Coming in at number nine on Baseball America’s top 10 Cubs prospects, Darryl “DJ” Wilson is catching the eyes of several prospect evaluators. And for good reason. Wilson’s combination of speed, potential power, and adept fielding skills make him one of the Cubs top prospects. At just 20 years old, the youngster will be making his full-season debut in South Bend in 2017.
Now that Eugene has MiLB.TV for home games, I can get a good look at prospects before they come to South Bend. Watching Wilson play for the Emeralds last year was a delight. He might be one of the most exciting position players the Cubs have, pairing amazing range to go with a very good arm. His skills at the plate improved over the course of the summer as well. After a dreadful .180 batting average in June, Wilson recovered to hit over .270 in July and August with an OBP of .350 in July.
5-8, 177 lbs.
Just turned 20
Speed to spare
Great range in the outfield (see video)
Areas of Concern
Approach (improved in 2nd half in 2016)
Assignment in 2017
He will begin the year at South Bend in centerfield.
I would like to see Wilson hit .280+ with a .360 OBP, hit between 5-10 home runs, and tally doubles and triples in double figures. It’d be good to see his strikeout percentage drop into the low teens as well.
What Wilson needs to improve on most is his hitting approach. Even when he struggled at the start of 2016, he was still getting on base. At the same time, he struck out at almost a 20% rate. He can work a walk like a lot of Cubs prospects, but the issue is which pitches he chooses to swing at.
Wilson showed in August that he has the potential for gap-to-gap power with 9 doubles. That needs to continue in 2017, with more of the doubles turning into triples. He only had 2 triples in 64 games last seasons, but has the speed to bump that up significantly.
His defense and speed are both top notch already. He gets great jumps and his arm is surprisingly good; while he only had 2 assists, that number should go up in 2017. The routes could improve a bit, but not much. Wilson only played 64 games at Eugene and will likely push 130 at South Bend, where I’m hoping to see manager Jimmy Gonzalez pencil him into the lineup in left and right once in awhile to see how does there and expand his versatility.