Pirates Sign Hard Throwing Minor League LHP with an Injury History

According to MSM Sports agency, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed lefty Greg Williams to a minor league contract. An initial look at his stats doesn’t give much of an impression, but Williams could be diamond in the rough.

The 26-year-old (turns 27 on December 30th) stands 6’5″, 205 pounds and was a 12th round selection out of Marshall in 2011 by the Texas Rangers. They gave him a $125,000 bonus to sign, which would be considered an over-slot bonus now for that round. Out of high school in 2008, he was drafted in the 31st round by Tampa Bay. He was hitting 91 MPH at the time and showing a very strong changeup, but felt it was better to go to college. His draft report in 2011 had him as a pitcher with some control issues and not many innings, who showed strong velocity. Williams suffered rotator cuff tendinitis, which cost him the 2010 season and his control issues were worse after the injury.

After signing, Williams threw a total of 61.1 innings in his first two seasons as a pro, finishing the 2012 season in High-A. His rotator cuff injury in college was his only injury up to that point, going back to when he was a kid, but things fell apart after his second pro season.

He had Tommy John surgery shortly after the 2012 season ended and missed the entire 2013 season. He returned briefly in 2014, then needed a second Tommy John surgery, which caused him to miss all of 2015. The Rangers released him at the end of Spring Training this year and he caught on with the Cincinnati Reds shortly after the season started. Williams pitched nine games before going on the disabled list. One day after going on the DL, he was released.

According to scouting reports, has topped out at 97 MPH in the past. His agency reports that Williams is finally 100% healthy and he was sitting 95-96 MPH during a workout at the end of October, which likely drew the interest of the Pirates.

This is obviously just a lottery ticket player, where you might get lucky and find a big arm cheap. Or he might amount to nothing and all it cost you was a minor league contract. He was considered at one time to be a pitcher worthy of a six-figure bonus and he’s clearly dedicated to the sport. Williams has pitched just 76 innings since 2011, though with so much time spent rehabbing from injuries, you can assume he’s probably put it twice as many innings in the backfields in Arizona.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Hopefully he doesn’t implement a bountygate in Altoona.


Haha, nice my friend Todd.
LLOYD sees that no one else got the reference/joke.

Bill Harvey

At 6’5″ and 205#, he could probably stand to add some muscle to his frame. Not knocking the guy, just thinking that it could help to alleviate some of the stress from his tendons.

As for his chances, they probably aren’t good, but on a salary that my broke ass can afford to pay, why not give him a shot.


Sounds like he has a decent arm, but does he have any command? Could be an interesting pitcher to follow in Spring Training and in AAA (assuming that is where he winds up)….

dr dng

At least he’s not left handed.

Oh, wait, I used that line last week.

(I know, I know… he is left handed.)

Joe P

Picture Neal at the Blackjack table, late at night with a lot to drink, and the place about to close, he hasn’t hit yet and he says, wait a minute hank, I got a few more chips here, lets empty out pockets, you in Frank,


How did you know that I was at the casino last night

Tom Brenholts

“I, too, like to live dangerously.”

Patrick Kelly

Did they announce what level he will be playing at?

Patrick Kelly

That’s what I assumed as well. Thanks John!


Wow it’s been awhile since The Brady Bunch!


Just providing him with more false hope….he just needs to get on with his life and his career work….


Aim low, reach for the middle shelf of life to play it safe


Is your life’s work de-motivational speaking?


You must be great at parties

eric i

There you go, put down a guy for pursuing his dream. You must be a life coach.


I like this move, these are good signings…like signing multiple tall projectable HS pitchers…you sign enough, you’ll hit on one.


And, only 12 innings over the past 4 years means his arm (or what is left of his arm) will be fresh even though he will be 27. He must have control, because they were able to get a mph reading.

I know you have to report them all John, but Alen Hanson getting two hits (single and triple) last night could have been a better story. The RBI triple came against Cesilio Pimentel.

Blaine Huff

Holdzkom 2.0?


Speaking of check in on John, just nasty when he was gassing 97 mph cutters. Miss him!

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