Right-handed hurler Ronnie Williams was rewarded with a new minor league contract with a camp invite after a strong 2021 campaign. The veteran minor leaguer confirmed the deal through his Twitter account.
SF Giants: Veteran minor leaguer rewarded with new deal
The Giants plucked Williams away from the St. Louis Cardinals in December of 2020 in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The 25-year-old was originally selected by the Cardinals in the second round of the 2014 draft out of American Senior High School in Hialeah, Florida.
Williams came up as a starter earlier in his professional career but he has worked primarily out of the bullpen in recent seasons. The Giants continued that trend when they assigned him to Double-A to begin the season.
In 24 appearances with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, the right-handed hurler registered a 2.45 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, and a decent 2.18 SO/W ratio across 62.1 frames. This earned him a late-season promotion to Triple-A where he recorded a 4.02 ERA with eight strikeouts against eight walks in 15.2 innings with the Sacramento River Cats.
Given that Triple-A West is a known hitter's league, Williams performed quite well in his first stint against advanced competition. Interestingly, he made four starts in five appearances for the River Cats but that was due to a shortage of pitchers that the team experienced down the stretch. The Giants must like his ability to induce weak contact as he registered a ground ball rate over 45 percent at each of his stops in 2021.
It was a nice season for Williams and the Giants recognized this and rewarded him with an invite to spring training. The offseason has not begun just yet but the Giants will likely bring in several more relievers on non-guaranteed deals to compete for a roster spot.
That said, it is going to be tough for Williams, or any reliever for that matter, to win a roster spot out of spring training. After all, the Giants' bullpen was a pleasant surprise in 2021 as they posted a 2.99 ERA, which was the best mark in baseball.
Nearly every one of the key relievers will return next season with, potentially, the exception of left-handed hurler Tony Watson. Watson is set to become a free agent again but the Giants clearly like his work out of the bullpen as they traded for him at the trade deadline just months after completing a three-year stint with the club.
Nevertheless, Williams will get a chance to put his name on the map next spring. He may not make the Opening Day roster but he will have a chance to position himself for a midseason promotion and that starts with a strong showing in camp.