Jerome Williams is not a household name. Many Phillies fans are still wondering just who he is. And I don’t blame them. In the scorebook, he’s the guy who’s thrown three straight gems for the Phillies.
August 12: 5.1 innings and 2 earned runs against a tough Angels team.
August 18: 7 innings, one earned run against the Mariners.
August 24: 8 innings, one earned run against the Cardinals.
All together, that’s just four earned runs given up in 20.1 innings–a 1.77 ERA.
But who is he? The 32 year old grew up in Hawaii, and prior to coming to the Phillies, he’s played for (starting with most recent) the Rangers, Astros, Angels, Nationals, Cubs, and Giants.
He was drafted 39th overall by San Francisco in the 1999 draft. He made is debut for the Giants on April 26, 2003 in front of 19,464 fans at Veterans Stadium against the Phillies. He gave up five earned runs on four innings pitched and got the loss.
The Phillies lineup on that brisk night was, in order: Jimmy Rollins (SS), Ricky Ledee (CF), Bobby Abreu (RF), Pat Burrell (LF), Jim Thome (1B), David Bell (3B), Todd Pratt (C), Tomas Perez (2B), Brandon Duckworth (P). Jason Michaels and Chase Utley also made appearances that night.
Back to Williams–his pitching arsenal features six different pitches: fastball, cutter, sinker, slider, changeup, and a curveball. However, over his career (using PITCHf/x data kept since 2007), he’s stuck mostly to the fastball, cutter, and sinker. He’s sprinkled in changeups, curves, and sliders, but nowhere near as often. In 2014, he’s kept the same trend, only not as drastic. The only pitch that he’s really ignored has been his curve.
His career ERA is 4.48 and has a career record of 45-52. He’s had just two seasons with an ERA below 4, and has spent time in the minors for nearly every MLB team he’s played for.
You may have noticed that the glove he uses is pink. It’s hard to miss. He’s the only MLB player to wear such a glove. He wears that pink glove as a tribute to his mother, who passed away from breast cancer while he was at Spring Training in Arizona in 2001. He’s also sprinkled remnants of a puka shell necklace she gave him in his cleats and hat.
He’s been nothing short of outstanding for the Phillies in his first three starts, and has provided some much needed help to a struggling rotation. The law of averages says he will regress to the mean, but for now, he’s been an absolute treat to watch, and now you know his story.