Last off season BCB readers (sic) participated in our annual ranking of the Brewers’ prospects. Let’s review how those prospects advanced (or not) their standing in the list.
#10 Devin Williams
Williams, a right handed pitcher being worked in both starting and relieving roles, split last season between Class A Appleton and High A Brevard County. (He will be an original member of the Carolina Mudcats as the Brewers switch to the Carolina League from the Manatees next year.) Devin is 22 years old, and has spent four years in the Brewers’ system out of high school.
Williams’ combined numbers in A ball were 97.1 innings pitched with a WHIP of 1.41. He struck out 94, walking 46. Of his 22 appearances, 12 were starts. He won 7 and lost 5. These numbers are not bad, but certainly aren’t eye-popping for A ball in a fourth minor league season.
Did Williams show progress? Not statistically. His career ERA? 3.79. Career WHIP? 1.36. Looking for a positive, Williams had an amazing 19 wild pitches for the T-Rats in 2015, and cut that to 9 last year. (Wild pitch number can be significantly affected by the defensive abilities of the catcher, for what it's worth.) That would hopefully indicate that Williams is developing a more consistent delivery and control. However, Devin’s walk numbers came in a 4.3 per 9 innings, compared to a career average of 3.9.
Williams’ future with the Brewers is by no means hurt by last season, but neither can we say it has taken that next step. His original draft projections had him at 50-65 fastball, His curveball was graded 40-55; change 45-55. His control and command were questioned due to an arm-heavy delivery, without good leg drive.
Williams’ slim frame (6’3”, 165 lbs) should still fill out some. A consistent delivery will improve control and command. 22 is not old, and there is still plenty of physical and mental growth to come. He still has never pitched more than his 97.1 innings from last year in a season. The Brewers are bringing him along slowly. We will all hope for a jump in statistical evidence of this in the next season or two, but Williams remains a viable prospect for the Brewers with the ceiling of a potential cog in the middle of the rotation.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs