SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training camps, we'll sit down with prospects and get to know them a little better. At Giants camp, it was No. 9 prospect Garrett Williams. A left-hander, Williams projected as a possible first-round pick out of both
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training camps, we'll sit down with prospects and get to know them a little better. At Giants camp, it was No. 9 prospect Garrett Williams.
A left-hander, Williams projected as a possible first-round pick out of both high school and college, but thoracic outlet syndrome surgery before his prep senior season and control issues at Oklahoma State depressed his stock both times. He has made significant strides since signing with the Giants for an over-slot $250,000 as a seventh-rounder in 2016, recording a 2.32 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 97 innings between two Class A stops last year.
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MLB Pipeline: You first made baseball headlines when you struck out 17 batters in one game at the 2007 Little League World Series. What was that experience like?
Williams: At the moment, I really didn't realize exactly what all that meant. The spotlight, the media, all that stuff -- I was 12 years old. I was there to play baseball and win. Looking back on it, to be 12 years old and in the spotlight was pretty crazy.
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MLB Pipeline: You had an unusual college career in that you showed dominant stuff and wowed scouts in two summers in the Cape Cod League, yet you never got the chance to pitch much at Oklahoma State, totaling just 72 2/3 innings in three seasons. Why do you think there was such a contrast?
Williams: In summer ball, you can relax and develop at the same time. Those two summers were definitely fun summers for me. I got closer to getting back to being myself. We had really good pitching staffs at Oklahoma State and I struggled with command issues. We were trying to win and they wanted to put someone out there who they could trust to throw strikes. It was a struggle, but I tried to be a good teammate.
MLB Pipeline: The Giants are known for their ability to develop pitchers, so they seemed like a nice fit for a pitcher in need of development. Were you happy when you found out they were the team that drafted you?
Williams: Absolutely. The Giants are known for their homegrown guys, and that's exactly what I needed. I needed to experiment and get exposure to different things so I could gain some confidence back. The Giants are a perfect fit for that. They did a few things small mechanically, but the main thing was just getting innings.
MLB Pipeline: Both your fastball and curveball can be well-above-average pitches at their best. Which do you think is your best offering?
Williams: Last year, it was a fastball for a strike, honestly. One of the things I took away from last year is being able to throw my fastball for strikes and having success. That was a huge confidence boost, especially for a guy like me who relied on his curveball a lot and struggled with fastball command in college.
MLB Pipeline: What's on your to-do list for 2018?
Williams: Consistency, really. Keep doing what I did last year and building off that. Working on my changeup. I worked on it a lot during the offseason because I need another offspeed pitch, and it has come a long ways. I'm able to throw it consistently for strikes. I'll be working on it in Spring Training games.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.