Cleveland selects ECU’s Gavin Williams 23rd in 1st round of MLB draft

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Cleveland Indians selected East Carolina pitcher Gavin Williams with the 23rd pick in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft Sunday night.

Williams went 10-1 this season with the Pirates with a 1.88 ERA, posting 130 strikeouts and 21 walks. He finished among overall 2021 NCAA leaders in K’s-per-9.0IP (5th, 14.39), ERA (11th), strikeouts (11th) and wins (11th).

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He was ECU’s first consensus All-America selection (America Baseball Coaches Association, Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, D1Baseball, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Perfect Game – all first-team).

Williams also took American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year honors in 2021.

In his career, Williams posted a 2.65 ERA in 53 games.

Williams was originally selected by Tampa Bay in the 2017 June draft (30th round) out of Cape Fear High School in Fayetteville, where he was a four-year letter winner (18-1, 1.06ERA, 212 strikeouts across 132.0IP).

CBSSports.com analysis

Gavin Williams, RHP, East Carolina: Williams was selected by the Rays out of high school and didn’t sign. He then went undrafted in last year’s five-round sprint and reportedly asked for more money as a free agent than teams were willing to commit. Williams is going to get paid this summer after using his extra time as an amateur to improve his control: he walked 6.3 percent of the batters he faced, versus a walk rate that previously exceeded 11 percent. Whereas his command (and medical history) have casted doubt on his future role in the past, his stuff has rarely fallen under scrutiny. His mid-90s fastball features above-average carry; his curveball has good depth; and he also throws a gyro slider and a changeup. If Williams can stay healthy and within the zone (no guarantees), he could develop into a mid-rotation starter.

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