MiLB Player of the Week Spotlight: Rays' Carson Williams

May 22nd, 2024

Carson Williams is coming into his own. At 20 years old and playing at the Double-A level, Williams understands that he's not a polished product just yet -- still learning and developing into the player that will produce at the big league level.

But if the first two months of this season are any indication, the San Diego native has put himself on a trajectory that isn't just good -- it's scary good.

Williams was the Minor League Player of the Week in the Southern League for the second time this season after hitting safely in all five games between May 13-19, going 8-for-18 with seven extra-base hits -- including his second multihomer effort of the year-- for Double-A Montgomery. MLB's No. 16 overall prospect led the Southern League with a 1.787 OPS and also walked five times. He also earned the Minor League Player Spotlight for the week of April 8-14.

"I’m learning from my mistakes, which is what the Minor Leagues are for," Williams told Robert Flores and Mark DeRosa on MLB Network. "And I'm learning what kind of baseball player I’m becoming. And the process and my teammates and my coaches are helping me along the way. Mistakes are going to be made and cool stuff is going to happen too, so, it’s just all a part of this long season that we play. And it happened to go well last week."

"Well" is clearly an understatement. The Rays' No. 2 prospect put up video game-type numbers as he posted a .444/.565/1.222 slash line with three dingers, one triple, three doubles, six RBIs, nine runs and a stolen base last week. Two of those long balls were go-ahead jacks in the same game on May 18. Williams has also stood out defensively this season. In 33 games (292 1/3 innings) at short for the Biscuits, the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder ranks third in the Southern League (min. 250 innings) with a .977 field percentage.

"Defensively, it’s always keeping my feet moving," Williams said on MLB Network when asked about what he's been working on most to improve. "If I keep my feet moving, I will put my body in a good position to make plays. So, I’m always trying to keep my feet moving. I think that’s the one thing I really have to focus on."

The 2021 first-round Draft selection (No. 28 overall) of the Rays 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.

This after coming off a year where Williams 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.

"I first have to give props to the Rays because they do such an amazing job with their player development," Williams said. "And, it’s about creating relationships with these guys. Being an athlete and being a player, coming out of high school or college you know certain things or you think you know certain things. And all these guys do is help you along the way. And if they think that something will be better for you because everybody is so different, it can always help."