Austin Wilson, OF
6′ 4″ 210lbs 2/7/1992
Harvard-Westlake HS, CA
AZ’s snap take: As I suppress my fanboy glee — THE CARDINALS DRAFTED AUSTIN WILSON — ahem, excuse me, the round tells you what you need to know about this. It’s a flyer to give them negotiating rights with a top 20 player from the draft. Reportedly, it’s not about the money for Wilson. He and his parents want him to attend Stanford and he’s not really holding out for a certain dollar figure. Still, anything’s possible and if the Cardinals manage to sign him, he just might be the best prospect they get from the 2010 draft. Full Disclosure: I’m probably higher on Wilson than most draft followers.
MLB Draft Tracker:
Wilson not only has tremendous tools — his raw power being the best of them — he has the work ethic and character to maximize those tools. still a little bit raw, he does need to improve his overall hitting skills so he’ll be able to consistently tap into that power at the next level. He’s a sponge who soaks up information, so most feel he’ll do just fine down the road. With a plus arm and good speed, the Stanford signee could be a prototypical right fielder in due time, one who doesn’t wait long to hear his name on Draft day.
The ball comes off Wilson’s bat very well and he’ll show flashes of power in BP; his front side can go soft and in general his upper and lower halves get out of sync easily. He’s a below-average runner but has good flexibility, so overall he’s reasonably athletic. He has an above-average arm and plenty of range for right field if he demonstrates that his bat will play there. He’s a very intelligent kid with good makeup, and I haven’t met anyone who knows Wilson and has a bad word to say about him.
There is one ace in the hole for the team that does draft him, if they’re willing to pay him what he wants: Hitters who go to Stanford get worse, not better, and the recent big league hitters who’ve come out of there have done so in spite of their time in Palo Alto, not because of it. If Wilson wants to be a big leaguer and can get a million bucks or two for his trouble, he should turn pro now. College will always be there later.
Wilson has developed into the finest right-field prospect the Southern California region has seen since 2007, when Mike Stanton, the current Marlins phenom, came out of another Sherman Oaks private school (Notre Dame). Sporting a chiseled pro corner outfielder’s frame, Wilson displays a throwing arm that conservatively grades out to a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He has lowered his 60 times to around 6.78 seconds, outstanding for a player of his 6-foot-4, 210-pound size. A stress fracture in his lower back, since healed, prevented him from touring the showcase circuit last fall. Before that setback, Wilson put on some of the more impressive wood-bat batting-practice sessions local scouts have seen in years. As one example, in the fall of 2008 at JC of the Canyons in Valencia, Wilson blasted about 20 balls out of the yard, leaving jaws dropping all over the ballpark. The main on-field reservation scouts have regarding Wilson is how his bat will play in games. He struggles with pitch recognition, needs to be more patient, has difficulty with balls down in the zone and will need to avoid committing his front side too soon. Much has been made of Wilson’s background. Both of his parents hold advanced degrees from prestigious universities, and he has a Stanford commitment. He is perhaps the draft’s most fascinating wild card. He has no adviser heading into the draft and scouts were having difficulty gauging his signability.