On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Red Sox outfield prospect Wil Dalton.
Dalton, 23, was drafted by Boston in the eighth round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of Florida.
Among the topics we discussed in this episode, which is available on iTunes and Spotify, were Dalton’s path from junior college to Florida, takeaways from his first professional season in Lowell in 2019, his performance at the fall instructional league in 2020, and his personal expectations for the 2021 minor-league season.
Thanks to Wil for taking time out of his Monday evening to answer some questions.
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As a member of the Red Sox’ 2018 draft class, outfield prospect Nick Decker is often overshadowed by the likes of Triston Casas, Jarren Duran, and even Thaddeus Ward.
That being said, Decker is still one of the premier outfielders in Boston’s minor-league pipeline, as MLB Pipeline ranks the former second-round pick as the organization’s No. 13 overall prospect.
In his first full professional season in 2019, the New Jersey native posted a solid .247/.328/.471 slash line (135 wRC+) to go along with six home runs and 25 RBI over 53 games and 197 plate appearances for short-season Lowell.
Most of the success Decker enjoyed with the Spinners came against right-handed pitching, as the left-handed hitting outfielder clubbed five of his six homers off righties while struggling against southpaws to the tune of a measly .613 OPS.
Fast forward more than a year later and Decker, now 21 years old, endured the same difficulties against lefties at the Red Sox’ fall instructional league in Fort Myers after not being part of the club’s 60-man player pool at any point this past season.
According to SoxProspects.com’s Ian Cundall, Decker “raked against right-handers, but continued to struggle against lefties” during instructs.
Even with that apparent hole in his offensive approach at the moment, all is not lost for Decker, as scouts still seem encouraged by what he can do against right-handed pitching alone.
“Even with his struggles against southpaws, scouts were encouraged by his power and offensive potential against righties,” Cundall wrote. “So much so that they think he could develop into a really good platoon player. ”
Because the highest level of pitching he’s faced in organized games as a professional thus far has been out of the New York-Penn League, Decker’s career trajectory has not yet really come into focus.
At 21, Decker still has room to grow and develop as a baseball player, especially on the defensive side of things.
With two years left before reaching Rule 5 eligibility, the one-time University of Maryland commit will certainly have the time to improve upon those aspects of his game going into the spring.
SoxProspects.com’s projected 2021 rosters have Decker beginning next season at Low-A Greenville of the South Atlantic League.
(Top photo of Decker: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)