Class: College Junior
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Born: February 7, 1992
While Stanford is known among the NCAA as one of the most prestigious college baseball programs around, they have a track record lately of turning highly thought of draft prospects into duds. The most recent example came in the form of shortstop Kenny Diekroeger. Drafted in the second-round of the 2009 draft, he chose to attend Stanford, partially in the hopes that three years later he would be a once-in-a-lifetime prospect. He had all the tools, and shortly after the 2011 draft he appeared on many watch lists for the 2012 draft.
He scuffled to a .293 finish his sophomore campaign after coaches insisted on tinkering with his swing. This year he wasn’t much better, hitting a paltry .269. Once upon a time thought of as a top-ten pick, Diekroeger ended up going in the fourth-round.
Draft experts and critics alike are hoping that outfielder Austin Wilson avoids a similar fate. Wilson turned down a lucrative offer from the Cardinals in 2010 after a sterling career at Harvard-Westlake, the same program that churned out both Max Fried and Lucas Giolito this year.
As a freshman, Wilson performed incredibly well, hitting .311 with five homers and 30 RBI. Poised for a major breakthrough as a sophomore, Wilson endured the same growing pains that befell Diekroeger. His average dropped to .283.
Fortunately, he was plenty good in other departments. He drew 24 walks, was hit by a team-high 15 pitches and managed to have an OBP of nearly .400, despite his paltry average. He showed greater discipline at the plate, cutting down on his strikeouts.
At 6’5” and 245 pounds, Wilson resembles Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. While he doesn’t have Stanton’s power, he could prove to be every bit as valuable a talent if he can reach his ceiling.