Ethan Wilson Taking Next Step This Season

Image Courtesy Reading Fightins Social Media

Most industry prospect lists aren’t exactly fluid and only get updated a few times each year.

Ethan Wilson, a second-round pick in 2021, found himself immediately among many of these lists and was on them for the duration of the 2022 campaign.

However, the outfielder struggled in his second professional season. Between High-A Lakewood and AA Reading, Wilson posted a disappointing slash line of .235/.290/.336.

Like many batters, he struggled incredibly with strikeouts, racking up 114 in 536 plate appearances. He worked just 33 walks and hit just eight homeruns while struggling in the field.

Entering the 2023 season, Wilson was ranked the seventh prospect in the system by but was otherwise an afterthought, ranking 20th with The Athletic and going unranked on several rankings like FanGraphs.

One wouldn’t think that the way to really shine is to start the season injured, but Wilson appeared in just two games (a doubleheader) before he found himself on the 7-Day IL. It took until April 22 until he could return again.

Despite many big names appearing on the roster, injuries and poor play hampered the Reading team during Wilson’s absence.

Since his return, Wilson has worked himself into the roles in the middle of the order, finding himself batting cleanup, fifth or sixth in most games recently. He’s been the team’s top hitter, despite a resurgence from Johan Rojas and a continued strong campaign from De La Cruz.

Among qualified batters, he is tied for first in batting average (.295) and slugging percentage (.527). Only one player (Nick Podkul – 16 games) is higher in those categories on the roster. He’s also fourth on the team in RBIs, a stat he trails two player by 1 and De La Cruz by 4 in – and each of those players has at least 25 more at bats than Wilson this season. Only De La Cruz has more homers than Wilson does this season (6).

But it isn’t just his hitting and power that should be putting him back on the map. His defense has been exceptional, particularly for a team that has largely struggled when it comes to errors (and what should have been but have not officially been ruled errors). Defense isn’t something that any prospect ranking is going to tout for Wilson, but he looks like a new player this season.

So what contributed to Wilson taking that next step? In a word, experience.

Pro ball is a pretty big adjustment from college. I’ve seen a lot of pitches, I’ve had a lot of ABs under my belt. With everything you do in life, the more you do it, the better you’re going to be at it. Just showing up everyday with [Reading’s hitting coach] Tyler Henson… just being consistent no matter what the result is.

Ethan Wilson

While he was disappointed with the statistical results of his 2022 campaign, he was happy to have remained healthy and been able to get around 500 at bats in at the High-A and AA levels.

Despite the disappointment and some industry rankings being down on the prospect, Wilson had confidence in his abilities and, with his first full professional season under his belt, he was able to approach the offseason with a bit more of a veteran mindset.

I think last year, I was kind of searching for something that wasn’t there pretty much all year. So just kind of establishing a plan before I even started working out, or hitting, or throwing, or anything.

Ethan Wilson

While Wilson doesn’t put the level of reps in the field together as he does in the cages, he treats “saving runs for the guys on the mound” as a priority.

He certainly agrees that some success at the plate can help carry over to being ready in the outfield. For a team that has struggled pretty heavily with the fundamentals, it’s good to see a prospect like Wilson have a highlight toward the top of their MiLB player page that features a great defensive play.

But improving on the diamond isn’t the only goal that Wilson has.

Be a better person before you become a better player is my motto. Being a good guy and helping out your teammates goes a lot further than anything you can do on the field.

Ethan Wilson

Wilson has seen that first hand. Having only been able to play one full season in college, Wilson was drafted into the Phillies organization at 22 years old but without many of the reps that someone of that age would normally have had due to the COVID pandemic.

Wilson credits his faith and many of his older teammates with helping him along with that. He says his faith guides him and his teammates have helped him to approach things more as a professional.

That’s an area the Phillies organization has helped him out, too.

They’ve put a lot of effort into me and helping me mature on and off the field. Especially when it comes to hitting – last year I really didn’t have an approach. They’ve kind of helped me to understand the game a lot better and just be a better ballplayer in general.

Ethan Wilson

For where he is today, beyond the organization, his teammates and his faith, Ethan wanted to make sure he thanked his family (specifically his mom and dad for their sacrifices), his High School Coach (Coach Tyler Dent – Andalusia High School) and his College Coach, Mark Calvi at Southern Alabama.

Wilson, of course, looks to continue his success throughout the remainder of the season. Surely the Phillies would like to see that, as well.

He’s on a track right now where he may be called up to AAA this year and could potentially start pushing for a spot at the MLB level next year. It’s just a matter of his staying consistent.

What did Wilson want Phillies fans to know about him?

All glory goes to God, first of all. And I play hard. I know the fans in Philly respect guys that go out there and play hard. Hopefully one day I’ll get that opportunity to play in front of them and, you know, no matter how good or how bad I’m playing, I’ll always play 100%.

Ethan Wilson