In a Mariners farm system loaded with high-end pitching prospects, Brandon Williamson has established himself as one of the organization’s brightest young arms.
The 6-foot-6 lefthander was a strikeout machine this year with High-A Everett and Double-A Arkansas. His strikeout rate of 37.4% ranked fifth among all minor league pitchers with at least 90 innings.
The 2019 second-round pick out of Texas Christian posted a 3.39 ERA in 98.1 innings, capped by a dazzling finish in Double-A Central.
“At both levels, he had multiple nights where he beats anybody in baseball at any level,” Mariners farm director Andy McKay said.
“. . . He had multiple starts that were exceptional types of starts—not just going out and pitching well, but going out and pitching at a level that is really easy to see (him as) a big league starter, and a really good one.”
Williamson initially struggled in Double-A after his mid-June promotion, logging a 6.07 ERA over his first six starts. Up to that point, he said he’d relied mostly on his fastball/curveball combination. But the higher level of competition ultimately forced him to become more comfortable with his slider and changeup.
And as he gained confidence in his full arsenal of pitches, that’s when he really took off.
“The more and more that time went on, the better I felt with a four-pitch mix,” Williamson said. “. . . I felt like once August hit, I was starting to cruise. And September, I felt absolutely dialed in.”
Williamson was utterly dominant down the stretch, posting a 1.43 ERA over his final seven starts. During that span, he fanned an eye-popping 41.8% of batters. He had at least eight strikeouts in six of his final seven outings.
“He’s one of the guys who you can watch with your own eyes and see it,” McKay said. “You can look at raw data, and that really jumps at times. You can have an older veteran scout get his eyes on him. He kind of checks all of the evaluation boxes.
“. . . We’re thrilled with where he’s at right now with his development.”
— This year’s first-round pick Harry Ford slashed .291/.400/.582 over 19 games in the Arizona Complex League. The ultra-athletic, 18-year-old catcher hit three home runs and seven doubles, with all three homers coming in his final five games. Ford was the No. 12 overall pick in this year’s draft, making him the highest prep catcher selected since 2015. The Kennesaw, Ga., product signed with the Mariners for $4,366,400.
— Outfielder Corey Rosier, a 12th-round pick out of UNC Greensboro, had one of the best pro debuts of any hitter in this year’s draft. The 22-year-old lefthanded hitter slashed .390/.461/.585 with 14 extra-base hits in 31 games with Low-A Modesto. He also stole 13 bases in 16 tries.