Williams, who enters 2020 as the Pirates' No. 3 starter, struggled throughout spring training with a 9.00 ERA in nine innings. He gave up 12 hits and six walks in nine frames, though the gusty Florida winds contributed to his ineffectiveness. On the bright side, Williams permitted only one homer. In 2019, the righty saw his home run rate jump to 1.64 HR/9 from 0.51 HR/9 in 2017 and 1.17 HR/9 in 2018. Last year, the righty registered an 8.87 ERA in 10 starts with the recently released Elias Diaz behind the plate. With Francisco Cervelli and current starter Jacob Stallings catching, his earned-run average dropped to 3.67 (in 16 starts). Williams makes for an interesting endgame fantasy pick, especially if he can rebound anywhere close to the pitcher he was before 2019, when he compiled a 3.56 ERA in his first two full major-league campaigns.
Williams allowed four runs on four hits and two walks in one-plus innings Friday against Baltimore. He struck out two batters. He pitched better than his line suggests but was squeezed by the home plate ump and poorly supported by his fielders. Williams left the game in the top of the second inning after throwing 46 pitches. The righty has surrendered eight runs in three spring innings and is looking to rebound from a poor 2019 showing, when he compiled a 5.38 ERA and 1.41 WHIP.
Williams gave up four earned runs on four hits and a walk in two innings Sunday against the Phillies. He hit one batter, threw one wild pitch and finished with zero strikeouts. Williams certainly didn't get off to a great Grapefruit League start, but he'll get plenty more chances as the team's third starter. The righty compiled an amazing second half in 2018 -- 1.29 ERA in 76.2 innings -- but he pitched closer to his expected numbers in 2019. His 5.38 ERA last summer nearly mirrored his xFIP of 5.25.
Williams agreed to a one-year, $2.825 million deal with the Pirates on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. This is his first of three years as an arbitration-eligible player. Williams should break camp in the Pirates' rotation.
Williams allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts across seven innings while taking a loss against the Reds on Sunday. Although it led to just two runs, Williams tossed up two more long balls Sunday, giving him a career-high 27 homers allowed this season. He yielded just 15 a year ago, which is why his ERA was more than 2.00 runs better in 2018. Williams started experiencing problems giving up homers when he returned from an injury in the middle of June, and it immediately hurt his ERA. He finishes the season 7-9 with a disappointing 5.38 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 113 strikeouts in 145.2 innings.
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