Usually, the “plateau leap” is from one season to the next, but sometimes, as in the case of Austin Wilson, we can find a definite “leap” in the middle of the year.
Wilson was the Mariners’ second-round pick, but he was a guy that many expected would go higher. Was he a bargain at that spot?
It is certainly starting to look like it.
Perhaps it will help in this case to offer a bit of the background story:
- There is a “stigma” attached to hitters from Stanford.
- The way hitting is taught at Stanford is said to diminish a player’s ability to have a successful pro career.
- Wilson is reportedly a super-genius (with a “Megatron” physique to boot) and jumped at the Stanford baseball scholarship despite the risk (turning down the chance at big money coming out of high school).
So it is perhaps understandable that Wilson’s transition to wood bats and a “non-Stanford” hitting approach might take a bit longer than, say, his fellow 2013 draftee D.J. Peterson, who just ripped right into pro pitching like a toddler opening Christmas presents.
Nevertheless, at the end the day on July 17, I’m not sure anyone expected Wilson’s line to be:
22 G | 95 PA | 87 AB | 15 H | 5 2b, 0 3b, 0 HR | 7 BB | 21 K | .172/.242/.230
But nor did anyone think that after he woke up on July 18, his line would be:
34 G | 131 PA | 116 AB | 34 H | 6 2b, 3 3b, 6 HR | 10 BB | 21 K | .293/.374/.552
I don’t know if he started eating Wheaties that day or what, but he never looked back, as he closed out the regular season with this 11-game monster stretch:
11 G | 43 PA | 38 AB | 14 H | 2 2b, 2 3b, 4 HR | 5 BB | 7 K | .368/.442/.842
[Those stats don’t include the playoffs in which he went 4-for-7 with two doubles and a walk.]
Also note: K% down, BB% up, ISO through the roof. If you don’t think that lights up the Spectometer, then you haven’t been paying attention.
How about our “three numbers” (more on which later, but just know higher is better and over 100 means “like the kind of prospect who goes on to the majors“)?:
Through July 17: 51-54-5
July 18 to end: 109-132-141
Once the lightbulbs started going off, they were lighting up like the end of “The Natural.”
Let’s see lots more of that, please.