In our third installment of top prospects who have happened to play in the Valley League, we have Mac Williamson (Harrisonburg 2011)!
Mac has been named a top San Francisco prospect by at least four outlets- except Baseball America. (By the way, Baseball America did not name a single Valley League alumnus to their thirty team prospect lists!)
Let’s take a look. First, Mac was named a player who is “just interesting” by Baseball Prospectus:
If you’ve followed the Giants closely, you probably know that developing outfielders hasn’t exactly been the team’s strong suit. It’s not terribly likely, but Williamson has the best chance of becoming an outfield regular in years. There’s plus power in his right-handed bat thanks to his size and natural loft, and he has the extension necessary to hit line drives to every part of the field. Having the tool only goes so far, however, as Williamson gets extremely pull-happy, and the swing’s length and lack of bat speed mean he’s going to strike out. A lot. His arm is plus and he’s a deceptively good athlete, so if he can hit enough you could justify playing him every day in right field. It’s far more likely he’s a lefty-killer off the bench.
Next, mlb.com named Mac the 7th best prospect in San Francisco’s system:
Originally recruited as a pitcher, Williamson had shoulder surgery before ever taking the mound for Wake Forest and blossomed into a 2012 third-round pick as an outfielder. He led Giants farmhands with 25 homers in his first full pro season before arm problems struck again, requiring Tommy John surgery that cost him most of 2014. He rebounded last year to make his big league debut and help Scottsdale win the Arizona Fall League title while finishing third in hitting (.370) and on-base percentage (.442).
At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Williamson has plenty of strength and power to all fields. His swing gets long because of his size and he isn’t loaded with bat speed, so he may not hit for a high average. However, he does a nice job of working counts to get pitches he can drive and he doesn’t strike out excessively.
A good athlete for his size, Williams has close to average speed and gets the job done on the outfield corners. His arm strength bounced back after his elbow reconstruction and he makes accurate throws. Club officials praise him as one of the hardest workers and best leaders in the system.
If you watch OF Mac Williamson when he gets a hold of a fastball in the middle of the plate, he looks like a rock star, sure thing power hitter that can overcome his otherwise below-average profile to be an everyday player. Then he gets a breaking ball, and the little bit of lift he has in his swing and his ability to square the ball up goes away. The book on him arrived in the big leagues before he did, and more than half the pitches he saw against major league pitching did something other than go straight and fast. He could still have a role player future if his power shows up more in games.
Lastly, John Sickels named Mac #11:
Grade C+: Age 25, hit .275/.368/.433 with 13 homers, 51 walks, 108 strikeouts in 448 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A. Power is best tool, not as athletic overall as (Jarrett) Parker but two years younger, also has a chance to be an efficient role player.
Well, “lefty-killer,” “hardest workers and best leaders,” and “efficient role player” is not a terrible way to go, eh? Mac is currently having a very good spring for the Giants, so I’m interested to see what the front office decides. Mac might be best suited to be a designated hitter in the American League, but we’ll see what happens with the young man.