Jett Williams is showing Brandon Nimmo tools with killer speed added in

Mets prospect Jett Williams is doing leadoff hitter things as he continues to learn center field.
New York Mets v Houston Astros
New York Mets v Houston Astros / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Jett Williams has flown somewhat under the radar this year. With New York Mets prospects like Tyler Stuart rising quickly and constant calls from fans for Ronny Mauricio to reach the big league level already, prospects at the lower levels who’ve yet to celebrate their 20th birthday are getting overlooked.

Williams’ season has been a quietly impressive one. Last year’s 14th overall selection is batting only .251 in his first 398 plate appearances, but since his promotion from St. Lucie to Brooklyn, Williams has continued to showcase what he does best: run and get on base.

A total of 82 walks in 91 games has helped uplift Williams to a .427 OBP this season. It beats his .411 slugging percentage by a couple of points. Williams has added 37 stolen bases as well, only two fewer than his 39 RBI. He’s a developing leadoff hitter and the Mets are already finding a way to leave his path to the big leagues undisrupted because of his position, shortstop. He has somewhat quietly been seeing more starts in center field as the team prepares itself well in advance for the future when Brandon Nimmo moves to a corner spot.

The NY Mets are wisely inching Jett Williams away from shortstop and into center field

Every time the Mets have a young shortstop prospect blocked at the position in the big leagues or showing signs of owning a weak glove, the argument is the same. We heard it regularly with Amed Rosario. “Put him in center field.”

It wasn’t until Rosario went to Cleveland when he’d actually get starts in center field. The Mets gave him only three innings as a left fielder in 2019. This was obviously pre-Francisco Lindor as they were traded for one another.

In a farm system stocked with shortstops at multiple levels, the Mets struck preemptively with the position change for Williams. He had 14 opportunities in St. Lucie and has had another pair since getting promoted to Brooklyn. He is 27 for 27 in putouts with an assist.

The Mets must’ve seen early on Williams wasn’t a natural shortstop or at least realized he could benefit their organization better somewhere else. His speed is unquestioned. Having his wheels in center field translates much better than keeping him on the infield at a different position.

Williams hasn’t been completely removed as a shortstop in the minors. He has still played the position 67 times. His 20 errors in 215 chances aren’t encouraging, however, minor leaguers tend to make more errors in general due to their skill (help from the first basemen on throws isn’t as good) and also how the official scorers tend to be less generous.

Having Williams as a utility man able to move from center field to shortstop shouldn’t be impossible either although it probably becomes unnecessary as long as Lindor stays healthy.

In MLB Pipeline’s latest top prospects listing, Williams was ranked 83rd overall. An unsure bat at the moment, he does have 87 strikeouts in 91 games. This gives him one more thing to work on from an offensive perspective.

Not convinced he’ll fit in or become a candidate to replace Nimmo in the future? His 13 hit by pitches this year says otherwise. He got started early in this department. He was hit 3 times in his only 10 games of 2022.

Williams is speedy, scrappy, and only 5’6. He’s not exactly Nimmo. He’s a different flavor with similar results with a shot to be a real nuisance in the future.