Prep Baseball Report




East Carolina
Cape Fear (HS) • NC
6' 6" • 220LBS


2017 National

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2017 State

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2021 DRAFT Cleveland Indians ROUND 1 PICK
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2021 MLB DraftWilliams was an exciting prep prospect in North Carolina's 2017 class, epitomizing projection as a 6-foot-6 senior, and he immediately began to fufill that promise when he landed on campus at ECU. In the spring of 2018, Williams was a budding, lights-out reliever who ticked his fastball up into the triple digits. Injuries prevented him from logging the innings–and thus, the development time–to factor into the starting rotation, and the shortened 2020 campaign obviously didn't help. So, Williams went unselected last year. This spring, Williams quickly and assertively began to check every box that hampered his draft stock the year before: refined feel to spin a breaking ball to complete three-pitch mix and enhancing his certified plus fastball. While he can still reach the 100 mph mark, Williams' has proven he can be just as effective holding 94-97 while also pulling out a viable, newfound 83-87 slider, or a reliable changeup he more often leaned on in years past. He kept rising over the course of the spring, ultimately keeping pace with Kumar Rocker in a Friday night duel in the Nashville Super Regional, and he's established himself as a fair bet to earn a selection inside the first round.


Williams has been an uncommonly buzzy player in college baseball since he was a freshman in 2018, when he ran his fastball into the triple digits as a reliever for East Carolina. He posted a 1.15 ERA in 15 appearances that spring, but a forearm strain limited him, and he struggled to put together a full healthy season in each of the next two years. Williams logged just three innings in the shortened 2020 campaign and went unselected in the five-round draft, though some club might have taken a flyer on him had the price been right. This spring he’s showing better mound presence and a more complete arsenal, helping him emerge as a legitimate Friday night ace. Williams struck out nine over five innings of four-hit, one run ball on Friday against Memphis, improving his season line to 4-0, 0.86 with a sparkling 51-11 K-BB mark in 31.1 innings. He’s holding opponents to a .161 clip. In the past, he complemented his big fastball with a quality changeup, but he always struggled to spin a reliable breaking ball that could miss bats. This fall, he was tinkering around with teammates and borrowed a slider grip from righty Dylan Lawson. Suddenly, that slider clicked. On Friday against an all-righty Memphis lineup, Williams pitched exclusively off his fastball and slider, which was an average offering in the 83-87 mph range, showing good late bite at times, and flattening out at others. It’s still not a plus wipeout pitch, but he can miss bats with it, and he can throw it for strikes. It gives him that reliable third pitch he’s been searching for. And the fastball really plays. Williams works downhill from a high slot, giving his heater a tough angle. He ran it up to 96 mph repeatedly and bumped 97 on Friday, and he held 94-95 throughout his 88-pitch outing. It also flashed above-average spin rate as high as 2454 rpm, and he generated a boatload of swing-and-misses on the heater. The fastball was the putaway pitch on seven of his nine strikeouts, but he did whiff two other hitters on sliders at 84 mph. Pitching coach Jason Dietrich said Williams can use his changeup right-on-right, but he didn’t need to on this day, so he kept it in his pocket. He did break out his 75-78 mph curveball a few times later in his outing but he lacked feel for it. On the whole, Williams has clearly elevated his prospect stock, and he now looks like a third-to-fifth-round candidate for the draft this summer. (A Fitt)


2020 DRAFT: Williams has flashed great promise during his up-and-down, injury-riddled ECU career, but he needed the opportunity to prove himself over a full season this spring in order to boost his stock into first-round consideration. Williams opened eyes by running his fastball up to triple digits as a freshman in 2018, but injury limited him to 15.2 innings of relief that spring, and he logged just 49.1 innings as a starter and reliever in 2019. He opened 2020 on the shelf with a small fracture in his ring finger, but returned to make two scoreless relief appearances, striking out five in three innings. Our last look at Williams came in a fall scrimmage at Virginia, when he came out of the chute with an electric fastball, sitting 96-97 mph in a seven-pitch first inning. He followed with two more scoreless frames, settling in at 94-95 along with a good swing-and-miss changeup at 88-89 and a big-breaking 11-to-5 curveball at 74-77. The development of that breaking ball is a big key for Williams, and it remains a work in progress. He needs to learn to repeat the pitch more consistently. His changeup has always been his No. 2 pitch, and it gives him a legitimate out pitch to go along with his big heater, which remains his calling card. At 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, it's easy to fall in love with Williams' potential, but he has plenty to prove with regards to his command, durability and breaking ball quality.


For the second consecutive week, RHP Gavin Williams (Cape Fear HS, NC) dominated an opposing lineup and went seven innings without allowing a hit. Wednesday night against Jack Britt HS, NC, the East Carolina recruit allowed three walks and struck out 11. Tall and projectable at 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, Williams was 92-95 mph in the first inning and 90-92 in the second before settling into the 88-92 range. In the seventh inning with two outs, he was 90-92, touching 93, against the final batter. His curveball showed 11/5 shape with depth at 75 in the first inning, but was inconsistent the rest of the way and remains in development. He also showed a changeup in the low 80s, but he was choking the pitch. The walks came in the fifth and sixth innings when Williams’ control wavered as he was flying open with his delivery and yanking pitches to his glove side. Williams pitches with effort and with runners on, he’s very quick to the plate.

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