With Pick 44, the Mariners select Alika Williams, SS ASU
With scouts heavily watching his teammate Spencer Torkelson, Alika Williams has turned a lot of heads. With a good spring, he could vault himself into the Top 20 of the first round, so he may very well end up a steal in the second.
Williams is a player who does everything well without having a single standout tool. That’s not to say he doesn’t have a solid tool bet from which to work. His bat to ball skills are above-average and he can make all the plays at shortstop.
Williams is the epitome of a “control the zone” bat, which has led him to walk more than he has struck out in his 2-years at Arizona State University. The biggest gap in Williams’ game is with the power tool. His swing isn’t built for much home run power as it currently stands, putting more pressure on his hit tool to be an everyday player.
Williams’s glove and instincts will likely push him to the big leagues where he should be at least a solid utility option. But he will need to show some growth with the power to be more than an average starting shortstop. Perhaps he can add good weight to his 6’2″, 175 lbs frame without losing batting speed.
If he repeats his 2019 of .333/.429/.474 slash line, he should lock himself into the Top 70 picks or so. Even if the power never comes, league average shortstops are hard to come by. A sensible comp for Williams appears to be Kevin Kramer of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Seattle tends to shoot for upside with their second picks, so a prep player cannot be ruled out. And with the extra draft pick, manipulation of their bonus pool money is definitely an option. But if Williams is on the board, he is a good player at a premier position and his profile would likely drop him inside the Top 10 of our summer prospect ranks.