It’s not often that minor league players reach Double-A in just their second full season and settle in as comfortably as 23-year-old second baseman Peyton Wilson.
It’s significant that the Royals’ second-round pick in 2021 had the advantage of coming from the ultra-competitive Southeastern Conference, even though Wilson played just 60 games at Alabama in two seasons, in part due to his Covid-shortened freshman year.
Since joining High-A Quad Cities in 2022, Wilson has done nothing but hit. The switch-hitter batted .368/.359/.456 with 14 home runs and 23 stolen bases in 88 Midwest League games last year.
Through 33 games for Double-A Northwest Arkansas this year, Wilson hit a robust .318/.389/.424 with 15 walks.
“He’s an incredibly hard worker,” Royals director of hitting Drew Saylor said. “He’s very ‘attention to detail’ focused with regard to his craft . . . He’s staying consistent with the work and staying focused on the process.”
Wilson had adapted to the jump to Double-A. He points out that he’s seeing pitchers with the ability to land strikes more consistently and who have a better knowledge of what they are doing on the mound.
He believes that his college experience helped prepare him to face this caliber of pitching.
“Every Friday night, or most Friday nights—and most Saturday nights as well,” Wilson said about his exposure to rival SEC pitching staffs, “you’re facing a professional pitcher every day. It’s the toughest league in all of college sports for a reason.”
Wilson’s projection as a hitter is aided by plus or double-plus speed as well as his twitchy athleticism, but questions remain as to how much power he will develop.
When asked how Wilson can get more strength in his swing, Saylor said, “It’s just continued maturation and understanding of his game plans and taking what the pitchers give him. I think that there’s a ton of strength in the swing . . . the strength will be there at the end of the day.”