Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Report: Trevor Williams
By Jason Arias
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ number 20 prospect is right-handed pitcher Trevor Williams, who was acquired from the Marlins in October. Once the number 44 overall draft pick, Williams has seen the rapid ascension through the minors you’d expect.
Although he can reach the upper 90s with his fastball, Williams is not a big strikeout pitcher, instead relying on his excellent control to get outs. He has walked just 2.5 batters per nine innings in his three minor league seasons.
It has taken Trevor Williams just three seasons to reach Triple-A and he has shown steady improvement at every level. Evidence of that improvement has been more noticeable in the process than in the results, though. After both of his promotions, his ERA increased at the next level but not by more than a run at either level.
He has a deep repertoire that features a fastball, changeup, curveball and a newly learned slider. While his fastball and changeup are already solid, his curveball still needs some work and his slider is not major league ready. He can be a highly effective groundball pitcher once he is able to keep his breaking pitches low in the zone.
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The 2015 season was one of ups and downs for Trevor Williams. As the Opening Day starter for Double-A Jacksonville, he made his best start as a pro. Williams pitched 6 innings, striking out 9 and retiring 18 of the 19 batters he faced. His team was unable to score in the game and Williams took a no-decision, but it sent him into a rough stretch.
Over 6 starts, Williams went 0-6 with a 8.58 ERA. After that, however, Williams went 7-2 over the rest of the season with Jacksonville and was called up to Triple-A New Orleans. He only pitched 14 innings there but managed to strike out 13 batters for the highest rate of his career.
He was invited to pitch in the Arizona Fall League – where he was playing when the trade occurred – and wasn’t anything special. However, 9.1 innings is far too small of a sample size to judge. Interestingly, he was only used out of the bullpen and, in 3 of his 4 appearances, delivered a perfect inning.
Looking to the future, Trevor Williams is certainly not far from the majors. We may even see him in major league Spring Training in 2016 but by the regular season, expect to see him in Triple-A Indianapolis. His breaking pitches need some fine tuning but he has established good fastball control and the ability to induce groundballs. With the rotation not exactly built for the future, Williams could find himself making his debut in 2016 with a chance to become a regular in 2017.