Cleveland Guardians: Time to get excited for Gavin Williams ahead of debut

With Triston McKenzie to miss at least six weeks following his diagnosis of a sprained UCL, the Cleveland Guardians have chosen to call up Gavin Williams. Williams, the team’s top prospect on, was drafted 21st overall from East Carolina in 2021. So far in 60.1 innings across Double-A and Triple-A, Williams has pitched to a 2.40 ERA with 81 strikeouts. Williams likely has a shot to stick in the rotation for the rest of the season and beyond.

What will Gavin Williams bring to Cleveland Guardians?

Williams earned a ton of prospect hype as an amateur, thanks in large part to a fastball that reaches triple-digits. Drafted out of high school but locked in to his ECU commitment, Williams had an uneven time as an underclassman. After going undrafted in the shortened 2020 draft, Williams dominated in his 2021 campaign, showcasing improved command to go with his electric arsenal. Both his slider and curveball have received plus grades from scouts.

After delaying his professional debut until 2022, Williams reached Double-A quickly, and led all of minor league baseball in opposing batting average at a ridiculous .173. Most importantly, Williams continues to earn solid grades for his command, which was a bit of a concern before his 2021 season. The fastball life is still there, as Williams sits in the mid-to-upper 90s, touching 99 mph in his most recent start on June 14.

Williams seems to have hit another gear in pro ball, a common find amongst Cleveland Guardians pitching. Rather than drafting the command-driven profile of a college hurler a la Shane Bieber, Cleveland opted for premium stuff and a short history of good command. Williams has walked 11.5 percent in his nine Triple-A starts, the highest rate of his minor league career. Still, that can easily be chalked up to a small sample, but is also a number Cleveland can stomach. The formula should be pretty simple, fastballs at the top of the zone, and that filthy curveball.

Here is Williams overpowering batters to keep you entertained until tonight’s debut against the Oakland A’s.