Last year the first thing I mentioned about Jett Williams was his height. He hasn’t suddenly had a late life growth spurt or started wearing lifts to pad his measurements but perhaps, we are overselling how short 5’8” actually is. Jett Williams cannot be compared to Eddie Gaedel, the shortest player of all time and is actually taller than a number of active players, including Jose Altuve and Tony Kemp (5’6”) each.
The list of players who are just as small as Williams and seeing Major Leagues is substantial. Ignoring pitchers you’ll see players like Kolten Wong, Ozzie Albies, Mastataka Yoshida and Josh Harrison. There are others to list but this grouping already proves that the bias against shorter players might be overblown.
2023 was a great year for Williams though I do think the Mets should have promoted him to Advanced A earlier, more on that later. His delays in the minors are likely thanks to a prolonged slump in the Month of May that saw most of his numbers suffer. If you compare only his First Half and Second Half numbers he looks like two completely different players.
- First Half: .231/.424/.355 – OPS: .779
- Second Half: .283/.417/.511 – OPS: .928
There is plenty to go over in his individual player aspects below but as seasons go, an upward trend is always better than a downward one.
I would love it if Jett Williams were a .300 hitter but I don’t think he is. That’s okay because Williams is consistently a .400+ OBP player without an immaculate batting average. He has one of the most advanced eyes in the Mets farm system and that likely allows him to play at levels above his age bracket.
Hitting 14 home runs between three levels in 2023 is pretty darned impressive and his 46 extra base hits prove to me that he has more than just flukey power. I suggested him as a ceiling of more of a 20 home run hitter and that remains fair but I think Williams combination of contact, power and speed makes him dangerous for multiple bases far more often.
Williams is probably the Mets second best base stealer in the minors and he swiped 51 bags in 2023 to prove his metal. I don’t see any reason similar numbers couldn’t be achieved unless pitcher rules are altered again to curtail the runners.
Williams still projects as a plus fielding shortstop at the major league level. Now, I had originally projected Williams timetable for reaching the majors in 2026, at which point, perhaps Fransciso Lindor would cede his position to the younger player but Williams is talking to the media about 2024 after he ended 2023 in AA. Williams will not be a defensive problem wherever he plays.
Williams ended his 2023 season in AA and a lot of fans would not be happy to see him return to Advanced A despite having a limited showing at that level. I can see the Mets doing that. Williams may have finished his year in AA but that was more about the minor league playoffs and giving a top prospect post season exposure. The bigger questions happen as he runs into Luisangel Acuna, Ronny Mauricio and Jeff McNeil as there are too many players for too few positions. My money is on Williams sticking with the Mets.
It was not the comp I was expecting to wind up with but there are justifiable reasons to issue a comp to the great Jose Altuve here. Their numbers at similar ages, levels and sizes all actually lean in Williams’ favor at the moment. The one item Altuve is unquestionably better with is batting average but in the age of OPS I think that Williams’ ceiling could look similar.