Phillies Season Preview: Weston Wilson will see Citizens Bank Park again this year

The 29-year-old will start the season in Triple-A, but with his speed and power, fans should expect to see Wilson back in Philadelphia later this season.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets
Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

The last player in our Philadelphia Phillies 2024 Season Preview Series is outfielder and infielder Weston Wilson.

Previous season previews: José AlvaradoAndrew BellattiAlec BohmConnor BrogdonNick CastellanosRodolfo CastroKody Clemens, Dylan CoveySeranthony DomínguezDarick HallKolby AllardBryce HarperJeff HoffmanOrion KerkeringRafael MarchánBrandon MarshYunior MartéMichael MercadoMax CastilloNick NelsonAaron NolaLuis OrtizCristian PacheJ.T. RealmutoJohan RojasMichael RuckerWhit MerrifieldCristopher SánchezKyle Schwarber, Edmundo SosaGregory Soto, Bryson StottMatt StrahmGarrett StubbsRanger SuárezSpencer TurnbullTrea Turner, Taijuan Walker, Zack Wheeler

We'll look back at Wilson's 2023 performance and then examine where he might end up this season using the popular Steamer and ZiPS projection systems, which can be found on FanGraphs.

Weston Wilson 2023 stats and 2024 projections

2023 Stats: 8 G, 22 PA, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 SB, 6 BB, 5 SO, .313/.500/.500, 1.000 OPS, 0.2 fWAR

2024 Steamer: 0 G, 1 PA, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 0 SO, .216/.299/.386, .685 OPS, 0.0 fWAR

2024 ZiPS: 122 G, 487 PA, 19 HR, 63 RBI, 16 SB, 45 BB, 150 SO, .220/.295/.401, .696 OPS, 0.9 fWAR

2024 ATC: 17 G, 47 PA, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB, 4 BB, 14 SO, .206/.281/.356, .637 OPS, 0.0 fWAR

Weston Wilson 2024 season preview

Wilson came into the league with a bang, hammering a solo home run in his MLB debut on Aug. 9 of last season:

Through the rest of the season, he saw limited action, but he made the most of it. In eight games, he made 22 plate appearances, slashing .313/.500/.500 with an OPS of 1.000, one home run, two RBI, three stolen bases, six walks and five strikeouts.

He provided flexibility for the Phillies, logging innings in right field, in left field, at third base, at second base and at first base.

Fighting for a roster spot this year, the 29-year-old came out hot in spring training. In his first two games, he went 3-for-6 with one home run and four RBI. Overall, he put up a .241/.378/.414 slash line, one home run, six RBI, four walks and 13 strikeouts in 37 plate appearances across 15 games this spring.

In Thursday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, however, Wilson was hit in the left hand by a 95 mph fastball in the bottom of the third inning and removed from the game. According to Matt Gelb of The Athletic, initial imaging came back clear, but the team sent him for an X-ray as well.

As of Saturday, the team has not released an update on the results. However, the Phillies announced Friday that Wilson was optioned to the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs to start the season.

If healthy, Wilson has a good chance to make his way back to the big league club this season.

Wilson's bat will find its way back to Philadelphia

In 2023, Wilson set the home run record for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, ending the season with 31 long balls. To go with that power display, he put on a show on the basepaths, logging 32 steals. He also demonstrated more patience, tallying 75 walks in 544 plate appearances while slashing .259/.364/.515 with an .879 OPS.

While FanGraphs doesn't have ZiPS DC projections for Wilson, the normal ZiPS predictions have him at 19 home runs and 16 steals across the full year. In 17 games, ATC is projecting him to get to two home runs and three steals.

With Wilson's limited MLB action, projections don't have a lot of data to work off of when predicting his 2024 stats, but they are leaning toward regressions in some key categories.

In the majors last season, Wilson hit .333 against right-handers and .250 against lefties. ZiPS is projecting him to regress, hitting .227 against lefties and .215 against righties. The projections also have his stellar walk rate (27.3 percent) coming back down to earth (9.2 percent) and his strikeout rate climbing from 22.7 percent to 30.8 percent. In 15 games this spring, his strikeout percentage ballooned even more than that, landing at 35.1 percent.

Even with those projections, the fan favorite hasn't seen the last of Citizens Bank Park — where he's slashing .400/.700/1.000 with a 1.700 OPS in limited action.

The arrival of Whit Merrifield, who can play the outfield and infield, made Wilson's fight for a bench role all that more difficult this spring. With Edmundo Sosa, Cristian Pache, and Kody Clemens, among others, fighting for a roster spot, and on the heels of the hit-by-pitch, the Phillies decided they wanted to see Wilson get more work in Triple-A to start the year.

Expect Wilson to be called up at some point during the long, 162-game grind, though. His versatility, speed and power from the right side of the plate are reason enough for him to be given the opportunity to contribute to the big league ballclub later this season.