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D-backs second-round pick thriving early

D-backs second-round pick thriving early


PHOENIX -- Selected 52nd overall by Arizona in the second round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, Justin Williams is already flourishing in his first taste of professional baseball, playing for the Arizona League (Rookie) D-backs.

Williams, a 17-year-old outfielder from Terrebonne High School (Houma, La.), is batting .356 with seven doubles and a league-leading 23 RBIs in just 22 games.

"It's going great," Williams said. "This is a great organization and we have a fun group of guys. I'm just trying to stay focused and get better with every chance I get. It's a dream come true."

So what's been the biggest adjustment coming straight from the prep ranks?

"Pitchers here are more precise and you see low-to-mid 90s almost every day," he said. "Plus high school guys will leave it over the plate, but here they put the ball where they want."

Also new to Williams in professional baseball is the type of tutoring he receives on a daily basis. His batting coach is none other than former D-backs and Cubs great Mark Grace, who Williams credits for a lot of his early success.

"He is just naturally gifted with the bat in his hand," Grace said. "He knows he's good, but he's not arrogant. He's one of those guys that hits when he wants to. It seems like every time there are a couple guys on base, mail it in. This kid is good."

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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