Pittsburgh Pirates: Trevor Williams’ Really Good Debut

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Last off-season the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Trevor Williams from the Miami Marlins.  He was used as starter for Triple-A Indianapolis all season. Let’s analyze his debut:

Tonight we finally got to see the last big Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect make his debut from the Triple-A club.  All year we heard about the pitching staff in Indianapolis, and one by one they have made their way up.  At the beginning of the year I expected Williams to be the first pitcher called up.  However, he left his first start this season with a tight shoulder and did not return to play until May 22.  With that, he fell behind all the other Triple-A pitchers in terms of the promotion list.

However, it was all worth it.  Trevor Williams started off a little shaky, but he started to compile strong start after strong start.  Williams finished his Triple-A year with a 9-6 record and an earned run average of 2.53.  Although he was pitching well, the Pittsburgh Pirates did not call him up.  This was mainly because of the emergence of Ryan Vogelsong and Ivan Nova and how well they have pitched over the last month.

The Pirates called up Trevor Williams on September 6th, along with a few others.  Many thought Williams would get a shot yesterday after Vogelsong gave up four runs in the first innings.  However, Williams instead found himself pitching in last nights ball game.  He found himself pitching against Alex Reyes, another starting pitcher who spent most of the season in Triple-A.  Ironically both were pitching in relief.

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Williams looked really good in his début.

After watching his three innings you can see why he was having such strong success in Triple-A.    Williams was able to strikeout three batters tonight and the only mark against him was an unearned run.  His fastball mainly sitting between 92-94 miles per hour and it had good movement on it.  The other pitch that really stood out to me was his change-up.  He really did a great job of commanding it and spotting it where he wanted.  This is a great sign from a young pitcher.  With that Williams also complimented with a decent slider that was sitting in the lower 80s.  He also showed good command of his slider, but it is probably his most average pitch.

This gives him three major league pitches, with his moving fastball and his change-up being the plus pitches.  The change-up and fastball will primarily be his out pitches against lefty hitters.  He needs to continue to use and develop his slider.  If he can effectively use it, he should be able to use it as an out pitch against right-handed hitters.

However, he showed tonight there is no doubt in my mind that he can be a starter for this team next season.  Williams pitches mature for being 24.  He has a strong presence on the mound and has good command of the strike zone.  He has great pitchability, meaning he knows how to use his pitches and locate them when and where he wants.  I expect Trevor Williams to get a few more opportunities this year to impress. If he pitches like he did tonight he should get a shot at being in the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation next year.