The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have one of the most genuine, incredible men the game has right now, pitcher Jerome Williams, who takes the mound every night with a pink glove. The glove is more than just equipment to Williams, who has become an incredible asset for the Angels over the past 3 seasons.
The Honolulu, Hawai’i native was drafted 39th overall in the 1999 MLB Amateur Draft by the San Francisco Giants out of . After a few years of mediocracy with 3 separate teams (Giants, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals), Jerome was forced to go over seas and play in Asia. In 2010, Williams was in Taiwan, and while shopping around a local market, spotted a pink baseball glove. Williams’ immediately thought of his late mother, Deborah “Debbie” Williams, who had passed of breast cancer in March of 2001. He went back to something his mother had told him prior to the 2001 season, “don’t only do it for me, do it for yourself.” Jerome bought the glove and has since seemed to have a new career revival since. The glove has since become a symbol to help find a cure for breast cancer, and also a symbol of the love he has for his mother.
Now this isn’t a story of Williams’ life and past, but it is about how well he does in his roles given to him by Angels manager, Mike Scoscia, since attaining a new found mindset for the game, the inspiration being, his mother.
Tonight, he faced one batter (Chicago Cubs, Alfonso Soriano) and got him to fly out to right field. It was Williams’ shortest outing of the 2013 season, thus far, but was important because it was his first time coming from the bullpen since he was put in the starting rotation on April 5th. Jerome has been an asset to this Angels team who has had struggles in the pitching department this season, and has used him in multiple roles.
Williams, however, is not happy with being put back into the bullpen. “If you were in my shoes, would you be disappointed? Of course I’m disappointed, that’s their decision. I’ll do anything I have to do to have a winning team. If that means going to the bullpen, I’ll go to the bullpen.”
So even though Williams isn’t happy about being in the bullpen, he is willing to go there. But where is he better? I’ll break down some statistics to find out where he truly is better.
In 2013, Williams has appeared in 15 games, 6 of which he started. Angels fans and media have tried to figure out if they’d like him to be in the rotation or bullpen, and obviously, it’s not up to them, but it does come back to those who do make the decisions. Here is a statistical breakdown of how good Williams is starting the game, and how good he is coming out of the bullpen.
In Williams 6 starts, he has yet to go the distance for a complete game, but has come close, and has been consistent averaging 6.1 innings per outing. Along with that, he’s allowing an average of 7.57 hits per 9 innings, which may be the reason for his 3.07 Earned Run Average (not too shabby if I say so myself) over those 6 starts. Jerome is averaging 6.63 strikeouts per nine and 2.6 walks, allowing batters only a .223 average and throwing 70.05% of his pitches for strikes while starting. If you ask me, that is about as consistent you can be while on the mound, and is perfect for the Angels rotation, but his bullpen statistics may prove my opinion invalid.
9 games, 21.2 innings pitched (2.1 IP average), Williams has been lights out from the pen. Williams has allowed 7 runs (2.9 p/9) but has an Earned Run Average of 1.66 since only 4 of those runs are earned. His strikeouts per nine takes a heavy dive in the bullpen (4.57 p/9) and his walks stay around the same (2.49 p/9) but the big difference is his batting average against which is .200. While coming in for relief, Jerome is allowing 26.4% of the batters he faces to reach base and only 8% of those batters reach home plate.
In final, Williams may have better statistics coming from the bullpen, but is a pitcher the Angels can use at any point. Jerome is humble enough to take any role given to him, and come in and dominate to the best of his abilites. Not just that, but he’s in Anaheim for a reasonably cheap price (1 year, $2 million). Williams may be the hidden player that Angels will need to help make that push to reach the playoffs.
Jerome Williams used 5 separate pitches; four-seam fastball (92-95), sinking fastball “sinker” (92-94), cut fastball “cutter” (89-91), changeup (82-85), and a curveball (78-80), and the video below shows you how he uses those pitches to his best abilites.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu9cvKD8ojU (via Major League Baseball)
Regardless, Jerome Williams is a special human being, and special breed of player this game needs. The Angels have a hidden gem that may be making his way into the light in the latter part of his career.
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