Nick Williams Scouting Report -- Nick Williams is a 6'3", 195 lb. lefthanded hitting outfielder out of Ball High School in Galveston, Texas. Baseball America has Williams ranked #100 in their top 500 list, and John Sickels has Williams ranked #81 in his top 100 list. Frankie Piliere had Williams ranked #41 on his February, 2012, top 100 list. Keith Law did not include Williams in his top 100 prospect list. Sickels' community mock draft had Williams going in the 2nd round to the Seattle Mariners.
At first glance, Williams would seem to be an overdraft for the Rangers in the first round or supplemental first round. He's not seen by most as a first round caliber player, and has disappointed in his senior season, with his performance not matching up to his tools...the most recent stats I found indicate Williams is hitting .300 with a .486 slugging percentage this spring. That being said, as we saw last season with Zach Cone, the Rangers aren't afraid to use a premium pick on a toolsy player that most other teams would view as a reach.
BA praises Williams' bat speed and "raw strength," but Williams seemingly hasn't been able to translate that into results at the plate, with BA dinging him for his inability to make contact or to recognize breaking pitches. BA also says of Williams that he "lacks instincts in all phases of the game," including poor route-running and below-average times to first base despite running a 6.5 60 yard dash.
So, why might the Rangers pick him in the first round? Williams has a bunch of tools -- he's not a five-tool guy, as he doesn't have a good arm, but the other four traditional tools all show potential. He's the type of player the Rangers may believe they can develop into a speedy, power-hitting centerfielder, much like they did with Cone. And while Williams is committed to Texas A&M, it may be that the Rangers think that, as a local player, he'd be an easier sign with them than with another team. BA specifically references Texas as the team that might pop Williams early enough for him to forego college and sign a pro contract.
Here's Williams participating in a home run derby last summer:
2011 PG All American Classic Nick Williams Home Run Derby (via SOCALGOLDSCOUTING)