Seattle Mariners claim WA native Taylor Williams on waivers

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JUNE 04: Taylor Williams #54 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Miller Park on June 04, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JUNE 04: Taylor Williams #54 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins at Miller Park on June 04, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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The Seattle Mariners made another addition to their bullpen pile on Friday, claiming the former Camas High pitcher Taylor Williams on waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Mariners have been looking for more upside in their 2020 bullpen and they may have found it with Taylor Williams. The 28-year-old Williams was awarded Williams via waiver claim late Friday morning.

Williams will get a chance to win a bullpen spot out of spring training. He has good stuff, including a 95 MPH fastball with a plus slider that sits in the mid-80s. These two pitches are enough to make Williams a solid 7th inning type of reliever.

However, Williams has never had more than fringe-average command. Similar to Dan Altavilla, Williams doesn’t need pinpoint command to be effective. But he needs to be a lot closer to 50-grade command than 40-grade, and that isn’t the case right now.

Williams’ poor command manifests itself with walks (4.23 BB/9), and giving up home runs (11.2% HR/FB).

Williams, who has logged 72 innings in 71 appearances, including a 14.1 innings for the Brewers in 2020. In his brief opportunities, Williams has shown an ability to miss bats, posting a 9.46 K/9, and a decent 3.86 FIP.

The 2014 11th round pick had a nice stint in AAA last year, posting a 9.50 K/9, a 54% groundball rate, and a 2.83 ERA. He was nipped by the longball, posting an 18.1% HR/FB rate in 2019, an indicator that shows the importance of Williams throwing better strikes.

Seattle has helped both Connor Sadzeck and Austin Adams throw more strikes than they ever have and the results were promising. Thankfully, Williams was granted a 4th option year by MLB, meaning Seattle can send him to AAA to start 2020 without exposing him to waivers.

Next. Be careful not to succumb to "Prospect Worship". dark

To make room for Williams, the Mariners designated Phillips Valdez for assignment. The team has 7 days to trade, release, or waive Valdez. If he clears waivers, Seattle will likely stash him in AAA for parts of the 2020 season.

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