With profits of $515 in just 8 starts, the Pirates Trevor Williams is commemorating his 3rd full season as a starting pitcher by becoming the 4th-most profitable arm to bet in 2019.
Here is a quick rundown of the top-5 pitchers to bet in 2019, ranked by profit.
Andrew Cashner and Pirates teammate Jordan Lyles have already enjoyed their moments in the spotlight, and Matt Shoemaker is hurt. Today’s write up is all about the winning ways of the 27-year-old righty Trevor Williams.
Trevor Williams is Good, not Great
Drafted 44th overall by the Marlins in 2013, Trevor Williams was never regarded as a top prospect. Don’t bother looking back at past top-100 prospect rankings, you won’t find Williams’ name anywhere on those lists.
As a minor leaguer, Williams was considered a pitcher with a decent heater-slider combo but spotty control and little chance of developing into anything better than a #5 starter.
Given an opportunity to start a few games in 2017, it was clear that Williams’ slider, supposedly his second-best pitch, was not major league ready.
Despite throwing over 70% fastballs and having no good secondary pitches, Williams performed well enough to earn a full-time role in the Bucs’ rotation and has remained ever since.
Here are the numbers that Williams has posted since assuming a starting role with Pittsburgh.
|Year||Pitching Record||ERA / WHIP||K/9||BB/9|
|2019||2-1||3.40 / 1.15||6.6||1.6|
|2018||14-10||3.11 / 1.18||6.6||2.9|
|2017||7-9||4.07 / 1.31||7.0||3.1|
|Total||23-20||3.54 / 1.22||6.8||2.8|
There is a lot to like here. Williams has lowered his walk rate in each season since 2017 and his WHIP has dropped right along with it. If I have learned anything about pitcher stats, though, it is that record, ERA, and WHIP do not tell the whole story.
Trevor Williams Should be Allowing More Hits
Either Trevor Williams is part of a new, rare breed of pitchers who transcend statistics or the kid has gotten lucky for 2 straight years!
BABIP is one of those stats in which there are few outliers. Everyone regresses toward the mean. The league average BABIP has remained constant right around .300 throughout each of the past several seasons.
Trevor Williams has been able to stay below that mark his entire career – well below it in 2018.
2019 is the first year in which Williams’ BABIP has been above the league average. Abnormally low BABIPs mean one thing – hitters are hitting the ball right at defenders. Williams deserves to be surrendering more runs than he has at this point in his young career.
Trevor Williams Should also be Allowing More Home Runs
Not only are the hits refusing to fall against Williams, but balls are refusing to carry over the fence. The league average HR/FB rate over the past 5 seasons has been between 13 and 14%. All pitchers, regardless of ability level, tend to stick near this number.
Like I said earlier, either Williams is a new type of pitcher or he is getting lucky. Here are the 27-year-old’s HR/FB numbers.
When a fly ball goes up there is about a 14% chance that it’s gone this year, but the laws of baseball seem not to apply to Trevor Williams.
Trevor Williams – The Verdict
xFIP is an awesome stat because it calculates what a pitcher’s ERA should be. An xFIP that is higher than the ERA indicates a pitcher who is getting lucky. Here are the comparisons for Williams.
The fastball-only righty with control issues should be a mid-4 ERA guy. Williams should not have gone 14-10 with a 3.11 ERA last year, and the Pirates should not be 6-2 this year when he starts.
Trevor Williams has tricked everyone into thinking he is good. Watch out! Anyone with too much stock in this guy will get burned when the cards inevitably start falling the other way.
See you on top, boppers!