No. 6 overall pick Jacob Wilson clobbers first pro homer

August 25th, 2023

One month into his professional career, Jacob Wilson has shown that the hype around his 65-grade hit tool has been worthy of acclaim. But on Thursday night, he entered the power game when he walloped his first pro home run for High-A Lansing.

The section just beyond the left-field fence at Day Air Ballpark is dubbed the “Dragons Lair,” a nod to the mascot at Reds' High-A affiliate Dayton. While few dare to enter the Dragons Lair, MLB’s No. 81 overall prospect decided to just blast a decisive homer right over it and deep into the night en route to the Lugnuts' 3-2 win.

With an infield single earlier in the night, Wilson collected his sixth multihit showing for the Lugnuts in just 17 games. Over his past 10 outings, he has notched at least one hit in nine of them with five extra-base knocks included.

Power? Check. Hits? Check. Speed? Can’t forget about that.

Wilson added to his well-rounded night by swiping his third bag since joining Lansing, a theft of third and one of five on the night by Lugnuts baserunners.

Selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2023 Draft, Wilson boasted the second-highest hit tool in the entire class (behind only No. 2 overall choice Dylan Crews). After hitting .358 as a sophomore at Grand Canyon University, Wilson upped the ante with an eye-popping .412/.461/.635 slash line across 49 games as a junior.

Long heralded for his bat-to-ball skills, strikeouts have been anathema to Wilson, the son of former big leaguer Jack Wilson. After punching out four times in his first five games at the new level -- after skipping Single-A Stockton entirely -- the Athletics’ No. 2 prospect has found his level with just four K’s over his past 12 contests. Even that far supersedes his previous K rate this season for Grand Canyon of 2.3 percent -- or just five punchouts in 217 plate appearances.

“Throughout high school, my dad always kind of built in: ‘Striking out is not OK,’” Wilson said in February. “I’ve always never been OK with striking out."

Integral to Wilson’s early success in his pro career has been getting ahead in the count. With it in his favor, he is hitting .438 with a 1.363 OPS; when behind, he’s hitting just .250 with a .597 OPS. Unsurprisingly, in the at-bat that led to Wilson's first pro roundtripper, he was ahead 2-0 and 3-2 before connecting.

Through his 17-game stint at High-A, Wilson is slashing .313/.357/.453 and has sprayed the ball to all parts of the field, with at least a quarter of the balls he has put into play going to each his pull, center and opposite side.

A’s fans have gotten a firsthand look at the “New Oakland” wave this summer, which has included the arrival of Zack Gelof, Tyler Soderstrom, Lawrence Butler and others to the lineup, along with the high-octane arms of Mason Miller and Luis Medina joining the rotation. But at the lower levels of the system, Wilson joins 2022 first-rounder Daniel Susac (OAK No. 6) both in the Lansing batting order and as part of the next group that stands to move quickly due to its collegiate pedigree.