Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Non-Tender Candidates
By Noah Wright
Trevor Williams’ 2018 season look more and more like an outlier. Williams in 2018 had a 3.11 ERA, 3.86 FIP, and 1.178 WHIP across 170.2 innings of work. He also posted a solid 7.8% walk rate and .79 HR/9. However didn’t strikeout too many batters, with an 18% K rate. In all likelihood, Williams would not repeat that low-3s ERA. Despite that low ERA, he had a 4.68 SIERA, 4.54 xFIP, and 4.28 DRA.
His 2019 season looked more like his ERA estimators from the year prior. In 145.2 innings, Williams had a 5.38 ERA, 5.12 FIP and 1.41 WHIP. Though Williams did lower his walk rate to 6.9%, his already sub-par strikeout rate also went down to 17.8%. Home runs became a large issue as that rate rose to 1.7 HR/9. In terms of ERA estimators, he had a 5.08 SIERA, 5.25 xFIP and 5.74 DRA. Now sure it was an injury limited season, but it still was not a good season.
Williams got off to a solid start in 2020 with a 3.70 ERA, 4.26 FIP and 1.36 WHP in his first 24.1 innings, but things quickly fell off a cliff. In his final 31 innings, Williams limped to a 8.14 ERA, 7.90 FIP and 1.74 WHIP. In the 55.1 innings he pitched this year, Williams surrendered 15 home runs, the same total he gave up in 2018, but in over 100 less innings.
Unlike Neverauskas, Williams doesn’t really have any elite pitch that would give the Pittsburgh Pirates an incentive to try him again. He only averages 91.5 MPH on his fastball, and all his pitches have below average spin. For a soft tossing ground ball control pitcher, Williams only has a career 42.3% groundball rate and 7.7% walk rate, which are solid, but not great for a pitcher like him.
Last year, the Pirates paid Williams $2.8 million in arbitration. I wouldn’t be completley opposed if the Pirates were to non-tender him, to bring him back on a minor league deal, but I would not go through arbitration with Williams after his 2020 season.