Last year, Nick Williams was the guy a lot of us thought might have a chance at going 1-1 when we were all complaining about how this year's draft class didn't have a clear 1st pick. I was so excited about him, I also wrote a fan post draft profile last year. But as time has changed, Williams' stock has dropped enough that he might even be available for pick #41, when the Astros will have a supplemental pick thanks to Clint Barmes. Last year we were fawning over his 5-tool potential and his Ken Griffey, Jr. comparisons. And to some extent, he still has that potential, but for the most part he is very raw all across the board. It will take a patient team to try to develop him from "project" to "prospect".
What Williams brings to the table is his athleticism and speed. He's an excellent runner, but some doubt his ability to stick in CF in the future when his body will fill out. This is also coupled with bad instincts and frequently taking bad routes to balls in the outfield. His arm from the outfield has reached 94 mph, but it is currently below average due to an awkward throwing motion that compromises throwing accuracy. Both of these things combined will probably mean he is better suited for a corner outfield position.
After an impressive junior year for Ball HS, his senior year of HS has been subpar. He has hit only 1 home run in 94 plate appearances. He has a batting average of .300 with 2 triples, 6 doubles, 12 walks and 12 strikeouts. He also has 17 stolen bases and has been caught stealing 5 times. As we can see, these are not great numbers for a player who's facing high school competition and who's expected to be the next Ken Griffey. However, numbers can be deceiving as he's shown plenty of raw power in tournaments; it may just be that he's extremely raw. He has fast hands, allowing his bat to reach the strike zone faster, and good upper body movement when swinging with plenty of uppercut. He's a streaky hitter though and will need some work on his lower body movement.
Defensively: Nyjer Morgan; Offensively: Justin Maxwell. Currently, Nick Williams will need extensive work on all parts of his game to reach his potential and to avoid being either one of these guys. He has a lot of question marks all over.
He has been compared to both Ken Griffey, Jr. and Darryl Strawberry and he certainly has the raw tools to fill out these comparisons.
Projected Draft Round
Jonathan Mayo has him ranked #88 overall, (2nd round)
Baseball Prospect Nation has him going in the supplemental 1st round.
ESPN has him ranked 23rd among all high school draft eligible prospects.
So, as we see it, it appears that Williams will go somewhere around the supplemental 1st round. But it's hard to tell how teams actually view him since there are so many factors and opinions that are in play. It's probably unlikely that he makes it to the 2nd round with his unique raw tools.
Will he sign?
Depends on how much money he'll get. Williams has signed a letter of intent to go to Texas A&M university just recently. I think the chance Williams signs is doubtful and that is dependent on several factors. First because he had a down year and his stock has dropped. Secondly, he was viewed by some to be a front runner for the 1st overall pick last year. If Williams knew of this, it would mean he would be losing out on $6 million bucks due to his stock dropping. $6 million is a significant amount of money and if he feels he has the potential to improve his draft position in years to come, he may want to go to the college route.
But, I may be wrong.
Bibliography after the jump
Crazy raw tools. Explosive athlete with incredible power/speed potential. Extremely raw baseball player that must mature both physically and mentally. Needs improved focus in all game situations. Difficult to find comparable raw tools in this draft. Potential dynamic offensive player that impact the game in multiple ways at the plate. Will require substantial work in the minor leagues and is a huge project
Williams does have a long and loose arm with solid Major League average arm strength that should enable him to play right field. Where scouts can dream with Williams is with his left handed bat and power potential. If you were to look into the future and ask scouts, "There will be one high school player from the Class of 2012 who hits 40 home runs in one season, who is it?," Williams would be on the very short list of candidates who could potentially accomplish that. His swing combines the bat speed along with the looseness, strength and extension through contact to lift the ball out of the park to any field
Williams is what one scout calls a "ridiculously gifted kid," possessing plus speed -- he's been time in the 6.4s in the 60-yard dash -- and has hit 90 mph off the mound. His athleticism and power lefty swing come from a 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame that may profile in center field, a la the likes of Ken Griffey Jr., Bernie Williams and a young Andruw Jones. Williams has shown big power on pitches middle-in, and an improving ability to hit the ball hard to the opposite field. He's destined for the top 50 and could hit his way into the first round if he's not set on heading to Austin to play for the Longhorns.