Giants’ Prospect Mac Williamson to Miss Rest of 2014
Mac Williamson, the San Francisco Giants 3rd round pick in the 2012 Draft, will miss the rest of the 2014 season due to damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow which will require Tommy John surgery. While Williamson is an outfielder rather than a pitcher, the injury is bad indeed for Williamson’s status as a top Giants’ prospect.
Baseball America ranked Williamson as the Giants’ 5th best prospect and MLB.com ranked him 9th (I ranked him 18th) after a fine season at A+ San Jose in 2013. However, due to his elbow problems, the Giants returned Williamson to San Jose this season, so he could be a full-time designated hitter (pitchers bat for themselves in National League affiliated AA Eastern League parks, but not in the A+ California League). He was off to a great start this year, batting .318/.420/.506 in 100 plate appearances.
The main reason the injury is so serious to Williamson’s prospect status is that he wasn’t particularly young to begin with. He turns 24 in mid-July, so even assuming he’s ready to go by Spring Training 2015, he’ll be an old 24 year old who hasn’t yet played at the AA level.
Another issue will be the effect that the Tommy John surgery has on his throwing arm. Outfielders typically come back from Tommy John surgery faster than pitchers do. However, one of Williamson’s plus skills was his right field throwing arm. He recorded 18 assists in 140 career minor league games played in right field going into the 2014 season. That’s terrific. If he loses something on throwing arm, it will be a real shame.
As it stands now, Williamson probably won’t reach the majors until after his 26th birthday. It’s tough to establish yourself as a major league regular at that age.