Ethan Wilson is the Phuture Phillies’ Readers’ #11 Pick.
Ethan Brent Wilson was born in Andalusia, Alabama. His parents are Ray and Melodie Wilson. He has a younger brother, Jake. He attended Andalusia HS, went undrafted, and attended the University of South Alabama.
2014-2018: Wilson lettered in baseball five years, football four years, and basketball for two seasons. He helped lead Andalusia to the 2018 Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A state championship as a senior with a 12-0 record, 0.65 ERA, and 112 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched. He also batted .529 with 10 home runs, 41 RBIs, and 51 runs scored. He was named MaxPreps Medium School First-Team All-America as a senior, the 2018 Alabama Baseball Coaches Association 4A Player of the Year, the 2018 Class 4A Player of the Year and Hitter of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association, earned First-Team All-State honors as a senior, 2018 Super All-State selection by AL.com, second on The AL.com High School 100 list.
He helped the Bulldogs capture two straight 4A Area 2 championships in 2016-17. He batted .495 with 12 doubles, four triples, seven home runs, 35 RBI, and 50 runs scored en route to class 4A first-team all-state honors as a junior. He hit .313 with five doubles, five triples, one home run, 21 RBI and 34 runs scored as a sophomore. He batted .405 with six doubles, three triples, one home run, 16 RBI, and 16 runs scored as a freshman. He earned second-team all-state honors in football from the ASWA as a quarterback in 2017.
2019: Named the 2019 Collegiate Baseball Co-Freshman of the Year, 2019 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, and Freshman of the Year, First-Team Freshman All-America by Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Third-Team All-America by Collegiate Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings, First-Team All-Central Region and First-Team All-Sun Belt Conference in his first year with the program.
He broke the freshman home run record with 17 in 56 games, ranked second in the Sun Belt in slugging percentage (.686) and total bases (151), tied for second in home runs (17), tied for third in runs scored (59), sixth in batting average (.345) and on-base percentage (.453), tied for eighth in hits (76), ninth in RBIs (51) and tied for ninth in doubles (16). He hit .317 with 10 doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 23 RBIs, 28 runs scored, two stolen bases, .636 slugging percentage, and .408 OBP in 30 Sun Belt games. He had a team-best 24 multiple-hit and 15 multi-RBI games, and hit safely in 45 of 56 games.
2020: Started all 18 games and batted .282 with four doubles, three home runs, 12 RBIs, 13 runs scored, six stolen bases, and a .465 slugging percentage.
Was scheduled to play in the Cape Cod Baseball League in the summer of 2020 as a member of the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, but the season was cancelled before it started.
2021: Selected Baseball America Preseason First-Team All-America. Selected D1 Baseball Preseason Third-Team All-America. Selected Preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.
Wilson started 55 games his junior year. He hit .318/.419/.528 in 214 at bats with 39 runs scored, 31 RBIs, 13 doubles, 4 triples, 8 HRs, 33 walks, 10/14 stolen bases, 21 strikeouts.
Wilson’s team won four consecutive games to win the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. They lost to Miami to start the NCAA Regional in Gainesville then beat #14 Florida, Miami, and South Florida before being eliminated by South Florida in the championship game.
Wilson was drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 2021 Amateur Draft, the 49th overall pick.
Wilson made his debut as a defensive replacement for the Clearwater Threshers on July 11th and got one at bat. He didn’t play again until a start on August 10th. He played in 30 games and got 117 plate appearances. He batted .215 with 9 XBH among his 23 hits (4 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HR). He scored 15 runs, had 17 RBI, walked 10 times, and struck out 25 times.
MLB rated Ethan Wilson the #35 overall prospect. They said this about him.
“Wilson doesn’t have the smoothest left-handed stroke but he has a knack for finding the barrel and hangs in well against southpaws. He also has the patience to work counts and draw walks, and his contact rates and plate discipline are better than ever after regressing last spring. He’s not driving the ball as much as he has in the past, however, and projects as more of an average power hitter with his current approach.
“Almost all of his value will come from his offensive production, though most evaluators believe Wilson will provide enough to fit in the middle of a big league lineup. He’s a fringy to average runner out of the batter’s box and a step quicker once he gets going. His fringy arm limits him to left field, where he’s a decent defender.”
A prospect scouting report said this.
Sturdy-built, strong lower half, generates torque through his core. Employs a neutral stance with his hands high, dropping into an athletic slot in his loading mechanism. The move allows for an optimized vertical bat angle (VBA) coming through the zone, helping to impose launch angle on the baseball.
He had a lot of success in 2019 laying off pitches outside of the zone, and on more occasions than one, pummeled hanging breaking stuff in the zone. There was some propensity to swing under high fastballs with velocity up and away, especially coming from righties.
Wilson showed a keen ability to go with pitches, driving pitches away into left field and up the middle. He has enough speed to beat out some iffy infield choppers.
In all, the numbers from his freshman year tell a pretty good tale. Hitting .345 with 17 home runs, all while posting healthy strikeout and walk rates, is impressive. I think the numbers posted in 2020 against sublime arms in a non-conference schedule skews his overall tool a bit. The kid can hit. If the strikeout numbers and walk rates revert back to 2019 standards next year, you might some scouts slap more 55-grade hit grades on Wilson’s profile.
There’s some real raw power in Wilson’s frame and he translates it into game production. It’s truly ‘plus’ juice. The only thing stopping him from consistently getting to the 60-grade in-game is the swing-and-miss. Wilson gets extended quite well on pitches low and inside, as well as out over the plate. The separation he creates with his hips from his shoulders is pretty impressive considering his bulky frame. His lead leg block is really strong as well. The byproduct is strong exit velocities thanks to torque unseen by most players at his level.
While Wilson did strikeout a good bit in 2020, he also ambushed some good arms along the way. He’d homer off Patrick Wicklander and Zebullon Vermillion in the same game against Arkansas in March. Both guys project as top five round picks in 2021.
The batted ball profile for Wilson really stands out. His average launch angle in 2019 was 18.3 degrees. In 2020, his max exit velo was 111.7 mph, good for 10th in all of college baseball — essentially the same as Spencer Torkelson. His average exit velocity for 2020 ranked in the 90th percentile of all college hitters.
Wilson is almost destined for left field in his big league career for a number of reasons, one of which being his ability to run. While plenty athletic, he’s not a burner. As a hitter, he’s a little slow out of the box as his follow-through ends up on his heels a bit — common for left-handed power hitters. In the field, Wilson does well cutting off balls in the gap, but hasn’t shown the ability to turn improbable catches into outs.
From home-to-first at full-bore, Wilson is ordinarily timed in the 4.25 second range. That’s fringe average, though his acceleration out of the box does play into that time a bit.
Wilson is by no means a lumbering defender in the field. He moves well and his speed projects to hold steady into his professional career. He’s solidly average as it pertains his wheels.
While the speed isn’t notable, the athleticism is. Wilson glides to most fly balls and takes good routes to the spot. He’s shown a really good ability to get the ball in quickly and hold runners. His natural athleticism has led some prognosticators to question whether or not he could handle centerfield. I don’t think that’ll be the case, but the conversation in and of itself should speak volumes.
At the end of the day, the speed will likely hold Wilson back from being considered a full-time centerfielder, but he fits in nicely in a corner. He’s plenty comfortable in either corner, and whoever ends up selecting Wilson should feel confident in his ability to handle his spot in-game.
Wilson’s got a good arm, and his athleticism and transfer speed help it play up even more. His 91 mph outfield clock velo is very good. His throws are low line drives but do have some tail and fade as they approach their target. Most of that is a product of his short-arm, 3⁄4 arm slot. His arm is more often than not online, and as mentioned above, has shown the ability to keep runners from advancing.
The arm will certainly be better than most left fielders at the next level and could play in right field as well.