Every other day over the next two months, John Nagel and Kyle Reis will announce a new prospect on The Redbird Daily’s Top 30 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect List. For each prospect, John and Kyle will reveal where that prospect landed on their personal lists and also few thoughts on the prospect. We hope you enjoy!
Prospect #17: Ronnie Williams – 2nd Round, 2014
2016 Stats: State College/Peoria – 5-5, 3.40 ERA, 82 IP, 69 K, 24 BB
Kyle Reis (Prospect #22 On Personal List)
There are a lot of interesting things going about our 17th best prospect, Ronnie Williams. First, Williams just turned 21 in January, meaning that he’ll spend all of his fourth season in the organization as a 21 year old. Williams has also filled out since being drafted and is up to about 6’1 and 180+. He isn’t the biggest body out there, but he’s big enough that his size is no longer that big of a concern.
I love the potential here. I like the way this kid presents himself and I get the feeling he’s a good sound bite. I’ll admit, much of that assumption comes from THIS August 2015 piece from MiLB.com, but you often hear about how articulate and impressive this young man is. What really stuck with me about this article was this:
“This is the first time I’ve been out of Miami playing baseball. I feel like a pro… I didn’t really take pitching seriously until my senior year, the end of it. Every time I step on the mound is exciting for me… I focus on mixing it up and mostly staying low in the zone. That’s something I did not do in the GCL because I was used to blowing it by people [from high school]. Not here.”
None of that sounds manufactured or caned to me, which brings us to our next point: Williams has also been described as being passionate on the mound. I love hearing that, but I’ve also heard that those emotions have been known to work against him during a game. His progression as a pitcher will hinge heavily on how he uses and grows those emotions.
Williams has done some good things since being drafted. He’s held hitters to a batting average against of .234. His K and BB rates aren’t spectacular, but they’ve both shown signs of improvement from year to year. The thing that has me extremely worried is that he allowed 7 HR over 6 starts spanning 35.2 IP after being promoted to Peoria. That’s a crazy high total. It doesn’t even seem real. That’s what keeps him in the back third of my personal list.
The extremely easy comparison here is to former Cardinals first rounder Tyrell Jenkins and, until Williams has a successful full season and lowers that home run total, that’s what I’ll stick with.
John Nagel (Prospect # 17 On Personal List)
Ronnie Williams has shot up my personal list over the past 12 months. This time last year, I don’t think he was in my top 20, maybe not even top 30. There were a couple of things that caught my eye last season that told me he needed to be a top 20 prospect.
Williams is a workhorse. Spanning 13 starts last season, Williams worked into the 7th inning 6 times. In 10 of those 13, he pitched at least 6 innings. This is pretty good stuff, especially from a minor leaguer whose innings are being watched like a hawk. Williams even had 4 starts were he completed at least 7 innings, which is rare in minor league baseball.
I do want to acknowledge Kyle’s main issue, home runs. No offense to Kyle, but a 35 inning sample is not enough for me to worry about a home run problem. In State College, Williams allowed one home run over 46 1/3 innings. Let’s wait and see what 2017 brings before we say that Williams gives up too many homers.
Yes, Williams struggled with the Peoria Chiefs at the end of 2016, but he was nearly two years younger than league average. Maybe he wasn’t quite ready for the promotion. However, his strikeout rate increased tremendously with the promoting and his BAA remained about the same.
I would imagine Williams would return to Peoria to start the 2017 season and could finish there or see a late season promotion to High-A Palm Beach. Right now, I am going to put Williams’ upside at that of a #3 starter, but that could rise to a #2 if he keeps that strikeout rate up and other factors.
If Williams makes the same jump this year that he made last year, he will be a top 10 prospect by this time next year.
How we rank prospects: Click Here
Best of The Rest: Click Here
#30 Prospect: Daniel Poncedeleon
#29 Prospect: Jonathan Machado
#28 Prospect: Jeremy Martinez
#27 Prospect: John Gant
#26 Prospect: Alvaro Seijas
#25 Prospect: Nick Plummer
#24 Prospect: Jordan Hicks
#23 Prospect: Zac Gallen
#22 Prospect: Bryce Denton
#21 Prospect: Johan Oviedo
#20 Propsect: Randy Arozarena
#19 Prospect: Connor Jones
#18 Prospect: Dylan Carlson
#17 Prospect: Ronnie Williams
#16 Prospect: 3/3
#15 Prospect: 3/5
#14 Prospect: 3/7
#13 Prospect: 3/9
#12 Prospect: 3/11
#11 Prospect: 3/13
#10 Prospect: 3/15
#9 Prospect: 3/17
#8 Prospect: 3/19
#7 Prospect: 3/21
#6 Prospect: 3/23
#5 Prospect: 3/25
#4 Prospect: 3/27
#3 Prospect: 3/29
#2 Prospect: 3/31
#1 Prospect: 4/2