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Nationals Find A New Ace In Veteran Pitcher

Trevor Williams’ start to the 2024 season has been the best of his career, but can he keep the pace moving forward? Throughout the first two months of the 2024 season, Trevor Williams has shocked Nationals fans, posting a team-best 1.94 ERA and 1.06 WHIP over his first eight outings.  This has been quite the performance from the veteran pitcher. By this time last season, Williams had an ERA of 4.23 and a 1.34 WHIP. He finished the 2023 season with a subpar 5.55 ERA and well below average 1.60 WHIP. Williams’ early success proves he still has a place in the big leagues; however, many ask if this success is a glimpse into the future or if old trends will return.

Nationals Find A New Ace In Veteran Pitcher

Career At A Glance

Trevor Williams was drafted by the Miami Marlins in 2013. He went through the Marlins system before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015. Williams made his major league debut for the Pirates late in 2016. He stayed with the team through the 2020 season, putting up mostly poor numbers during that time. Williams was subsequently DFA’d during the 2020 off-season. After becoming a free agent in 2021, Williams signed with the Chicago Cubs. He was traded to the New York Mets that same year.

The following season with the Mets was a very solid year. Williams had a hybrid role in the rotation, pitching from the bullpen and starting when needed. He ended the season with a 3.21 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, a vast improvement over the last three seasons. Parlaying the strong 2022 performance, Williams signed a two-year deal with the Nationals later that year.

Contributions To Success

Something is different about Williams this season. Perhaps the greatest contributing factor thus far is the lack of home runs hit off Williams. 2023 Williams gave up 34 home runs, the most in the National League. In 2024, he has given up only one. This is slightly perplexing, given that his hard-hit rate is up four percent from last season. Additionally, the average velocity of his four-seam fastball is down from 2023. A piece to this puzzle comes from the increased use of his sweeper. Williams began throwing the sweeper in 2023 but only used the pitch rarely. In 2024, he throws the sweeper about 18% of the time with a whiff rate of 46.2%. Furthermore, his sweeper is only hit hard around eight percent of the time, contributing greatly to Williams’ solid 48% ground-ball rate.

An Uncertain Future

With the 2024 season only about a quarter of the way through, the question of Trevor Williams’ future performance looms large. However, his continued success has the potential to impact the Nationals significantly. He may be a crucial bargaining piece, especially if the Nationals decide to be sellers at the trade deadline. As the Nationals approach the end of their rebuild, Trevor Williams’ performance could be the tipping point that propels them forward.

Main Photo Credits: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports


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