WELCOME, Minn. (KEYC) — Welcome native Brandon Williamson is doing everything he can during these times to continue working toward the upcoming season. Last year, the southpaw was taken in the second round of the MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners.
Despite being back in southern Minnesota, Williamson is still able to do many of the things he would at spring training.
“I go into the baseball fields when it’s nice out and throw bullpens. My dad went to Play It Again Sports in Mankato to buy some catcher’s gear. He’s worn a couple, he’s worn a couple, but he does pretty good," said Williamson.
As far as facing live hitters, Williamson gets to square off against a familiar face in Luke Becker.
Becker spent a couple of seasons in the San Diego Padres organization and is set to play for an Independent League baseball team this season.
“He’ll come down and take some hacks off me. He’s extremely talented, I still get kind of a live session, for the most part, but, obviously, it’s the same hitter over and over, which is good for both of us I guess,” Williamson added.
The biggest difference between working out at home compared to with the team in Arizona is a lack of access to trainers and equipment to make sure his arm stays healthy.
“I’m just doing more shoulder strengthening band work, making sure I’m smart about my throwing, not overdoing it and taking care of my arm. Obviously I still took care of my arm, but it’s a little different when you just have a band to do your work, compared to a whole fully stacked training room full of stuff to make sure your arm and whole body feels good,” said Williamson.
As far as the product on the mound goes, Williamson has already added another pitch to his arsenal since joining the Mariners organization to complement a fastball that sits in the mid-90s.
“I started throwing a curveball, I throw a slider too. I was mostly slider in college, and then just one day a couple of weeks into pro ball, the pitching coach was like you have a high arm slot, you should throw a curveball off that, you can throw a devastating curveball. I was like, yeah I’ve tried it before, but it’s loopy and not that good. We threw five of them, and we did a couple of drills, and something clicked. It caught and worked out in my mind. Everything went well, and I started throwing a good curveball. That’s kind of been my go-to now,” said Williamson.
Williamson hopes all the hard work put in at home leads to being called up to the Double-A level at some point this season as the starter progresses through the Mariners organization.