2023 SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards: Voting Open Now!

Tom Wilhelmsen, RHP, Mariners (AFL: Javelinas): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Turning 27 in December, Wilhelmsen is one of the oldest players the Arizona Fall League has seen, but his circumstances are unique. A seventh-round pick by the Brewers in 2003, Wilhelmsen impressed in his pro debut, but that debut also looked like the end of his career, as after some arm problems and drug suspensions, he left the game. After starting a comeback in the independent leagues last year, he received a tryout from the Mariners this spring, and got another chance. Treating him like a freshly drafted player, Wilhelmsen pitched in the short-season leagues before finishing the year at Low-A Clinton, and after striking out nearly a batter per inning, he's at least some kind of sleeper. At six-foot-six and in possession of a fastball that can get into the mid-90s, there's physical ability here, and with 12 strikeouts in 8 1/3 Arizona Fall League innings, it's starting to show up in games as well.

Others Of Note:

  • Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners (AFL: Javelinas): 2-for-5, HR (2), R, 2 RBI, K. Up to .344/.522/.625 in 10 games; Mariners hope defense improves enough to get him in the majors early next year.
  • Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants (AFL: Scorpions): 3-for-5, 2B, RBI, K, CS. Starting to get hot again with eight hits in last three games; does he get the most big league at-bats at first base for the Giants next year?
  • Justin DeFratus, RHP, Phillies (AFL: Solar Sox): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Features in yesterday's Ten Pack; now has ten strikeouts in five shutout innings while allowing just one hit.
  • Andrew Lambo, OF, Pirates (AFL: Solar Sox): 3-for-6, HR (3), 2 R, RBI. Showed very little power in regular season, especially after trade to Pirates; up to .308/.357/.523 in Arizona.
  • Lastings Milledge, OF, Pirates (VEN: Tigres): 2-for-5, 2B, R, K. On base 12 times in first five games for Aragua; needs a strong showing here and in the spring to keep getting starter's at-bats in Pittsburgh.
  • Matt Rizzotti, 1B, Phillies (AFL: Solar Sox): 3-for-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB, K. Sixth round pick in '07 came out of nowhere with .343/.430/.555 season spread across three levels; needs to keep hitting as bat only prospect and has no future in Philly as 1B-only defender.
  • Josh Vitters, 3B, Cubs (AFL: Solar Sox): 2-for-5, HR (2), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB. Third multi-hit effort in last four games; 2011 could be make-or-break seasons for upper-level prospect status.
  • Josh Zeid, RHP, Phillies (AFL: Solar Sox): 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Nice sleeper with size and above-average velocity and control; projects by many as solid bullpen piece.

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Does Brandon Belt have the power to be a 300/350/500 guy? Is he in the discussion for the top 25 on the top 101 list?
I don't know why not. You can throw out the California league numbers, but even with that he had 9 HR and 26 xBH in 175 AB for Richmond in the Eastern league, and that's supposed to be a pitcher's league. Odds are that he won't hit a lot of HR at The Phone Company park, but it looks like he could get a far number of doubles and triples with the amount of room in the right field alley. That said, I suspect the Giants will try to bring Huff back for a couple of years if it can be done at a reasonable price. If so, Belt probably ends up in LF or RF as a mid season call up (assuming he does well at Fresno).
I agree. Also, I don't even think you can throw out his San Jose numbers because according to Park Factors Municipal Stadium in San Jose is not a hitter's park at all.

I don't have access to Belt's home/road splits, but other SJ Giants usually hit a lot better on the road than they do at home. Unless the home/road numbers are that skewed, this makes Belt's domination of the Cal League all the more impressive.
I think you're selling short on Belt's OBP abilities. The guy drew 93 walks in 595 PA's. Frankly, I'm more confident he'll post a .400 OBP than a .500 slugging in the majors. I think Belt is more likely to be a .300/.400/.450 guy than a .300/.350/.500.

But me, I'm hoping for that magic .300/.400/.500...

Somewhat related now that we're into the offseason: When do the team-by-team Top 11 prospect rankings start to emerge (in frustratingly infrequent - kidding - drips and drabs) out of the palatial setting in which you labor, Kevin?
Monday, and expect a better pace this year.