Reds report card: Grading Brandon Williamson's unforeseen 2023 season

After down-year in the minors, Brandon Williamson bounced back to make his major league debut in 2023.

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brandon Williamson
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brandon Williamson / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

Brandon Williamson was part of the trade package that sent Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to the Seattle Mariners in March of 2022. Williamson was supposed to be the headliner of the return.

Looking at his stat line from 2021, most would agree that was the case. In 2021 while pitching in the Mariners' minor league system, Williamson went 4-6 with a 3.39 ERA and 153 punch outs in 98.1 innings. But Williamson's 2022 minor league campaign raised some questions.

The left-hander went 6-7 with a 4.11 ERA and his strikeout-rate took a dramatic dip (2.2-percent). Williamson was given a chance to break camp with the Cincinnati Reds before the 2023 season, but fell short and was optioned to Triple-A to begin the season. But he didn't stay there for very long.

Reds report card: Grading Brandon Williamson's unforeseen 2023 season

Given the way Brandon Williamson's minor league career with the Cincinnati Reds began, I think most fans feared the worst. But in his first major league game after being called up in 2023, Williamson looked like a seasoned pro. The southpaw went 5.2 innings, faced 20 batters, struck out six and allowed just one earned run.

Williamson went on to pitch in 22 more games for the Reds in 2023 and looked very good doing it. One of the biggest knocks on Williamson during his time in the minors was his command, but the lefty posted a very solid 7.9-percent walk-rate.

With so many injuries to the Cincinnati starting rotation, one could argue that Brandon Williamson was David Bell's most consistent starting pitcher. Williamson consistently worked into the fifth inning and beyond with his best performance coming against Miami back in August when he struck out nine over 6.2 innings.

117.0 IP 4.46 ERA 20.0% K-rate. . Brandon Williamson. B-Will grade. B-

Williamson's floor appears to be set as a back-of-the-rotation left-hander who can control the game and give his manager five-plus innings per outing. But Williamson's ceiling could be much higher than that.

The 25-year-old has a very good breaking ball, and if Brandon Williamson can keep the home runs to a minimum, there's a lot to like about his game moving forward. Williamson's rookie season was definitely one to build on.