Sam McWilliams is one of the more intriguing members of the New York Mets 40-man roster.
No, the New York Mets did not make a clerical error when they signed Sam McWilliams. Despite no experience in the show, one of the organization’s first moves under Steve Cohen was to sign the free agent pitcher to a major league deal.
It’s a decision I’m not sure anyone fully understands. McWilliams may have settled for much less. The Mets must have seen something special in the minor league journeyman with years of professional baseball still ahead of him.
Although McWilliams is signed to a major league deal, there’s no guarantee he actually does pitch a game for the Mets in 2021. He has three option years left which means he will still need to prove himself before he gets to eat up any important innings.
More from Rising Apple
- NY Mets Monday Morning GM: The middle is no place you want to be
- NY Mets News: Marcus Stroman sees “potential fit” with the Angels
- NY Mets were too “seek” and not enough “destroy” last winter
- NY Mets: 1 trade target to consider from each 100-loss team
- NY Mets: Top 12 free agents the team should look to sign this winter
Still, with this “out” the Mets have to force him down to the farm should they decide he’s not ready, McWilliams has become an interesting character within the organization. He’s getting a chance not many minor league free agents ever do. It’s all because the Mets have a little faith in his future.
Stacked at 6’7 with long light-colored hair reminiscent of Noah Syndergaard, McWilliams has the size to intimidate from the mound. He definitely seems to have the power you like to see from a young arm. As he progresses, we’ll have to wait and see if he gets the smarts to match the talent.
Throughout his six professional seasons, the young righty has pitched mostly as a starter. This makes him much more valuable to the Mets, especially when we consider what their starting rotation looks like now and the free agency decisions facing them next winter as well.
Even if the Mets do fill up their rotation with two new starters this winter, next offseason they will have Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman heading toward free agency. I find it doubtful that both will return. In the free agency era of baseball, there comes a point when even the best rotations are split up.
McWilliams still has a long road to go before he can get an easy nod to pitch as a starter for the big league team in any capacity. If there’s one thing they may have a lot of in 2021, it’s reserve starting pitchers. The quality may not be there quite yet but the quantity sure seems to be growing.
There’s no urgency to rush McWilliams into a role he’s not ready for. Ideally, he spends 2021 working as a starter in Syracuse while catching the attention of the front office as the next man up should they require a starter. I wouldn’t mind seeing him make his MLB debut as a reliever, which they very well might do. He’s already on the 40-man roster so shuttling him back and forth between the majors and minors won’t cause them to get into a sticky DFA situation.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
McWilliams is a real wild card next year. Potentially the biggest contributor without any major league experience, he’s a kid we should expect to see on the mound at some point in 2021 in a role we’re not quite certain about.