2018 Breakout Potential: Can Arizona’s Marcus Wilson Emerge As A Top 50 Prospect?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There has been hype surrounding the Diamondbacks’ Marcus Wilson, an outfield prospect who spent 2017 at Single-A, but there’s a chance he really emerges in 2018.  No one is going to predict that he becomes a Top 5 prospect, but he has the opportunity to leap into the Top 50 if he continues on his current path.

Seeing young prospects who bring both power and speed to the table has become fairly common.  However it usually comes along with excessive strikeout numbers.  While Wilson had struggled in that regard previously, he took an important step forward last season:

  • Strikeout Rate – 20.1%
  • Walk Rate – 12.3%
  • SwStr% – 9.1%

In 2016 he posted an 11.5% SwStr% while splitting time between two levels of Single-A.  It is easy to point towards him repeating the level or turning 21-years old towards the end of the season, but the progress is extremely important all the same.

If he can maintain the improved rate it will allow him to carry at least a solid average (he hit .295 last season) given his potential to hit for power and his speed.  Last season he had 9 HR and 15 SB over 447 PA, though he should soon start tapping into more of his skills.

As Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 noted:

“At a listed 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds (I think he’s heavier now), Wilson is a terrific athlete.  He has plus bat speed and as he continues to put on weight, has a ceiling of 20 plus home runs.  He’s also a good runner but likely will slow as he matures.  I think projecting 20 stolen bases early in his career will work, but expect that projection to fall after he has been in the league a few years. “

Playing half his games in Arizona would help, and with that speed he also will have the ability to maintain an elevated BABIP.  Maybe not the .367 be benefited from last season, but a solid number all the less.

Wilson should start the year at High-A and could see Double-A depending on his progress.  That will be extremely telling in regards to his plate discipline, because if he can maintain last season’s improvement he could produce years of .270/20/20.

That’s obviously highly impressive, and while he still could be two years away the upside and potential impact are obvious.

Current Grade – B

Upside Grade – B+/A-

Sources – Fangraphs, Prospect 361

Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Top 10 Prospect Lists:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

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