Outstanding seasons by Kyle Schwarber and Ryan Williams made them easy selections for the top Cubs minor leaguers in MLB Pipeline’s Organizational Prospects of the Year.
Schwarber was unanimously selected as MLB Pipeline’s Position Prospect of the Year, so being tabbed as the Cubs’ top organizational seemed right. His selection represented the second straight year in which a Cubs position player earned MLB Pipeline’s top honors, following in the footsteps of 2014 winner (and current teammate) Kris Bryant.
So, who’s up for extending the streak and winning it in 2016?
As for Williams, his selection as the organization’s top pitcher in 2015 seemed like a no-brainer, too. Even though MLB Pipeline lists him as the Cubs’ No. 30 prospect, Williams put forth a stellar season.
Check out his video profile here:
Williams went 14-3 with a 2.24 ERA in 136.2 innings as a starter this season, to go along with five scoreless innings in relief. He started the season in South Bend (1.17 ERA, 2.24 FIP in 53.2 innings) before finishing in Double-A Tennessee (2.76 ERA, 2.86 FIP) and has a 2016 ETA, per MLB Pipeline.
Diving further into the stats for the Cubs’ 2014 10th round draft pick (who signed for $1,000 as a senior) from East Carolina and they are nothing short of solid. He limited opposing hitters to a .214 average and .284 slugging percentage. And while his strikeout rate was only 18.25 percent (98 K in 537 PA), his walk rate was a minuscule 3.35 percent (18 walks in in 141.2 total innings).
Williams started and ended the year strong. He went He ended his season going 5-0 in his last six starts, posting a 2.02 ERA, limiting opponents to a .195 average and .266 slugging percentage while striking out 19 and walking only five in 35.2 innings.
The Knoxville News Sentinel profiled Williams in late August, in what is a good read on a guy who seems to have been overlooked at times.
While the Cubs haven’t given out their own organizational awards yet, it’s conceivable that catching prospect Willson Contreras might get the nod on the positional side from the Cubs since he put did all of his work in the minors. Williams, on the other hand, seems like a near lock on the pitching side.