The Reds are cutting payroll, so in order to rid themselves of Eugenio Suarez’s contract, they were willing to give up All-Star outfielder Jesse Winker to get strikeout artist Brandon Williamson from the Mariners.
Williamson ranked No. 142 on our RotoProspects Top 500 Rankings before the trade, but falls just one spot to No. 143 due to the move to Cincinnati’s bandbox. He goes from the Mariners’ No. 7 prospect to No. 8 on the Reds’ list, behind just Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo among pitchers.
The Mariners took Williamson in the second round, 59th overall in the 2019 draft out of TCU, where he broke out after two years in JC.
Williamson returned to High-A Everett in 2021 after impressing there in his 2019 debut (2.35 ERA in 15.1 IP) with 31 dominant innings, racking up 59 strikeouts and a 3.19 ERA. He added 94 strikeouts in 67.1 IP in Double-A, making for a 14.0 K/9 over two levels.
The 6-foot-6 southpaw features a 12-to-6 curve that gets 65 grades to go with a 60-grade fastball that sits 90-94, playing up with late life and deception. He also has a slider and a changeup, both grading as average offering.
The funky lefty retains plenty of fantasy value despite the move to Cincinnati due to his strikeout stuff. Turning 24 before Opening Day, it shouldn’t take long for Williamson to make his way to the Reds rotation, where he could be a real fantasy weapon down the stretch.