It’s early September, that means football, and hockey are coming, the major league baseball season is heading into the home stretch, and the minor league baseball regular season has come to a close. So what better time than now to catch everyone up on the latest organizational prospect rankings (Thanks, MLB Pipeline), and how each player performed this season. Our first edition will recap the 30th ranked prospect, right handed starting pitcher Ryan Williams.
Where did he play in 2015?
Williams started 2015 pitching for the South Bend Cubs, and finished the season on the Tennessee Smokies roster.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Williams pitch this year, because that’s exactly what he does, pitch. He has an uncanny ability to keep guys off base, and keeps the ball on the ground when he is going good. He profiles well at Wrigley because of that, and he rarely gives up the long ball, Mayo’s note below mentions that he had only given up two HR’s in his professional career heading into 2015, that number sky rocketed to four, wow. Barring some unforeseen circumstances, I expect Williams to be primed for Iowa in 2016, and then anything is really possible, excited to see him progress.
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 45 | Slider: 45 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 60 | Overall: 45
In order to fit seven-figure bonuses for Dylan Cease, Carson Sands and Justin Steele into their pool allotment for the 2014 Draft, the Cubs needed to get discounts with college seniors in the ninth and 10th rounds. They got more than that with 10th-rounder Williams, who rocked to Double-A less than a year after signing for $1,000.
Williams’ success is based on two things: his sinker and his ability to locate his pitches. He won’t dazzle hitters with velocity while operating at 88-90 mph and touching 92, but he gets them to hit groundout after groundout because of the way his fastball dives at the plate. In his first 121 2/3 innings as pro, he surrendered just two home runs and 12 walks.
Williams’ feel for pitching allows his entire repertoire to play better than it grades. His curveball, slider and splitter/changeup aren’t more than serviceable but he mixes them well and throws them for strikes. He starred as a reliever in his pro debut before returning to his normal role as a starter in 2015, and his versatility is another factor that could help him reach Chicago much sooner than expected.
*** The scouting breakdown for all recaps are provided by Jonathan Mayo.