A surprised 8th round selection, this selection is all about upside as this 18-year old left-handed hitting catcher has lots of raw power and plus arm and comes in at #24.
Age (as of Jun 30th) : 18
2021 Level: FCL
Tools (current/future value)
Game Power: 30/60
Raw Power: 50/70
Most Likely Future Role: 1st Base/DH
Ceiling: 1st Division starting catcher
What we know: Drafted in the 8th round and given an overslot $1 million bonus, Willems was well known on the high school showcase circuit for his high exit velocities and raw power displays. On top of it, he was also a pitcher who had touched 94 mph so he brought a plus arm to the field as well.
Listed at 6-1, 225 pounds, Willems is stocky barrel chested catcher who moves pretty well overall and receives the ball well. While he has a strong arm, his pop times can vary due a long arm action that he will need to shorten up.
Willems though was drafted mainly for his power potential and his knack for barreling up the baseball. His value is much higher if he can stick behind the plate, but he has enough power potential to move to first base or DH is needed.
He’s known for his hard work and dedication to the game, and he’ll need to work hard to keep his weight under control. He only played a handful of games in the Florida Complex League so realistically next year will be his first full year in pro ball.
Videos show him to be a well below average runner, but as a catcher, that’s typical.
What we don’t know: He’s very young and projectionable, but we don’t know how he’ll handle experienced pitching. Will he be able to stick at catcher? Will he be able to take that raw power and turn that into game power at the pro level?
What we think: He was a bit of a surprise selection as most teams felt he was going to TCU. He didn’t get a ton of playing time in the Florida Complex League so we didn’t get much to go off of but he didn’t hit particularly well and teams attempted 15 stolen bases in his five starts at catcher (he caught five for a 33% success ratio). He’s a bit of a wild card lottery ticket but there is some upside with the power arm tool.