Haunting number of walks must be an area of improvement for Reds pitching prospect Brandon Williamson

Cincinnati Reds non-roster invitee pitcher Brandon Williamson (96) fist bumps.
Cincinnati Reds non-roster invitee pitcher Brandon Williamson (96) fist bumps. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Brandon Williamson was the key piece of the trade earlier this year that sent Eugenio Suárez and Jesse Winker to Seattle. Williamson was recently promoted to Triple-A Louisville despite not having tremendous success at Double-A Chattanooga.

Typically you want to see a player's statistics improve as they ascend through the minor leagues. That was not the case with the Cincinnati Reds' pitching prospect who actually saw a downturn in his production.

Last season, while pitching for the Mariners organization, Williamson appeared 19 games split between High-A and Double-A. His stats were very impressive. The left-hander went 4-6 with a 3.39 ERA and 153 strikeouts in just 98.1 innings of work.

This season, Brandon Williamson has made 15 starts and has a 4.42 ERA in 71.1 innings of work. The southpaw has 77 punch outs and a disappointing 40 free passes. But the Cincinnati Reds have a lot more time to evaluate one of their newest pitching prospects.

The Reds have no need to rush Brandon Williamson to the major leagues.

The Cincinnati Reds have more than enough young starting pitchers at the moment. Hunter Greene Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, and Connor Overton are all rookies. Another one of the players brought to the Queen City in the offseason trade with the Seattle Mariners was Justin Dunn. The former first-round pick has three years of team control remaining after the 2022 season.

Brandon Williamson's promotion to Triple-A likely has more to do with evaluating his talents against the best the minor leagues have to offer. In other words, Williamson knows how to pitch, but he need to fine-tune some of the weaker areas of his game.

One of the biggest issues that Williamson has battled this season has been his control. In his first four games to open the 2022 season, the lefty issued 15 walks in 16.1 innings. In his previous starts, however, that number has calmed down and Williamson's walk-rate (10.3%) has been a bit more respectable.

That said, a 4.09 BB/9 isn't going to cut it with a 9.49 K/9. If Brandon Williamson can iron out his control issues during the next couple of months in Triple-A, there's an outside chance we could see the 24-year-old make his major league debut in September.

But there's absolutely no reason for the Cincinnati Reds to rush Williamson to the big leagues this season. The team has until this winter to add him to the 40-man roster in order to protect the left-hander from the Rule 5 Draft.

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