EVERETT — Brandon Williamson’s professional debut turned out to be a short one. But the Seattle Mariners blue-chip pitching prospect was happy just getting back on the mound in a competitive situation.
Williamson, the Mariners’ second-round pick in this year’s draft, went one-plus innings in his pro debut as the starting pitcher for the Everett AquaSox in their game against the Vancouver Canadians on Friday night at Funko Field.
Williamson, a 21-year-old left-hander drafted out of TCU, was scheduled to throw two innings or 30 pitches, whichever came first. He ended up being removed before reaching either barrier, as he recorded three outs while facing six batters and threw just 22 pitches, 17 of which were strikes.
Williamson allowed two singles and struck out one, with the final batter he faced reaching on catcher’s interference. Both runners who were on base when the easy-motion lefty was replaced in the top of the second inning came around to score, but those runs were unearned.
“It was a little rusty, I hadn’t pitched in a while,” Williamson said following the outing. “But it felt good that I got back out there, and I love to pitch, so it was awesome to be on the field again.”
Williamson’s fastball, according to Trackman data readings in the press box, sat around 91 mph and topped out at 93. He allowed hard contact to three of the six batters he faced, as both singles were hard liners and one of the outs was a liner right at right-fielder Cade Marlowe. But he was able to induce swinging strikes with both his fastball and slider, finishing with five swinging strikes among his 22 pitches.
“My slider felt good,” Willamson said. “The fastball, I was having trouble getting it down. The changeup was definitely rusty.
“(My fastball) wasn’t 100 percent,” Williamson added. “There were a couple pitches where I tried to throw it pretty hard. But most of the time I was on cruise control, trying to own the zone.”
Williamson hadn’t pitched competitively since his final collegiate appearance on May 31. Since joining the Sox in mid-June he’d been limited to playing catch, a few bullpen sessions and one live session.
Williamson was the first of two marquee debut starting pitchers for the Sox. Right-hander George Kirby, the Mariners’ first-round pick in this year’s draft out of Elon University, will make his pro debut Saturday. He is subject to the same two-inning, 30-pitch limit as Williamson.