Former Mets pitcher has helped make NL East rival an early threat in the Wild Card race

Trevor Williams is one of the hottest NL pitchers right now.
Washington Nationals v Texas Rangers
Washington Nationals v Texas Rangers / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

A part of what made the 2022 New York Mets special were the role players. Among them, no one might’ve been as important as pitcher Trevor Williams. Brought over in the controversial trade with the Chicago Cubs alongside Javier Baez for Pete Crow-Armstrong, Williams is the one player from this deal having an amazing 2024 season.

Williams worked out of the bullpen and as a spot starter for the 2022 Mets. A 3-5 record and 3.21 ERA in 89.2 innings of work was good enough for the lowly Washington Nationals to sign him to a two-year deal worth $13 million. Williams obviously wanted more than to win games—at least at the time. The team was rebuilding and Williams was doing the same with his career.

Things went terribly wrong for Williams in his first year with the Nationals. Although he made 30 starts, it came with a league-leading 34 home runs allowed. He led the league in the past when back in 2020 his 15 was the most given up in MLB. This year has been different. Now 4-0 with a 1.96 ERA, Williams has made 7 starts, faced 142 batters, and not given up a home run.

Former Mets pitcher Trevor Williams is turning the Nationals into early contenders

Third-place in the National League East is a battle right now. In large part, it’s because of what Williams is giving the Nationals. They have some exciting young players taking over as they wait out the final days of the Patrick Corbin contract debacle.

Who would’ve guessed by May 9 that the Nationals would have the same record as the Mets? Okay, so maybe that’s not as ridiculous. What if you were to learn it was good enough to be in a tie for the third Wild Card spot? Only the San Diego Padres at 20-20 stand between Washington and a postseason spot at the moment.

The Mets and Nationals have yet to see each other this year. The offense has been led by youngsters up the middle Luis Garcia Jr. and CJ Abrams. Veteran Jesse Winker is having a bounce back year for them, too.

The real key for the Nationals’ success has been the reliable pitching. Williams isn’t the only one doing well. In the absence of Josiah Gray, rookie Mitchell Parker has filled in nicely. Now 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA, he has given them some additional depth alongside Williams and MacKenzie Gore. Even Jake Irvin who has bounced around the league in the last few seasons has been a huge help.

This isn’t an overpowering pitching staff especially when we compare it to the group the Met shave. Only Gore has more strikeouts than innings pitched among the starters. The bullpen is pitching to frequent contact but getting the job done. Hunter Harvey is the only one with excellent strikeout numbers. Washington pitchers have, instead, relied more on pitching to contact. It hasn’t hurt them any with closer Kyle Finnegan touting a 1.65 ERA and Dylan Floro even better at 0.49. Jacob Barnes, who pitched briefly for the Mets in 2021, is having a Reed Garrett season with 2 early wins in 8 innings and a 1.13 ERA to go with it.

Amazingly, the Mets and Nationals don’t play each other until June 3. Will Williams still have a homerless streak going? More importantly, how hard fought of a battle will it be between the Mets and Nationals for the last Wild Card spot?