Rays Rumors

Tampa Bay Rays 2021 First Round Draft target: Gavin Williams

By Kasey Kuhrts
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 19: A general view of the Tampa Bay Rays sleeve logo before the game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on June 19, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners beat the Rays 6-5 in extra innings. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 19: A general view of the Tampa Bay Rays sleeve logo before the game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on June 19, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners beat the Rays 6-5 in extra innings. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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We have had fun looking at many possible options for the Tampa Bay Rays at pick number 28. From Trey Sweeney, Ky Bush, Tyler Black, Jud Fabian, and Colson Montgomery, the Rays should be happy with any of these players. However, we have one last guy they should be looking for at 28.

Gavin Williams is a right-handed pitcher out of Eastern Carolina University, and was mocked to the Tampa Bay Rays in Bleacher Report’s 3.0 mock draft. And folks, we love it.

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Who is Gavin Williams?

Gavin Williams is a 21-year-old flame thrower that started and pitched out of the bullpen during his four years at ECU. Williams is the 31st best prospect in the MLB Draft according to MLB.com, but don’t let that fool you. Williams will be long gone by pick #31.

In four seasons at ECU, Williams pitched to an 11-5 record, 2.65 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Although those are very nice career stats, Williams took off in his senior season in 2021.

This season, Williams pitched to a 10-1 record, 1.88 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 14.4 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Eye-popping numbers.

According to MLB.com, Williams fastball ranks as a 70 out of 80 on their grading scale. Another eye-popping number. Williams can hit triple digits, but he sits upper 90’s.

What is Gavin Williams?

Maybe it’s because I want Williams to be the pick, but this guy has the ability to be a front-line starter. Like we talked about, he has the heater, but Williams is in no way a one-pitch guy.

Williams carries a wipe-out curveball, that has really developed over this past season, as well as a changeup that is more than effective. This guy already has more weapons than many in this draft and has a massive ceiling.

Williams did struggle a bit throwing strikes early in his career at ECU, but that has changed. In 2019, Williams walked 23 hitters in 49.1 innings. In 2021, Williams walked only 21 hitters, in 81.1 innings. A massive improvement.

How would Gavin Williams fit with the Tampa Bay Rays?

Very, very well. It is that simple. Putting Williams into the organization best known for developing pitchers would be very scary for the rest of the league.

Something to consider, the last three college pitchers the Tampa Bay Rays selected in the first round were David Price, Ryne Stanek, and Brendan McKay. Not a bad list, especially since the Rays have not been great at making first-round selections over the past few years.

Something else to mention, the Rays and Williams have history. The Rays selected Williams out of high school in 2017. The Rays made Williams a 30th-round selection, but he elected to sign with ECU. A good decision for him. Now, the Rays should select Williams for the second time, and bring him home.

If he’s available, I would select Gavin Williams with the 28th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft.

This is why we saved his profile for last. Enjoy the draft!

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