I was wrong about Trevor Williams.

After many people wrote him off following a lackluster Spring Training (myself included), the career resurgence of Trevor Williams in 2024 has been a massive development for the Nationals. Alas, it's time to give him his flowers for his fantastic start to the season.
The resurgence of Trevor Williams has been a marvel for the Nats
The resurgence of Trevor Williams has been a marvel for the Nats / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

As a Virginia native who has since relocated to Texas, I got to see Trevor Williams pitch live when the Nationals came to Texas to face the Rangers earlier this month, and I was legitimately shocked to watch Williams get out of numerous jams, including watching him twice work out of bases loaded situations with 0 outs. It was a game in which he ultimately earned his third victory of the season, a quiet 1-0 win over the defending champs and the only win the Nats were able to salvage in the series. It was at this moment that I knew I had to finally admit something I never thought I would, especially after his performance last year and in Spring Training: I was wrong about Trevor Williams.

Yes, during Spring Training I was one that, like many others, was against having Williams be apart of the rotation going into this season. I truly believed that the final spot in the rotation should have gone to Jackson Rutledge, however I completely understood the organization's reasoning for not giving up on Williams. He was signed to a 2-year, $13 million contract before last season, and the team had a lot of question marks surrounding their pitching staff coming into this season.

What I didn't understand yet, was that Davey Martinez and co. had a plan to make Williams more effective. So far, it has worked tremendously, as the goal has been to keep Williams around 80 pitches or so, basically limiting him to 5 innings or so per start in 2024. In fact, the righty has only gone over 90 pitches twice this season, and you could argue that they were his two worst starts of the season. The goal of not having Williams have to face opposing lineups for a third time and not letting him labor as he passed the 80 pitch plateau is something that is paying dividends so far. One statistic that I was able to calculate is his pitches per game, which shows just how dedicated Davey has been to relying on this strategy until it fails. Williams in 2023 was throwing 87.43 pitches per game across 30 starts, and in 2024 he has only thrown 82.6 pitches per game in 10 starts. Although the sample size varies, the blueprint is clearly out there now to make Trevor Williams a successful pitcher in this league. Williams has also credited Sean Doolittle to his success several times in post-game interviews.

After another solid outing against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday where he matched a season-high 8 strikeouts over 5 innings of work with just 5 hits and one home run allowed, Williams is now 4-0 with a 2.29 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, a vast improvement from his horrendous 2023 line of 6-10 with a 5.55 ERA and 1.60 WHIP.

One more obvious factor that needs to be mentioned when it comes to how Trevor Williams has been able to experience this much of a bounce back is that he is limiting the long ball. Last season, Williams gave up the most home runs in the National League, with 34 long balls given up. So far this year, he has only been snakebitten by the home runs twice, including the one he gave up to Julio Rodriguez of Seattle on Saturday. His ability to not solely rely on his 90 MPH fastball to strike guys out has been huge for his success, and, well just look at this pitch and location below.

What really intrigues me now, as I alluded to in my blog last Sunday, is what kind of return the Nationals will be able to get for Williams before the trade deadline. I won't get into a ton of details, but with the current state of the organization and the fact that pitching wins in October, the return for Williams by himself might not be anything crazy, but I would guess a team's Top 20 prospect is likely attainable. Perhaps a package of Williams with another player would be enough to fetch even more, but for now, we must enjoy the resurgence of Trevor Williams.

What do you think about the bounce back of Trevor Williams? Do you think this will continue? When do you think the Nationals will look to move him? As always, please let me know on X @DCBerk.

All stats in this article were provided by Baseball Reference and MLB.com.