Minor League Player Spotlight: Rays' Carson Williams

April 20th, 2024

Carson Williams entered the season with a focus on building and being dedicated to his own routine and process -- both mentally and physically. He wanted to emphasize techniques he picked up during his climb of three levels of the Minors last season and his time at big league camp in the spring.

Nearly three weeks into the season -- it's safe to say it's working.

Williams was named Minor League Player of the Week in the Southern League after hitting safely in all five games between April 8-14, going 10-for-19 with three extra-base hits -- including a four-hit effort with a home run and a double-- for Double-A Montgomery. MLB's No. 18 overall prospect led the Southern League with a 1.380 OPS and also swiped four bases.

"I think the most you learn about, it’s the guys that you’re around," the Rays' No. 2 prospect told Greg Amsinger of MLB Network about his experience last year. "You see how they work, how they function, what they need to get before the game and you build your own routines off of that stuff."

Williams opened the year with a trip to Major League Spring Training where he appeared in 10 Grapefruit League games and collected three hits -- including a pair of doubles -- with an RBI, seven runs scored, five walks and two stolen bases.

"I had a great time at big league camp. Can’t get enough of those guys up there," Williams told Amsinger. "It’s just such a great group. They were super welcoming, and I actually learned a lot while I was up there. So, I think it was a tremendous start to just the season in general."

The 20-year-old is coming off a year where he played his way through three levels of Tampa Bay's system -- finishing with four contests for Triple-A Durham. Over 115 combined games, he slashed .257/.356/.497 with a career-best 23 home runs, seven triples, 21 doubles, 81 RBIs, 76 runs scored, 59 walks and 20 stolen bases.

After being selected in the first round (No. 28 overall) of the 2021 Draft by the Rays out of Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, Williams opened his pro career in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League where he appeared in 11 games and hit .282 with a triple and four doubles. The following year he spent the season with Single-A Charleston where he slashed .252/.347/.471 with 51 extra-base hits and 28 swiped bags.

"I feel like it’s all about reps and learning who I want to be as a baseball player," Williams said. "Figuring out what works for me. I’ve done a lot of work on my mentality and my mental space this offseason. And right now I’m sticking with my process. And I feel like the process and the path that I’m on is going to lead me in the right direction."

And while the Rays have traditionally emphasized versatility with their prospects, especially prospects who have been fast risers through the Minors, Williams believes he has found his place at shortstop.

"I’ve been one that’s stuck at short and I believe that that’s my spot. I love it," he said. "But at the end of the day when you get up to that big league level, prospect status doesn’t matter. It’s who plays and who’s going to score runs and make plays for the big league team so you guys can go win a World Series."