The Mariners have made their fourth—fourth!—selection on this first day of the Draft, and for the first time have gone to the college ranks, choosing 3B Ben Williamson from the College of William and Mary.
Williamson, a senior, is a money-saving pick to balance out the three prep bats the Mariners took earlier in the day, but he also comes from a conference the Mariners have scouted heavily in the past—the Colonial Athletic Association, also the home of George Kirby/Ty Duvall’s alma mater Elon University (and Hofstra, another smaller school the Mariners have drafted from in the past). Williamson won Player of the Year for the CAA after being the first player in William and Mary history to be named First Team All-CAA for three consecutive years. He posted a .390 AVG and a .513 OBP for the season, all while playing a solid third base. He possesses elite bat-to-ball skills and excels at finding pitches he can damage, as he frequently hits balls with triple-digit exit velocities.
Ben Williamson this spring (76 PA):— (@mason_mcrae) March 13, 2023
105.5 90th EV
111.0 Max EV
He’s also a 60 glove at third. pic.twitter.com/rJMpKQdzil
Williamson also spent time this summer in the Cape Cod League, where he impressed, earning Player of the Week honors in his first week and attracting national attention from scouts while playing with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
Ben Williamson (2023 draft eligible) @WMTribeBaseball @harborhawks has been on fire this summer. Williamson was our #1 player on the Cape Cod League Hot Sheet in week one. A potential top five round pick in a few weeks. #BACape23 pic.twitter.com/HF2ppfeCFe— Geoff Pontes (@GeoffPontesBA) June 24, 2023
Williamson also gets praise for his work ethic and dedication to his craft.
I coached this young man at 15u and he did stuff preparation wise I’ve never seen before. Ben Williamson of William & Mary is a stud. If your a young player watch him because that’s how the game should be played. #MLBDraft— Mike Colangelo (@colangelobasebl) April 8, 2023
The Mariners have gotten value with this kind of pick before—like last year when they picked another small-school player in Tyler Locklear out of VCU in the second round, again to offset a number of prep choices. Before getting hurt this year, Locklear was on a torrid pace, laying waste to the Northwest League in High-A Everett. Williamson seems cut from a similar mold as a potential money-saving pick that could still impact the club in a big way—and sooner rather than later.