term ceiling, so I am rooting for him to end up with the role by the end of the season.

As for what that ceiling is, I could see him putting up Pat Burrell type numbers with BA's between .240 and .270 with 30 dingers.  But what if he is a better hitter than that?  He has shown the ability to hit for higher average in the minors.  A .280-.300 BA with those 30 dingers would make him one of the top hitters in the game.  ETA is, of course, 2016.

I think you could make a reasonable case for any of my top 5 Giants prospects to be #1.  Big Mac might actually have the strongest case.  Not only does he have the high ceiling, but he is on the doorstep of the majors and he has performed well on the field at all levels.  The trifecta of prospect rankings!  The two negatives would be a question about whether his power is usable at the MLB level and his relatively advanced age.


  1. Many are enthusiastic about Mac, and hope he blows up, but I don't have the same excitement.
    For all the talk about he power, the results haven't been there since he was in San jose. Can we really project him to double his hr total from this year, at 25?

    Maybe I'm scarred by my old thomas neal dreams, but I'll keep my expectations low.

    Hope I'm wrong!

    1. Since he was in San Jose? You do realize that he missed most of 1 year after San Jose and then 2015 was the next season, his first season back after the layoff, right? I would say 15 HR's while shaking off the rust, playing the first half of the season in the EL in the cold part of the season, and acclimating to several different environments is darn impressive. Oh, and he did hit .293 for Richmond which is no easy feat in that league. Man, you are one tough guy to please!

      I would add that Thomas Neal was ultimately done in by bad shoulders which is a far cry from a single TJ surgery.

    2. You are comparing how he hit 25 HR in San Jose in 597 PA. That is not a very good comparison. He hit 8 HR in AAA 227 PA with much superior pitching. He hit 5 HR in AA 290 PAs while maintaining a .293 BA in an extreme pitcher's league. Those are great numbers. Take into consideration that he missed a whole year and those numbers are comparable to San Jose with the weighted talent he had to face at the higher levels. I think if we gave him 350-400 PA at the major league level he could probably hit around .270 with around 10-15 HR. That would be more HR than Pagan and Blanco combined even in a relief role. I for one believe he and Blanco could make a great platoon.

    3. I would go along with a projection of 10-15 HR's next year, but I still project is ceiling at around 30.

    4. Agreed. Ceiling will be around 30. I meant 10-15 in platoon role.

  2. I have heard a lot of griping about Mac's "lack of performance" in 2015 as well, which tells me people really aren't taking everything into account. I like to compare his #'s in Richmond to Brandon Crawford's. At age 23, BCraw hit .241/.337/.366 with 7 HR in 291 AB. Mac hit .293/.366/.429 with 5 HR (as you noted above) in 259 AB. Hitting near .300 in that environment is quite impressive, regardless of the power numbers (which naturally increased in Sacramento).

    I am one of those who sees Mac as a guy who will surprise with his ability to hit for average. I truly can see him settling comfortably into the .270-.285 range during his peak years. Combine that with his 25-HR potential and athleticism in the outfield, you've got a very nice prospect. I can't blame the Giants for wanting to bolster their outfield, but if they do make a significant acquisition, I really hope it's for someone who can slide over to CF when Pagan leaves (or when he gets hurt). I think Mac could have a very bright future in SF if he gets the opportunity.

    Cove Chatter

    1. Exactly. I would add that if the Giants have the cashish to bring in a Cespedes or Upton and turn LF over to them for the next 5 years, I can't really complain. Anything less, then I do hope it is on a short term deal that won't block Big Mac, because I think he can do more than hold down the position for at least the 6 years his contract would be controlled by the Giants.

    2. Say, DrB, I have been wondering and feeling more like there is a possibility that the Giants might sign one of the QO outfielders to a one year deal, with no QO by Giants allowed, so that the player could try again next season. The Giants have backloaded enough payroll to stay within their cash basis payroll target of 170's even if they sign someone to contract up to $15M or so, by my calculations. And they already lost their first rounder so another QO signee won't hurt as much. And, who knows, maybe backload this guy too in order to spread it into years with open budget. What do you think?

      This would give us an upgrade this season, but still leave open LF and CF going forward. And if they like the guy, could sign him long term at that point. Meanwhile, going for it all in 2016, to keep the even year thing going.

      And are you tired of that? We didn't win in 2008, so the even year thing is not really a thing. I thought it was cute at first but now it seems ridiculous to me, I'm even seeing national writers bring it up. Ugh!

    3. The only guy I see with a QO whose market may tank enough to accept a deal like that is Dexter Fowler and I'm not sure how much of an upgrade he is. Backloading a longer contract does not help them avoid the Luxury Tax in 2016 because that is calculated on AAV.

      And yeah, I'm tired of the even year meme, but if it's a motivator for the Giants for 2016, then it's OK with me. In my experience, once something like that becomes a "thing", it takes on a life of it's own. You start to get a bunch of bandwagoners and it usually(actually always) ends in disappointment.

    4. I could see Upton taking a one year deal. He's young enough that if he re-entered the market next year, he'd still be giving a team peak years. Cespedes and Gordon are probably too old to bank on doing a short deal then coming back for another go around.

    5. Sorry for not being clearer, but the back loading is only to afford this season per cash payroll, not to avoid the tax. If it is a one year deal, any backloading has zero effects, the full amount counts for that season. That's the reason why they call it Actual Payroll Amount in the CBA.

      But backloading can leave space to spent on acquiring player in trade mid season.

  3. The only big contract I could see is Gordon. Giants love defense and he is the best of the bunch. I was surprised to see that in the last 5 years only Trout, McCutchen and Bautista were worth more than Gordon. Thats pretty impressive company. I could see a 4 year deal with a vesting option for a fifth year if he gets desperate and the Giants will wait it out to see if he or other free agents stock drops. They don't look like they are in a hurry.

    1. Gordon has indeed been incredibly valuable over the past 5 years. On the other hand, a large part of his value has come from his D which may not age all that well. I honestly hope it's not him.

      Upton always seems to put up nice looking stat lines. I guess I have seen him nonchalant too many plays on D and turn what should have been outs into multiple base errors for me to be too enthusiastic about him.

      Cespedes can be awesome, but he is streaky as heck and a bit too much of a hot dog for SF's style.

      I would take either Cespedes or Upton on a 5 year deal, but not so much Gordon.

    2. Agreed. That the Royals are fresh off their World Series victory, yet unwilling to even come close to meeting Gordon's reported demand says a lot about what they think his aging curve will be like. Cespedes has a bad reputation, deserved or not, and is portrayed as a rock star by his rock star agency, making him an unlikely fit in the Giants clubhouse. And Upton, despite his talent, strikes me as a player whose performance and career could take a sharp and permanent nosedive sometime during his next long term contract. I would love for Mac to be the next Giants prospect to confound the experts by exceeding expectations.

    3. DrB, I wouldn't mind Upton but his AT&T numbers are horrific. Over 200 AB and a .238 BA with only 3 HR. However, maybe being on the home team could change things. Either way I think Upton or Gordon would be decent pickups.

    4. Upton has said before that he hates hitting at ATT, it would take a huge overpay to get him. Would hate for him to go the way of his brother after signing a huge contract.

  4. I don't see Gordon, Cespedes, nor Upton as a fit in the Giants outfield. I believe the Giants value pitching above all else, unless their is a hitting talent who wants to come home.

    So none of the above are going to move Giant's management to open their wallet and pay these guys because

    Gordon: excellent defense, but I think Williamson and maybe Parker will give you comparable numbers next year and better numbers going forward. Williamson, Parker, and Blanco will give you comparable or better defense.

    Cespedes: He may produce better numbers, but you have to live with him in the clubhouse. I'd rather not throw the money away and let the youths show us what they have. Offense and power is not the Giants problem.

    Upton: He would flop in SF and he knows it. He needs a friendly park.

    The outfield issue is CF. The Giants are focusing on CF. If they can't get someone who can play LF this year and take over CF next year at their price they will move, if not they will stand pat.

    The issue to be addressed is CF and leadoff.

    1. You make several assertions here that I don't necessarily agree with. I don't believe I have seen anything that Bobby Evans or Sabes has said about focusing on CF. In fact, Bochy has said that Pagan is the CF and I heard Evans say on MLB channel that he thinks Pagan will have a good season in the last year of his contract.

      You might be able to make a case for Blanco giving you comparable numbers to Gordon, but Williamson and Parker are both very unproven commodities. If you go by available projections, the notion that they are likely to be comparable to Gordon just doesn't hold up. I think it is fairly clear that any of the big 3 FA's would likely be a significant upgrade to LF for 2016. It's the length of contracts, busting through the Luxury Tax Threshold and size of total financial commitment that would make me hesitate.

      I do think the Giants can get by with some combination of Blanco, Blanks, Parker and Williamson in LF and do not have to upgrade in the way they had to upgrade their rotation.

  5. Mac Williamson's placement on Doc's Top 50:

    2013: 16th
    2014: 5th
    2015: 5th
    2016: 4th