WEBB CITY, Mo. — When the Minor League baseball season was canceled a week ago, Webb City product Breckin Williams was scrolling through Twitter when he read the official announcement.
“Go home, stay ready,” Williams said he was told before departing from spring training with the Arizona Diamondbacks. “We have no idea. You could be back in two weeks. It could be now, it could be months.”
It’s an unfamiliar position for a lot of players, and the 2015 fourth round draft pick knows a thing or two about missed seasons. Injury led the pitcher to miss upwards of 200 games at one point and now the global pandemic claimed another 140 games.
Williams doesn’t want to waste any time. He knows he can take advantage of the time off and really further develop his skills on the mound. From working a part-time job to then working out, playing sandlot style games with fellow professionals and college players to help keep his arm fresh.
He’s even made the drive to St. Louis from Columbia to throw live at-bats against high caliber talent.
“Treating this as much as in-season as I can,” Williams said. “So I’m throwing down the mound two or three times a week, which is about what I’d throw in-season as a reliever. I probably wouldn’t throw anymore than four times a week in games, logistically if you look at it with dates, throwing schedules, and how much I would throw.”
After completing three years with the University of Missouri Tigers, Williams has spent four seasons in the minors. Anywhere from going 9-0 and collecting 81 strikeouts his senior season in high school to capturing the saves record (13) at Mizzou, he’s left his mark at every stop.
But it hasn’t always been easy for Williams. He’s competitive, and he knows to outdo the competition he has to put in the extra work.
“I’m a small town kid, I’ve pretty much had to work for everything I’ve got and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So the biggest thing for me is just everyday I’m going to get the work I need to get in.”
His father always told him, ‘When in doubt, throw something crooked.’ And there’s no doubt that if Arizona called today and told Williams that they needed him to come down, he’d be ready to answer.
“Arizona’s an eighteen hour drive, or four hour flight, and I can hop on the mound right when I get there,” Williams said.