Last year’s top pick for the Cleveland Guardians is off to a strong season in the minors.
Through four career starts at Lake County, Gavin Williams has put up eye-popping numbers.
Tremendous pro-debut for #Guardians 22yr old RHP prospect Gavin Williams as he throws four scoreless no-hit innings for (High-A) Lake vs Lansing today.
— Guardians Prospective (@CleGuardPro) April 9, 2022
Think his 1.83 ERA is sick?
How about a .66 WHIP?
Or a strikeout rate at 40.8%?
Opponent batting average of .095?
Both the WHIP and OBA are best in the Guardians system, by the way.
The 6’6” dealer has a four-pitch rotation.
His fastball is electric; he can sling it in the mid-to-high 90s for a bunch of innings.
He’s also got a disgusting curveball (70s) and slider (80s) that, so far, have fooled many minor league batters.
His fourth pitch is a changeup (mid-80s) with some fade.
Williams is the no. 7 prospect in the Guardians’ system, per MLB.com.
But he’s the second-highest arm, behind no. 2 prospect Daniel Espino.
So far, Williams is showing precisely why the Guards picked him with their first-round pick in 2021.
He lit up Division-I with American Athletic Conference’s Eastern Carolina University.
In his 2021 season with the Pirates, he dominated the mound to the tune of (a familiar) 1.88 ERA and 130 strikeouts against only 21 walks.
Those numbers all rank in the top-four across the Guardians’ system.
He was even briefly held back in the Guardians’ system, but not for any red flag problems.
Williams was pitching in the College World Series.
Not only that, but he was pitching against Vanderbilt’s Kumar Rocker, one of the NCAA’s top pitchers last season.
And boy did Williams duel.
Through just over seven innings, Williams fanned 13 Vanderbilt batters.
While the team lost the game 2-0, Williams picked up some huge experience.
Guardians 22yr old RHP Gavin Williams (@16gavinwilliams) organizational rankings after his first four career starts at Lake County.
1) WHIP 0.66
1) AVG .095
3) FIP 1.88
3) SO 29
3) SO% 40.8%
3) IP 19.2
4) ERA 1.83
5) SO/9 13.27
5) SwStr% 18.4%
* 13.0+ Innings pitched to qualify pic.twitter.com/vVmN3Zxwvi
— Guardians Prospective (@CleGuardPro) May 3, 2022
In his most recent start for the Lake County Captains, Williams pitched six scoreless innings, struck out five, and surrendered a single hit.
Projected to come out of the minors in 2024, Williams has the chance to fly through the system.
His big-game experience in college should only help move things along.
The Fayetteville, NC pitcher could usher in the next wave of strong Cleveland pitchers.
The team is well known for its pitching development.
Over the last decade, the franchise has shown a great talent at developing pitchers.
Now, it seems the pitching factory is ready to launch the next generation.
If he can find out how to extend his velocity deep into games, he’ll be well on his way to the MLB debut he’s hoping for.
If (read: when) Williams buys into this system and gets a few more games under his belt, watch out.
You just might miss him.
That, and his fastball.