Astros’ Will Wagner Makes An Impression In Big League Camp

Dusty Baker asks for aggression from his young players. Any rookie has a story of the Astros manager begging them to hunt fastballs and swing early in counts.  

This spring, few fulfilled the goal better than second baseman Will Wagner, the 24-year-old son of former Astros closer Billy Wagner who has one the organization’s most advanced hit tools.

Will was the only member of Houston’s 2021 draft class to receive an invitation to major league spring training. The 18th-rounder from Liberty spent about three weeks there, with a locker between Jeremy Peña and Alex Bregman

“It was cool to have that experience,” Wagner said. “Those guys are champions for a reason, so you want to watch their every step. That was my main focus, to be honest, just learning.”

Will struck six hits in 15 Grapefruit League at-bats, including three doubles. He left a strong impression on Houston’s major league coaching staff. That he hits lefthanded and is able to play three infield positions—including first and second base—only enhances his value.

Wagner split his first full pro season between High-A Asheville and Double-A Corpus Christi. He hit .261/.374/.394 with 10 home runs in 117 games.

Wagner started this season at Double-A, where he’ll try to squeeze some more power out of a compact, 5-foot-11 frame. Wagner said the team gave him a more firm routine and some hitting drills in an attempt to extract at least some power. 

The Astros played Wagner at third base in spring training, though he said he’s most comfortable at second base. He made a few fine charging plays in Grapefruit League play and—perhaps unsurprisingly—showed better-than-advertised arm strength.

Still, most of Wagner’s value is tied to his bat. On the day Wagner got sent down, Baker summoned him into his office.

“He liked how much I swung,” Wagner said. “I swing a lot. He was saying to keep being aggressive and playing the way I am.”

Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone