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Viva El Birdos Cardinals 2018 Prospect Rankings: #26 Donivan Williams

Prep pick from Chicago shows promise, but has a ways to go.

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: A.E. Schafer aka the red baron has once again compiled a rather impressive list of Cardinals prospects doing a write-up on 40 individual prospects. As a convenience to our readers, he releases the list in a couple big chunks so everyone can read about all of the prospects at once. While that is a convenience to all of us who eagerly await the arrival of prospect lists, it might not be as convenient if you are looking for a player’s particular scouting report. So, as a further convenience, we are putting the individual scouting reports in separate posts to make individual players easier to find. You can find the full lists on our 2018 prospect page here. —CE

#26: Donivan Williams, 3B/2B/OF

6’0”, 190 lbs; Bats/Throws: Right/Right

DOB: 25 July 1999; Drafted Rd 14 2017

Level(s) in 2017: GCL Cardinals

Notable Numbers: 115 PA, 9.6% BB, 21.7% K, .204/.296/.286

So, what’s so great about this guy?

I was a big fan of Donivan Williams even before the draft this year, having pegged him as something like a fifth- to seventh-round talent. When he fell all the way to the fourteenth, and the Cardinals actually managed to find enough room in the signing budget to bring him in to the organisation, I was very impressed.

Williams is, for right now, very much a lump of athletic clay. He was both a shortstop and third baseman in high school, and has the kind of throwing arm that should make him an easy choice for the left side of the infield (I’d put a 65-70 on it). Once he got into pro ball, though, it looks like the organisation moved him around a little bit, infield and outfield. That’s not really all that unusual for a player in the complex leagues; the Gulf Coast League is all about getting players time on the field, getting them at-bats, and just teaching them how to establish a routine as they ease into professional baseball. Personally, I would hate to see Williams moved to the outfield permanently, as I think he has the tools to stay in the dirt, but we’ll see what the future brings.

Besides that spectacular throwing arm, Williams stands out for his plus bat speed, generated by a wiry, deceptively strong frame that nonetheless needs plenty of time to develop. He’s an above-average runner, as well.

Overall, Williams has excellent physical tools; what shape those tools eventually take is really still up in the air a bit at this point. He’s a long ways off, but he showed some very good instincts at the plate this season (despite slumping late in the summer, which happens to a lot of high school kids as they grind through their first pro season), and could end up with 55s or better in four, maybe even five, tools. As late as the middle of August he was running a 12% walk rate and 18% strikeout rate, but the last couple weeks of the year seemed to really hit the wall. He’s cut from the same cloth physically as Bryce Denton, the Tennessee high-schooler the Cards drafted in 2015 and moved from third to the outfield this past season. Williams probably has a similarly long path ahead of him if he’s going to make it, but he’s a gut feel guy for me.

If he’s good, it will look like: I hate to try and put a comp on Williams right now, simply because we don’t even exactly know what position he’s going to settle into. Perhaps that versatility, as well as a very high baseball IQ, actually offers us a good comp for the future. Williams isn’t as big physically as Ben Zobrist, but he has a similar wide base of tools and skills.

via The Prospect Pipeline: