The New York Mets added some much-needed depth to their minor league pitching by bringing in six-foot, seven-inch right-hander Sam McWilliams. His signing also came with an interesting salary amount. McWilliams major league salary of $750k ($195K in the minors) was the largest salary for any player without MLB service time (excluding players playing in Asia) in the last 10 years.
Some strikeouts from new Mets reliever Sam McWilliams. As you can see his slider is his best pitch. Sorry for the choppy footage. pic.twitter.com/exys5vAdsQ
— Juan Lagares Fan (@PatrickBowe_) November 20, 2020
McWilliams is 25-years old and has no success past the AA level in the minor leagues. He spent time with the Tampa Bay Rays 60-man player pool but got a call to the big leagues during the 2020 season. The Mets see the upside in a lanky pitcher who can reach up into the high 90s with his fastball. Despite the high velo, McWilliams best pitch is his slider that sits around 84-86 mph.
Success in a New Role?
McWilliams spent most of his minor league career as a starting pitcher but did not have the swing and miss stuff he expected. Even at his best season in AA in 2019, he only had 66 strikeouts in 87 innings but had a 2.05 ERA. McWilliams saw time at AAA and had a K/9 just under nine, but his ERA was 8.18 in 44 innings pitched.
Encouraging signs for McWilliams is his career 0.6 HR/9 and 2.6 BB/9. If the Mets decided to make him a primary reliever, the foundation is there for success. The Mets starting rotation depth is still extremely thin, making it no guarantee McWilliams becomes a reliever. Despite the high salary, this is a solid move to sign a pitcher with a high ceiling. His biggest obstacle is his ability to develop a consistent third pitch to thrive at the next level.