The Cincinnati Reds have acquired Case Williams from the Colorado Rockies, along with big league reliever Jeff Hoffman in exchange for Robert Stephenson and minor league outfielder, and #23 Reds prospect Jameson Hannah. For some overall trade analysis, you can read what I wrote about it at Redleg Nation. Here, though, we’re going to focus on Case Williams and what he brings to the mound.
Let’s start with the basic background information. Case Williams has not thrown a professional pitch – at least in a game that counts – in his life. He was the Colorado Rockies 4th round pick in the 2020 Major League Baseball draft, signing for a bonus of $450,000. Williams didn’t get to pitch his senior year of high school this spring as sports were shut down before his season began at his Douglas County High School in Colorado. He’s listed at 6′ 3″ and 210 lbs, and was born in February of 2002.
The Cincinnati Reds were interested in drafting Williams, and were reportedly set to do so, but the Rockies picked him three spots before the Reds were going to make the move in the 4th round according to Williams’ high school coach and former minor league player Craig Gienger. This was backed up by Reds General Manager Nick Krall earlier this afternoon when he spoke to the local media about the deal.
“Case Williams is actually a kid we were going to take in the 4th round, and Colorado picked our pocket right ahead of us,” said Krall. “Our guys really liked him. He is a big strong kid that has good stuff. He has a chance to have three solid pitches. We got to know him pretty well, he was on our scout team (in the area code games). Dan Cholowsky , our area scout ran that scout team, and we got to know him pretty well and just really liked him as a kid, as a competitor and feel like he’s got a chance to be a big league starter at the end of the day. He’s 18 and has a long ways to go, but just being able to add talent to your system was the attraction for (adding) him.”
Case Williams Scouting Report
Fastball: The pitch has been up to 96 MPH, and was sitting in closer to the mid-90s recently than the low 90’s he showed in the summer of 2019. The pitch has a higher than average spin rate, too.
Curveball: A 12-6 curveball that works in the low-to-mid 70’s. Depending on who you ask it grades out as a fringe-average pitch to an above-average pitch. Of course, the varying grades also tell you that the consistency of the pitch isn’t there right now.
Change Up: A well below-average offering today.
At one point in high school, Williams was over 240 lbs. He began to take his fitness more seriously and got in much better shape and that helped him take that next step in his development. That will be something to keep an eye on as he continues his professional baseball career.
In this video you get a good look at his breaking ball when it’s at it’s best. It’s an above-average offering here that shows tight breaking action. With more consistency, coupled with his fastball – if he can throw strikes at an acceptable rate – and there’s no reason to believe otherwise at this point – that’s at least a profile for a quality reliever. If the change up can make some strides to give him three usable pitches, then you are looking at a potential middle of the rotation starter.