Inside Pitch Scouting Report: LHP, Joseph Williams

The New York Mets drafted Joseph Williams out of St. Xavier University in the 17th round of the 2004 draft. Williams, both a star on the mound and at the plate in college, made a team-high 15 starts for the Cyclones last season. Here's a scouting report on Joseph Williams. <b>(Free Preview of Premium Content)</b>

Vital Statistics:
Name: Joseph Williams
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: April 8, 1981
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 215
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Williams rooted for his father's favorite team, the Chicago Cubs and decided to stay close to home while attending college. Williams was quite the scholar-athlete at St. Xavier University in Chicago. He graduated with a 3.8 GPA as a pre-med major in school, earning the NAIA Scholar Athlete of the Year three years in a row, highlighted by a no-hitter he threw against Purdue-North Central in his junior season. As a senior, Williams went 7-3 with a 1.33 ERA, striking out 87 batters in 88 innings. A threat at the plate as well, Williams served as the team's designated hitter and hit .369 with 8 home runs and 61 RBI before the Mets drafted him in the 17th round and assigned him to the NY-Penn League to begin his professional career.

Not blessed with a blazing fastball, Williams relied on his breaking stuff and improving command to post a 5-4 record with the Cyclones in 2004. Williams' 2.28 ERA ranked fifth in the NY-Penn League last season, combining with Michael Devaney for an excellent 1-2 punch in the Brooklyn rotation. Even though Williams did not possess the best stuff on the staff, it was his work ethic that set him apart from the rest. "I love putting work in because I know it will produce results. I mean it is really tough, but after the fact I can look back and smile and take pride in how much I work at it", Joseph Williams told

"Joe does have "ace" potential if he can improve his command", said St. Xavier University Head Coach Mike Dooley. "His work ethic has definitely set him apart from the rest. He does whatever it takes to succeed in everything that he does. Joe's competitiveness and desire to succeed are his best qualities as a pitcher. Actually, I think Joe reminds me most of Al Leiter, especially since he is lefty, and I am not just saying that because he is with the Mets."

















* Stats as of 10/1/04

Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Splitter, Changeup.

Fastball. Williams has an average Major League fastball, averaging between 87-89 MPH, and topping off at 91 MPH on the gun. Not one of the harder throwers going, Williams relies more on the command of his fastball and setting it up with his secondary pitches.

Other Pitches. More of a breaking ball pitcher, Williams has a knuckle curveball that averages 74-76 MPH and serves more as hit out pitch right now. He also throws a changeup around 78 MPH and a splitter in the 81-83 MPH range. His splitter is his weakest pitch right now and Williams will need to improve his command of his breaking pitches as he climbs the minor league ladder.

Pitching. Williams, along with Evan MacLane, was one of the "softest" tossers on the Brooklyn staff in 2004. He relies more on his breaking stuff and good command to get guys out. His command is one of his weakest areas on the mound, as evidenced by his 26 walks in 75 innings. Williams will need to work on his mechanics and show more consistency throwing his breaking pitches for strikes. He does go right after hitters and tries to get them to put the ball in play in rely on his defense. When his command is on, he's a good strikeout pitcher. Like Coach Dooley said, Williams is a gamer on the mound. Like Leiter, he won't back down from anybody.

Projection. Williams may not have the top stuff associated with a front-line starting pitcher, but he does have one of the best work ethics around. It is competitiveness on the mound and his drive to succeed that sets him apart from other pitching prospects. Williams will be 24-years old by the opening week of the 2005 season and has yet to pitch one inning in the long-season leagues yet, so he's going to have to put up the numbers at the higher levels in a hurry. The Mets are deep with pitching prospects at the lower levels, and because of his age, Williams projects to be a left-handed reliever down the road and possible spot-starter.

ETA. 2007. Because of his age, Williams is a smart bet to possibly break Spring Training with the St. Lucie club. If Williams is to realize his dream of reaching the Majors, he's going to have to work his way through the system in an expeditious manner, and that path may have to be via the bullpen route. Keep a close eye on where Williams starts the year next season. If he begins in St. Lucie, like he should, he could only need a couple of years in the minors to make it as a reliever.

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