Every Sunday, we are going to take a look at two top draft prospects in this upcoming June amateur draft. The Pittsburgh Pirates make their first selection with the 18th overall pick. They also have the 37th overall pick. Our players featured each week will be those who are ranked on prospect lists in the general area of the 18th pick, while also showing some players who could be available when the Pirates make their second pick. The first day of the draft is June 3rd. You can check out our draft preview here.
In our first Draft Prospect Watch, we took a look at pitchers Matthew Allan and Zack Thompson. That was followed by our first two position players, infielders Brett Baty and Will Holland. Last week we look at pitchers again, going with prep right-handed pitchers Daniel Espino and Jack Leiter.
Today we go back to position players, covering one college shortstop who is moving up the ranks early, and another who has been hitting well since day one at Texas A&M.
We start with North Carolina State’s Will Wilson, who was just profiled by Baseball America because he’s off to a fast start. Wilson was ranked 28th by MLB Pipeline recently and BA had him 38th at one point, but he has now moved up to 19th on their list. Keith Law had him 25th during his preseason rankings. With his current pace, that makes him an intriguing player to watch for that 18th overall pick.
Wilson is young for his draft class. He will turn 21 in late July. He stands 6’0″, 175 pounds. I’ll start of by saying that he isn’t an exciting player, which will turn some people off who would rather add risk and go for upside. His tools are pretty much average across the board, except he’s considered a slightly below average runner. What you’re getting here is a high floor middle infielder with some pop in his bat and solid defense, though he could end up at second base. He has the hands/glove for shortstop, but the foot speed limits the range and his arm is just average. If he ends up at second base, you’re still talking about someone who will hit for average and add double-digit homers each year, to go along with the solid defense.
Wilson is currently hitting .333/.420/.600 through his first 18 games (Friday night’s action). He has eight doubles, four homers and has committed just one error. He hit .307 with 15 homers last year and batted .300 as a freshman in 2017, hitting eight homers. One of the knocks against him on offense (possibly the only knock) is that he doesn’t take a lot of walks. He still drew 27 walks in 59 games last year, so it’s not a huge issue, but he already has 11 walks this season, so there seems to be some improvement.
Here are some videos, starting with batting practice and fielding from Scout Trio
Perfect Game Baseball has game action from last year
Prospect Live has a quick at-bat from this season that ends well
The second player is Braden Shewmake from Texas A&M. He stands 6’4″, 190 pounds, so he is tall for a shortstop. Like Wilson, he also has some doubts as to whether he will stick at shortstop, but he’s a more athletic player, who could end up at second base, third base or even outfield.
Shewmake is ranked 21st by MLB Pipeline, 28th by Baseball America and 22nd by Keith Law. That makes him a player to watch for each of the first two picks. He’s the type of player who would be nice at the 18th spot with a strong spring, but he would be great if you could get him 37th overall.
Shewmake’s selling point is his hit tool. He batted .327 over his first two seasons at Texas A&M and has been a very difficult hitter to strike out. He’s off to a slightly slower start this year, hitting .273/.344/.403 over his first 20 games. Shewmake hit 18 doubles and 11 homers as a freshman, but had a bit of a sophomore slump in the power department with seven doubles, four triples and five homers. He has done well on the bases, going 27-for-32 in steals over all three seasons, but his speed is average at best. He’s a very smart player, who gets the most out of tools and makes very few mistakes on the bases or in the field. He’s a solid defensive player, with average arm strength, though MLB Pipeline notes that he’s an accurate thrower, so his arm plays up.
Here are two videos. The first from Vincent Cervino has batting practice, fielding and game action.
Baseball America has batting practice, fielding and game action