It took 53 selections in the 2013 June Draft before Devin Williams received notice he was picked by the Milwaukee Brewers.
The initially projected first round selection from Hazelwood West High School in Missouri is using the long wait as fuel to forge ahead after his first season as a pitcher with the Brewers’ organization.
“I don’t think that had much to do with it. There were some teams that had some doubts about me I am just thankful that the Brewers picked me,” Williams said regarding the letter of intent he signed with the University of Missouri prior to the draft.
“I was passed up by everybody once. So it just makes you want to prove everyone wrong,” Williams added.
Williams, 19, endured a tough and frustrating start to his young career where he allowed eight earned runs on 15 hits and 13 walks in his first six appearances (14.2 IP) with Rookie Arizona League Brewers.
However, the prep pitcher rated as high as 20th by ESPN.com entering the draft demonstrated the ability to be teachable.
“There was some adjustments with my mechanics because at certain times I would get off balance with my delivery,” Williams said.
Williams responded with a string of stellar outings the latter portion of the season where he amassed 23 strikeouts compared to nine walks in 20.1 innings. He also allowed 13 hits through the final stretch.
The 6’3” hard thrower captured his first career victory in a three-inning relief appearance August 16 where he fanned six through three innings.
Williams stated his best game came against the Dodgers where he held the team hitless and struck out two through four innings.
Despite his promising start, Williams acknowledges he still has plenty of room to grow as a pitcher.
“I want to cut down on my walks this season because I had too many last season,” Williams said. “I think my slider needs a little work right now because it is a pretty inconsistent pitch right now.”
Williams also noted mental adjustments need to be made during the transition to professional baseball following his high school career.
“The hitters in pro ball are more disciplined than in high school and they would never chase after anything outside the strike zone,” Williams said.
Williams expressed confidence in his fastball when Brewers Farm Report asked him whether he believes he is a power pitcher or finesse pitcher.
“I am more of a power pitcher because I like to use my fastball a lot,” Williams said, but counters it by using his change-up and slider when ahead in the count.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he can throw a 96 miles per hour fastball and accrued a 6-2 record with a 1.15 ERA his senior season. He struck out a phenomenal 101 batters in 55 innings and allowed just 19 hits.
While Williams is determined to pave a path to the Major Leagues, he enjoyed experiences with his teammates in Arizona.
One player he was impressed with is left-hander Clint Terry, Milwaukee’s 18th round selection in the same draft.
“That is my pitcher and he is a dominating pitcher. That’s why I like him,” Williams said. “He keeps hitters off balance and you never know what he is going to throw.”
Terry, 21, struck out 56 batters and walked ten through 46.2 innings and tabulated a meager 1.54 ERA.
Williams’ Final Statistics:
Williams grew up less than a half hour from St. Louis and admits growing up as a diehard Cardinals fan.
“I grew up a big Cardinals fan. I went to about 15 games a year since I was four years old,” Williams said. “When I am pitching for the Brewers I wouldn’t worry about that at all.”
His feelings for the Cardinals changed after the team opted to select two other players prior to Milwaukee’s selection in the second round and hopes to avenge being passed over as a member of the Brewers’ major league squad.
“Yeah absolutely, they are one of the teams that passed up on me,” said Williams, regarding how he wants to win against his hometown team.
When Milwaukee picked Williams, he knew he had to snag the opportunity and forgo his scholarship to Missouri.
“I wanted to get my coaching down in the minor leagues to get to the big leagues faster,” Williams said.
Williams stated he was in awe of Miller Park when he toured the stadium days after being drafted in June.
“The Park is beautiful, I have never been there and never been in a stadium with a dome on it,” Williams said.