Here’s what the film says on newly acquired RHP Sam McWilliams.
McWilliams is fairly polished. I think this is one reason the Royals selected him not to mention his ability to throw a baseball. He throws a 4-seamer, 2-seamer, slider, change, and a variation of the slider that looks more like a curve. I don’t know if they are two separate pitches or if he just adds/subtracts velocity which changes the break or he just tries to change the tilt. Whatever it is, he does a good job with it.
Typically, his slider has good 1:30 to 7:30 movement on it when you look at the catcher. It moves hard. His announcer has called it “wicked” more than once. McWilliams can throw this pitch for a strike or break it off the plate to become a chase pitch. The one thing I didn’t see him do much was bury it on a LHHs back foot. He did it one time and I’ve watched probably 25.0+ innings of him so far. I would like to see him throw the back foot slider more often especially with a blocking wizard like Salvy behind the plate.
McWilliams throws his fastball on the first pitch of ABs a lot. He’ll likely have to make some adjustments with this once he starts facing MLB hitters. I did see a few MiLB hitters ambush him or attempt to ambush him. He throws a 4-seam that holds straighter and he can locate it at the knees away to a RHH. He can elevate this pitch really well. Typically, he throws the 2-seamer. It has good arm side movement and has some sink. The combination of these two is solid and should help him as he goes forward. McWilliams has pretty good fastball command.
One of the knocks in the past has been his weaker change up. But I saw some really good ones from McWilliams. He struggles with the location mostly. I feel like he is continuing to get better and will continue to improve as he adjusts.
The pick moves are elite. I saw him pick two runners off in those 25.0+ innings of film. One was at second base. The SS flashed daylight and McWilliams spun throwing a perfect ball on the bag for an easy out. The other pick was a runner at first base. It was just a really quick move to first. He doesn’t pick a lot, but when he does, it is worth it.
McWilliams uses a hybrid starting position in his windup. He faces the third base dugout and his rocker step is straight back toward first base.
In the stretch, he uses a knee lift. I did not see him slide step or go knee-to-knee. The lift isn’t slow and with his ability to pick he can control the running game.
At times, McWilliams has a hard time getting on top of the ball like a lot of pitchers. When this happens he leaves everything on a tee. I watched his worst start from last season and this was the case from that outing. He really didn’t mix it up much and left the fastball up a lot.
I couldn’t watch his 12 K start because there was no video on it, but I did watch his next best start. I those outings, he stayed on top of the ball and drove it downhill very well. He changed planes up and down and worked the ball to both sides of the plate.
On video this looks like a good pick for the Royals. He looks like his stuff can handle the jump. It becomes a matter of adjustments for him. I like this pick.
Picture by Bryan Green.