In the fourth round of the 2020 MLB Draft, the Colorado Rockies selected pitcher Case Williams. Let’s take a look at what he brings to the organization.
The Colorado Rockies entered the fourth round of the 2020 MLB Draft having selected two college and two high school prospects. In the fourth round, they reached into their backyard to select Castle Rock, Colo., product Case Williams.
When the 110th pick rolled around, I was sure the Rockies were going to get another advanced arm or bat from the college ranks. With this being such a shortened draft, it just made too much sense after spending their first two picks on high school prospects that will most likely cost above slot to take some college players that exhausted eligibility and were easier to sign.
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Like every pundit on TV, I was completely taken aback by the Rockies selecting a player who was not on a single draft prospect list, and not even the PerfectGame Top 500 Prospects list. Funny enough, however, he was the top pitcher in Colorado per PerfectGame.com. How the same publication has you as the top player at your position, in your entire state, yet leaves you off the top 500 is insane to me.
So, unlike the pundits on TV, I am more than willing to admit, before this pick, I had no clue who Williams was. I mean, I knew he was the kid who threw the no-hitter against Cherokee Trail in 2019. However, he was so buried and nowhere to be seen on anyone’s radar that I hadn’t done much homework on him, so shame on me.
However, from the first video I watched of him throwing live BP at THROWformance, I knew the Rockies had a kid with unlimited potential, throwing straight gas with 2500+ RPM on the fastball. This young man still has milk on his tongue, yet stands 6’3″ and weighs a solid 215 straight out of high school.
Again I ask, how was this kid on no one’s radar? Watch this video and tell me he didn’t deserve a deeper dive:
Williams, a right-handed pitcher out of Douglas County High School (and committed to Santa Clara University) went 14-2 with a 2.98 ERA (94.0 IP, 31 ER) and 134 strikeouts across his high school career, including 8-1 with a 1.81 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 2019. He was also a member of the Rockies Senior Scout Team, which is why the Rockies had info on him that no other team did, not just because he was from Castle Rock. They watched him work out first hand.
As stated before, but bears repeating, Williams pitched a no-hitter on March 28, 2019, against Cherokee Trail (no runs, 11 strikeouts). Look at his K/9 rate: 134 Ks in 94.0 IP, almost 13 K/9. I will give the caveat of this being high school baseball. However, if you want to discount Colorado amateur baseball, you have not been paying attention to the Majors lately.
The comp I went with is a bit unconventional as beyond the obvious of Kyle Freeland being a lefty and Williams being a righty. Freeland is much more about control and pitch to contact with a low 90s sinking fastball and slider combo. Williams is the big, strikeout heavy flame-thrower with a 12-to-6 hammer curve. However, this is not the comp I am going for. I am illustrating what going to college and honing your craft can do for your draft stock.
The major difference between these two pitchers’ stuff is simply the advance feel and control that Freeland came out of the University of Evansville with that was learned by advanced coaching from the college ranks. I have no doubt had Williams chosen to go to Santa Clara, it would have sharpened his secondary offerings while adding even more to that 96-mph fastball while also reigning it in.
The numbers for Williams are my own. The numbers for Freeland are from MLB.com:
I had my reservations about the signability of this prospect because of everything I just said. And, if he was signable, he may have demanded above slot, which is exactly where the first two picks stood. But, to my delight, not only did Colorado continue its strong track record of signing its draft picks, but Williams signed for a $450,000 bonus. The assigned slot value for the 110th pick was $527,800, so he actually signed for well below slot value.
In my opinion, this pick could not have been handled better. The balance of this draft between advanced and projectable prospects has me a bit giddy. After my initial trepidations, I can confidently give this pick an A+, especially when you consider the pure value in both the round/pick taken and signing bonus given.