Top setup pitcher Devin Williams of the Milwaukee Brewers continues to show why he is one of the best go-to relievers in all of baseball. He is having another spectacular season and once again showing he is one of the hardest pitchers to put a ball in play against.
Struggled Early in 2022 Season
Top setup pitcher Devin Williams’ 2022 season did not get off to a great start. In six games, he allowed four runs in 4 1⁄3 innings. Some of his early struggles could be attributed to adjusting his pitching form again after injuring his pitching hand last year.
Last season he was 8-2 in 58 games, with three saves and 23 holds against. He was looking good. However, on September 28, in a bit of frustration, he broke his right pitching hand when he punched a wall. Surgery was needed to repair the damage he did to his hand.
Williams wound up missing the entire playoff run for the Brewers. It was the second year in a row he missed pitching in the playoffs. He suffered a right shoulder injury during the final week of the 2020 regular season, missing the NL Wild Card Series.
Has Looked Better
The good news is that top setup pitcher Devin Williams has looked better over the last nine games he has pitched in. In 7 1/3 innings pitched, he has given up only three hits and no runs and 12 strikeouts. He has looked like the nearly untouchable reliever from the last two years with his nasty fastball and his changeup. He has shown better confidence with his pitch selection and looks sure of himself once again.
His pitching arsenal begins with his changeup. The pitch is not even in the strike zone, but hitters are tempted to swing at it—and they miss. The pitch fools both right and left-handed hitters on a regular basis. Opposing hitters are batting less than .100 against his changeup; it confuses and frustrates them.
Working On His Slider
In Spring Training 2022, Williams was working on a slider. If he can perfect it, he would have three potentially dominating pitches in his mix to get opponents out. He had the slider in the minors but dropped it in favor of his changeup and fastball.
Chance to Be a Closer
When closer Josh Hader was unavailable due to back spasms, Manager Craig Counsel knew what a solid reliever Williams was. He got the opportunity close out some games. With Hader out, Williams has picked up two saves so far this season.
This gives Counsel the confidence to hand the ball to Williams if Hader continues to have back spasms or struggles. It gives him options. Williams will certainly get the ball to close out the games again. With both Devin Williams and Josh Hader available for late inning roles for the Brewers, they should be in good spot for the whole season.
Weak NL Central
In what is considered a weak NL Central, this team should be OK. If Williams is consistent with his current pitching, develops that slider, and can continue providing quality innings like he has in the past, the Brewers should be ordering up the champagne to celebrate getting a playoff spot for the fifth consecutive year.