SOUTH BEND — Pitching success for Ryan Williams is like that adage about real estate.
Location. Location. Location.
While the South Bend Cubs right-hander does have 14 strikeouts and just two walks in 19⅖ innings so far in 2015, Ks are not what it’s all about for Williams (2-0), who has given up just one run.
Not possessed with blazing speed, typically throwing just above or below 90 mph, the 6-foot-4 northern Californian prefers to let hitters help him get them out.
“I’m more of a locations guy,” Williams said. “I try to put as much movement on the ball as possible. My job is to make (hitters) swing and make the mistake and let my defense work for me.”
Williams, a graduate of Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill, Calif., played two seasons at West Valley College in nearby Saratoga, Calilf., before transferring to NCAA Division I East Carolina University. He was a third team Louisville Slugger All-American at the Greenville, N.C., school in 2014.
At ECU, Pirates pitching coach Dan Roszel had a philosophy that is very similar to the Chicago Cubs organization, which picked Williams in the 10th round of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
“He told us to attack with fastballs, get ahead (in the court), try to limit the pitches per at-bat and throw everything for a strike,” Williams said of Roszel. “(The Cubs) are very big into your best pitching being the fastball. If you can’t get your fastball over, it’s typically not going to be a successful day.
“You can’t go out there and throw off-speed stuff nonstop because, eventually, they’re going to get their timing down. But if you are able to locate fastballs, you can get into this league and throw well.”
When Williams (@Rhynowilliams on Twitter) is not concentrating on locating pitches, he is trying to locate his drives. The son of retired professional golfer Art Williams is an avid golfer.
“Once my clubs get here, I’m going to try to get on the links as much as possible,” Williams said. “I want to play two or three times a week.”
While he doesn’t have an established handicap, he said he usually shoots in the high 70s or low 80s. He has already had a chance to play two or three times with South Bend pitching coach Brian Lawrence and is impressed with the former big league pitcher’s performance on the course.
“He’s about a scratch golfer,” Williams said. “It’s fun to see him compete in that sport as well.”