Will Wilson

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Will Bradley Wilson

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Biographical Information[edit]

Shortstop Will Wilson was the 15th player selected in the 2019 amateur draft, taken by the Los Angeles Angels out of North Carolina State University. In three seasons with the Wolfpack, he had batted over .300 each year, and had hit 15 and 16 homers as a sophomore and junior respectively, to distinguish himself as one of the top college hitters available in that year's draft. He was also named the Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year in 2019. He signed quickly with the Angels, for a bonus of $3.4 million, slightly below slot value.

He played 46 games for the Orem Owlz of the Pioneer League in his first pro season, hitting .275/.328/.439. These would turn out to be his only games in the Angels system, however, as on December 10th, he was traded to the San Francisco Giants along with washed-up major league SS Zack Cozart in return for minor league veteran P Garrett Williams. It was a really strange trade, since the Giants quickly released Cozart, and Williams never even played in the Angels' system, due to the COVID-19 pandemic which wiped out the 2020 minor league season, then was picked up on waivers by the St. Louis Cardinals after that year. It seems that the Angels were really desperate about ridding themselves of Cozart's remaining financial commitment, amounting to $12.7 million, to the point of giving up a top prospect in order to do so. With the Giants, Wilson joined up with NC State teammate and close friend Patrick Bailey, selected 13th overall in the 2020 amateur draft; a third member of that team, LhP Nick Swiney was selected in the 2nd round by the Giants that same year, making the following spring's minor league camp a sort of college reunion. In any case, after the forced inactivity of 2020, Wilson started 2021 with the Eugene Emeralds of the High-A West and by early July had made it to the Double-A Northeast with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Between the two teams, he hit .220/.310/.402 in 101 games, having done very well at Eugene (10 of his 15 homers were hit there) while struggling at the higher level. After the season, he spent time in the Arizona Fall League. There had always been a question whether he would stick at shortstop given he has below-average speed, and the sojourn in Arizona was an opportunity to test him out at a variety of other positions, with most scouts thinking he would eventually end up at second base.

Injuries marred his 2022 campaign, as he was limited to 52 games with Richmond and another 10 with the AAA Sacramento River Cats, in addition to a 9-game rehabilitation assignment in Arizona Complex League with the ACL Giants Orange. He hit .500 in 28 at-bats at that low level, but struggled in the upper echelons of the minors, finishing at .250/.346/.452 (discounting his time in the ACL, his batting average was .219). He did hit 12 doubles and 13 homers while playing both second base and shortstop.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Rhett Bollinger: "Top pick Wilson agrees to deal with Angels", mlb.com, June 10, 2019. [1]
  • Maria Guardado: "From Wolfpack to Giants: Wilson leads trio", mlb.com, March 10, 2021. [2]

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