DEVIN Terran WILLIAMS
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   RHP
Home: N/A Team:   BREWERS
Height: 6' 2" Bats:   R
Weight: 190 Throws:   R
DOB: 9/21/1994 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 38  
Birth City: Florissant, MO
Draft: Brewers #2 - 2013 - Out of high school (MO)
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G IP H SO BB GS CG SHO SV W L OBA ERA
2013 AZL AZL-Brewers   13 34.2 28 39 22 6 0 0 1 1 3   3.38
2014 PIO HELENA   15 66.1 74 66 20 8 0 0 0 4 7 0.282 4.48
2015 MWL WISCONSIN   22 89 75 89 36 13 0 0 0 3 9   3.44
2016 FSL BREVARD COUNTY   5 25 27 20 12 2 0 0 0 1 2   4.32
2016 MWL WISCONSIN   17 72.1 64 74 34 10 0 0 2 6 3   3.61
2017 - DL - Tommy John                            
2018 CAR CAROLINA   14 34 40 35 22 14 0 0 0 0 3   5.82
2019 PCL SAN ANTONIO   3 3.2 2 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0   0.00
2019 SL BILOXI   31 53.1 34 76 29 0 0 0 4 7 2   2.36
2019 NL BREWERS   13 13.2 18 14 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.31 3.95
2020 NL BREWERS $210.00 22 27 8 53 9 0 0 0 0 4 1 0.09 0.33
Today's Game Notes
  • Sept. 1, 2021: Devin Williams was a breakout star in 2020. Armed with a devastating changeup that acted like a screwball and was called ‘The Airbender,’ he was a dominant force in the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen. Although he worked as a setup man and did not notch a save, he was named the NL Rookie of the Year and earned votes for both the Cy Young and MVP awards.

    It appeared as though the mystery of Williams’ Airbender had been solved at the beginning of the season. He struggled as Major League Baseball announced that it would begin cracking down on pitchers doctoring the baseball, leading to the belief that his dominance was due to the usage of that sticky stuff.

    But that thought is starting to change. As other pitchers have struggled with the crackdown being strictly enforced, and the spot checks of gloves and hats, Williams has begun to excel once again. He has allowed just one unearned run over his 19 innings since the beginning of July, allowing ten hits and four walks while striking out 28 batters.

Personal
  • In Williams' senior year at Hazelwood West High School in Missouri, he committed to a baseball scholarship to the University of Missouri.

  • Devin observes and learns from successful players. "I pick up little things watching other players. Just the little things they do, like the way they finish a pitch or something. I can use that towards my game," he said.

  • June 16, 2013: The Brewers chose Williams in the second round, out of Hazelwood West High School in Missouri. He signed a $1.35 million contract with scout Harvey Kuenn, Jr.  


    Williams received a bonus in excess of the $1,017,300 slot amount
    . Part of his package included compensation for forgoing a scholarship to the University of Missouri.

    All along, it was clear that the Brewers and Williams' agent, Jason Wood, were going to be able to strike a deal. Williams was in Milwaukee last week for a physical exam and motion analysis test, then returned to St. Louis for a going away party with family and friends. Brewers officials met him there Sunday with his contract in hand.

    Williams begin his professional career with the Brewers' Rookie League affiliate.

    The Brewers did not have a first-round selection in 2013. They surrendered it to sign righthander Kyle Lohse.  On draft night, the Brewers' buzzwords on Williams were "athleticism" and "upside." Most scouting reports used the word "projectable" to describe the 6-foot-3, 165-pound Williams.

  • In 2014, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Williams as the 9th-best prospect in the Brewers organization. And they moved him up a notch, to #8 in the spring of 2015. And he was at #10 in 2016, but fell to #25 in the spring of 2017.

    Devin missed the book in 2018 and 2019. But he was back in at #15 in the spring of 2020.

  • Devin has good hand-eye coordination.

  • July 2019: Williams represented the Brewers at the Futures All-Star Game.

  • Aug 11, 2020: For many a pitcher, the changeup is last to come. For the Brewers’ Devin Williams, who made the highlight reels at Byron Buxton’s expense on Tuesday, it was one of the first pitches to come.

    “I started throwing like that as a kid,” Williams said. “Like, when I played catch with my friends, just to mess with people, trying to make them miss the ball when I threw it to them. That’s what turned into my changeup. I’ve had that since I was maybe 10 years old.

    Now he’s 25, a former prospect whose star faded due to Tommy John surgery. But his star is shining again thanks to a power fastball and one of baseball’s best changeups. Including the outing against the Twins, Williams has faced 29 batters this season, with three hits, four walks and 12 strikeouts.

    The most memorable strikeout victim to date was Buxton, the talented Twins outfielder who found himself in a 2-0 count against Williams with two outs and a runner aboard in the eighth inning of a tied game on Tuesday night. Williams threw a changeup inside, the quality of which was obvious from the awkward nature of Buxton’s swing.

    “He's definitely selling out for a fastball there,” Williams said. “I just have enough confidence in my stuff right now to throw [a changeup] in that situation. I think that's been the biggest step forward for me this year."

  • It’s a special pitch. On average, according to Statcast, a changeup breaks in on a righthanded hitter by 13 inches. Williams’ average break is 18 inches.

    Put differently, the vertical break of Williams’ changeup is 26 percent better than MLB average, and the horizontal break is 35 percent better. Those figures are way up from Williams’ percentages last season in his big league debut, and unlike some pitchers who have benefited from the Brewers’ high-tech pitching lab, Williams said he has refined the pitch by trial and error, especially after Spring Training was suspended due to the pandemic.

    With a 2-1 count to Buxton, the next pitch was another changeup and another swinging strike. With Buxton now guessing in a 2-2 count, Williams spotted one of his power fastballs—98.1 mph—at the low outside corner for a called strike three. That highlights the other problem for hitters. Williams’ average fastball is 96.4 mph, and his average changeup is 84 mph.

    To Williams’ delight, the sequence against Buxton was spotlighted by the popular Pitching Ninja account on Twitter.

    “I'm proud of Devin,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He's taken on a lot more responsibility in big innings for us. He's taken a step forward this year, there's no question about it. You can see his confidence out there. He believes in his stuff. I think this guy is going to be really, really important for us. You see him getting better out there. You see him understanding situations and his stuff. We need him. We need more guys back there and he's quickly establishing himself as one of those guys.”  (A McCalvy - MLB.com - Aug 12, 2020)

  • 2020 season: Devin Williams is the most underrated of the young class of future star pitchers. His 53 strikeouts paced all NL rookies. Even more incredibly, he accomplished this feat in just 27 total innings pitched. He holds a 4-1 record and a nearly perfect 0.33 ERA. While the sample size is small, Williams has shown flashes of a player who could take over the Josh Hader role should the small-market Brewers ever decided to cut ties with their prolific closer.


    In a league where consistent closers are becoming increasingly rare and effective bullpen arms are as important as ever, Williams seems to have a special skillset
    . There is a clear pathway for him to become an All-Star and top reliever in the very near future. (Allen Settle)

  •  In 2020, Williams was voted MLB Relief Pitcher of the Year by Baseball Digest/eBay.

  • In 2020, Devin Williams was the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s Jackie Robinson NL Rookie of the Year. This made him the first relief pitcher to take the honor in either league since the Braves’ Craig Kimbrel in 2011, the first non-closer since the Reds’ Scott Williamson in 1999, and the first pitcher ever to win the award without logging a single win or save.
Pitching
  • Williams has a 93-100 mph FASTBALL with hard late life; an 88-92 mph sinking 2-SEAMER; an 86-88 mph slurvy-SLIDER that he has good command of; and good feel for an excellent 84-85 mph CHANGEUP with good deception, sink, and fade, which keeps hitters off his heater.

  • 2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 61% of the time, his Change 36.6%; and Slider 2.4% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 96.5 mph, Change 86.2, and Slider 90.4 mph.

  • 2020 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 43.9% of the time, his Change 52.7%; and Slider 3.5% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 96.9 mph, Change 84.5, and Slider 86.8 mph.

  • What a CHANGEUP! 

    “His changeup, visually at least, almost has kind of a screwball look to it,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

    Catcher Jacob Nottingham, who teamed with Williams in the minor leagues, had this description: “It’s like a lefthander’s curveball coming out of the hand of a righthander.”

    Brewers closer Josh Hader, said, “It looks like he’s playing a video game to me. It’s a plus-plus-plus changeup. It’s almost like a lefty slider coming out of his hand.”

    Making Williams’ changeup even more remarkable is that it is self-taught. He thinks he began testing his ability to throw an off-speed pitch as early as age 10.

    “When I played catch with my friends, just to mess with people or try to make them miss the ball when I threw it to them,” he said. “That’s what turned into my changeup.”

    Williams always has thrown his changeup with a high spin rate, but he tweaked it further earlier this year by taking a bit more velocity off it, making it tumble even more. His command of the pitch also was impressive, leaving hitters to flail helplessly even when they guessed it was coming. (Tom Haudricourt - Baseball America - Spring, 2020)

  • Williams’ lengthy recovery allowed him to get bigger and stronger, and when he finally returned last year as a reliever, his fastball was pushing triple digits.. Williams’ slider, though still part of his arsenal, has taken a backseat to an above-average changeup that has a 12-13 mph demarcation in velocity compared to his fastball. Big league hitters batted just .222 with a .259 slugging against Williams’ changeup, albeit in a sub-100-pitch sample size.

    Williams has made huge strides with his durability, stuff and control, but the right-hander still has gains to make with his command. The Brewers view him as potential multi-inning weapon out of the bullpen, perhaps even a high-leverage reliever if he can learn to command his explosive fastball. (Spring 2020)

    "I think my stuff can play at any level. I just have to execute and stay confident. That’s a big thing for me—maintaining confidence," Devin said in 2019.

  • As Williams matures and his lanky frame filled out, he added velo to his heater. He has a slider that he sometimes gets under, but it has a chance to be average along with an improving changeup. 

    "He is a high-upside talent," said Bruce Seid, Brewers amateur scouting director in 2013. "A lot of our scouts have seen him play. From Day 1, we were excited about the athleticism of the player as well as his talent. We feel he has a high ceiling. He's young, has a lot of energy. We're happy he got to us. We're really excited."

  • Devin is tall and very thin—lean and loose. The Brewers believed that he’d get a boost in velocity and better command with a smoother delivery. And they were right.

    When Williams keeps his front shoulder closed, he has a loose, easy delivery and shows a feel for three pitches. He now repeats his delivery much more consistently, keeping his front shoulder closed.

    His is a fast-paced delivery. It is a good tempo and an easy arm action, coming at hitters from a three-quarters release point. He has a good arm path and deception on his fastball, which helps his changeup play up. (Spring, 2016)

  • 2014 Season: Williams had a dreadful start. His ERA stood at 5.94 through eight appearances. But he pulled things together to go 2-2, 2.70 in his final seven outings, with 33 strikeouts and six walks in 30 innings.

    "He got to a point where he started to understand the professional game this year,” Helena manager Tony Diggs said. “It showed not only in his lifting and workout regimen, but it showed in his day-to-day regimen as well.”

  • 2015 Season: Devin improved as the season progressed and pitched to a 3.31 ERA in 14 second-half appearances, recording a 57-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 52 innings.

  • During his recovery from 2017 Tommy John surgery, Williams added muscle that helped him throw his fastball in the mid-to-high 90s. He touched 100 mph at times in 2019. Accordingly, he became more aggressive with that pitch while also mixing in a sharp-breaking slider in the upper 80s and an improved changeup.

  • Aug 31, 2020: Devin strode to the mound with a runner aboard and the Brewers locked in a seventh-inning tie. It was his first appearance as the team’s primary setup man in the wake of the Trade Deadline. Williams struck out the first Pirate he faced with a changeup. After a walk, Williams ended the inning by getting a groundout with another changeup.

    When Williams returned to the mound to pitch the eighth, he struck out all three men he faced.

    Changeup. Fastball. Back to the changeup.Five huge outs to earn the win in the Brewers’ 6-5 victory over the Pirates at Miller Park. 

    Over and over, Williams has baffled hitters with his stuff, particularly his top off-speed offering during a breakout season. (A McCalvy - MLB.com - Sep 1, 2020)

  • 2020 Improved Change-up: It’s a special pitch. On average, according to Statcast, a changeup breaks in on a righthanded hitter by 13 inches. Williams’ average break is 18 inches.

    Put differently, the vertical break of Williams’ changeup is 26 percent better than MLB average, and the horizontal break is 35 percent better. Those figures are way up from Williams’ percentages last season in his big league debut, and unlike some pitchers who have benefited from the Brewers’ high-tech pitching lab, Williams said he has refined the pitch by trial and error, especially after Spring Training was suspended due to the pandemic.

    The pitch defies logic and description. It’s classified as a changeup but acts more like a screwball, the rare offering from a right-hander that fades down and away from a left-handed batter. Rob Friedman, known on Twitter as the Pitching Ninja, may have coined the best moniker for the pitch: the “Air-bender.

  • Top rookie Statcast performers of 2020

    Best whiff rate (Relief Pitcher): Devin Williams, Brewers—51.8 percent. Williams’ 51.8 percent whiff rate was the highest recorded by any qualified pitcher since the start of the pitch-tracking era in 2015. James Karinchak (45.5 percent) and Jordan Romano (43.8 percent) also cracked the leaderboard for that period, ranking sixth and ninth, respectively.

    Best xBA (RP): Devin Williams—.109. In addition to his record-setting whiff rate, Williams also finished the season with the lowest expected batting average (.109) since the start of the 2015 season. Karinchak’s .130 xBA netted him a sixth-best ranking on the all-time leaderboard, and Yohan Ramirez (.151) cracked the top 20 with his breakout campaign for the Mariners.

    Best changeup: Devin Williams—.077 wOBA. Williams’ historic rookie campaign was made possible by a changeup that was, by all measures, the best pitch thrown by any pitcher in 2020. Among individual pitches, Williams’ changeup led the way in xBA (.066), xSLG (.078), wOBA (0.77), and whiff rate (61.1 percent). To add further context to his dominance with the pitch: Williams amassed 41 strikeouts and allowed just two hits, both singles, in the 62 at-bats that ended with him throwing a changeup.

  • Oct 7, 2020: Following a season in which pitching carried the Brewers to a third consecutive postseason appearance, Corbin Burnes and Devin Williams split the top two team awards handed out by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

    Williams was their most dominant pitcher. A rookie with a uniquely devastating changeup, Williams struck out an incredible 53 percent of the hitters he faced, an all-time Major League record for a pitcher who worked at least seven innings in a season. Williams pitched 27 innings over 22 regular-season games and allowed only one earned run. He finished with an 0.33 ERA. (A McCalvy - MLB.com - Oct 6, 2020)

  • In 2020, Williams won the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award.

  • Dec 9, 2020: The NL’s Rookie of the Year Award winner is also a member of the second annual All-MLB teams.

    Brewers righthander Devin Williams, coming off a record-setting strikeout rate in his first complete season in Milwaukee’s bullpen, was named to the All-MLB Second Team. The teams were chosen via a combination of voting from fans and a panel of media members, broadcasters, former players and other baseball officials.

    Williams pitched 27 innings during the shortened 2020 season and allowed only one earned run while striking out 53 of the 100 batters he faced. The run scored in the second of Williams’ 22 appearances. (A McCalvy - MLB.com - Dec 9, 2020)

  • Dec 27, 2020: Devin Williams, RHP, Brewers. Key stat: .032 AVG allowed on changeup.

    We have to start with the NL Rookie of the Year and Reliever of the Year. Williams burst onto the scene as the most dominant reliever in baseball, period. He had an 0.33 ERA and struck out over half the batters he faced, thanks to a magical "air-bender" changeup that was baseball's best pitch, period.

    Here are just some of the fun facts about Williams' air-bender:

    –Hitters went just 2-for-62 against it … with 41 strikeouts. Williams' .032 batting average allowed on changeups was the lowest on any single pitch in baseball in 2020, out of the 418 pitchers with 50-plus plate appearances ending on one pitch type.

    –Williams' changeup drops 8.3 inches more than an average MLB changeup and breaks horizontally 4.7 inches more than an average changeup. His vertical movement was fourth-best in MLB, and his horizontal movement was second-best.

    –Williams has a uniquely high changeup spin rate. A changeup is typically a low-spin pitch, but because Williams releases his like a screwball, he averages 2,852 rpm. That's over 400 rpm higher than any other changeup. It's over 1,000 rpm higher than the MLB average changeup spin rate, which is 1,767 rpm. Williams' changeup spin would be high if it were a curveball, forget about a changeup. (D Adler - MLB.com - Dec 27, 2020)

  • September 2, 2021:  Another long run of excellence came to an end for reliever Devin after the Giants snapped his streak of 22 consecutive outings without allowing an earned run.  Williams has gone 20-plus outings without allowing an earned run in each of his first two full seasons in the Majors, joining lefty Brian Shouse as the only pitchers in franchise history with multiple such stretches.
  • As of the start of the 2021 season, Devin's career record was: 4-1 with a 1.55 ERA, having allowed 3 home runs and 26 hits in 40 innings.
Career Injury Report
  • April-May 2015: Williams began the season in extended spring training while he recovered from a forearm injury.

  • March 23, 2017:  Devin underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the entire season

  • April 5-June 7, 2018: Williams was on the DL the first two months of the season.

     

  • August 23-end of Sept 2018: Devin was on the DL.

  • July 17-27, 2021: The Brewers placed Williams on the 10-day injured due to discomfort in his right elbow.