NIACC's Williamson expected to go early in MLB Draft

NIACC sophomore Brandon Williamson is ranked No. 90 on MLB.com's list of top 200 prospects for the 2018 MLB Draft, which starts Monday night.
NIACC sophomore Brandon Williamson is ranked No. 90 on MLB.com's list of top 200 prospects for the 2018 MLB Draft, which starts Monday night.

MASON CITY - NIACC's Brandon Williamson claims that he's not nervous for the upcoming Major League Baseball draft.

Williamson, a left-handed pitcher, is ranked No. 90 on MLB.com's Top 200 prospect list for the 2018 draft, which starts at 6 p.m. on Monday and will be televised on the MLB Network.

"I'm curious to see how it goes," said Williamson, who will follow the draft with his parents from their home in Welcome, Minn. "I've been waiting a long time for this.

"It hasn't been too stressful. I'm just trying to let it happens as it comes."

Williamson is ranked as the 10th-best left-handed pitcher in this year's draft by MLB.com, which includes high school players, junior college players and college seniors.

"Though Williamson still needs to develop further, the progress he has made at NIACC is encouraging," the MLB.com breakdown of Williamson states. "He repeatedly has worked at 90-92 mph and topped out at 95 all spring despite brutal weather in the Midwest and his fastball gets swings and misses in the strike zone with its late life and downhill plane.

"There's plenty of room to add strength to his 6-foot-5 frame, so he could continue to add velocity."

Williamson, who came to NIACC as a non-scholarship player that threw in the low 80s as a freshman, was 8-4 with 104 strikeouts and 34 walks with a 3.14 earned run average in his sophomore season.

Williamson, who has signed with Texas Christian University, is NIACC's career strikeout leader with 151 and he also set the school's single-season strikeout record with his 104 Ks this season. He accumulated a career record of 12-5 with 151 strikeouts and 59 walks and a 3.44 ERA in 115 innings pitched.

In every one of Williamson's 12 starts in 2018, pro scouts watched him warm up in the bullpen and had a radar gun on him once he took the mound.

NIACC coach Travis Hergert said that his hard-throwing southpaw handled the attention very well.

"It never really phased him," Hergert said. "When scouts are watching your every move, you can get caught up in that, but he always stayed with the task at hand."

Hergert said the scouts in the stands are looking for much more than what the radar gun reads.

"I always tell our guys that scouts are looking for a reason not to take you," the coach said. "They are looking at how you tie your shoes, how you get a drink of water and how you treat your teammates."

Williamson said he tried to tune out the scouts once the game started.

"I'd try to pretend they weren't there," he said, "and not worry if I had a bad game because everyone has a bad game once in awhile."

Williamson said the Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays have shown the most interest in him leading up to the start of Monday's draft.

After Williamson is selected, he will have a decision to make on whether he joins the professional team that selects him or he attends TCU in the fall.

"I will have a number set before the draft starts," Williamson said. "I'll then talk to my parents about it, pray and then make a decision, I guess."

Williamson will become the third MLB draft pick for Hergert. The last two drafts included former NIACC players Malique Ziegler and Robbie Glendinning. Ziegler was selected in the 22nd round by the San Francisco Giants in the 2016 draft and Glendinning was a 21st round selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2017 draft.

Hergert said former NIACC standouts Luke Becker, Spencer Halloran and Brandon Michie have received interest from MLB franchises and could also be selected in the three-day draft.

Becker (Kentucky) and Halloran (Houston Baptist) recently wrapped up their collegiate careers and Michie (Mercer) just completed his junior season.

"I'm real excited for it," Hergert said of this year's draft. "This is another positive mark on our program.

"We'd all like to go to the World Series and compete for a national title every season but that doesn't always happen. Our goal is to develop players to send them to Division I schools or get them drafted."

While Williamson states that he's not nervous for Monday's draft, the same can't be said for his parents.

"They're a lot more nervous," Williamson said. "They are more stressed than I am, for sure."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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