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Hazelwood West standout pitcher Williams signs with the Brewers

Hazelwood West standout pitcher Williams signs with the Brewers

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Devin Williams got a taste of the Major Leagues when he visited the Milwaukee Brewers last week. On Sunday, he took the next step toward one day pitching there when he signed with the Brewers.

“It feels pretty good,” the hard-throwing right-handed pitcher said in a phone interview on Sunday afternoon. “I’m just ready to get to Arizona and work my butt off.”

Williams, who had signed with the University of Missouri, was selected by the Brewers in the second round (No. 54 overall) of the Major League Baseball Draft on June 6. He and the Brewers agreed to a signing bonus of $1.35 million.

The 6-foot-3, 172-pound pitcher is the 15th second-round pick to sign, according to BaseballAmerica.com, and his signing bonus is the third-highest amount given to a second-round selection so far and exceeded the $1,017,300 amount slotted by Major League Baseball.

The St. Louis Cardinals gave high school shortstop Oscar Mercado, the No. 57 overall pick, the highest bonus of the round at $1.5 million.

Williams was eager to sign and begin his career, but was able to spend some extra time at home with his mother, Angela Norton, in the days after the draft.

“They wanted to wait a little while to see what they could do with their other picks and my mom wanted me to stay home for a little bit,” he said.

The Hazelwood West standout was rated by ESPN.com’s Keith Law as the 20th-best prospect going into the draft, while Baseball America rated him as the 43rd-best prospect.

Williams was disappointed on draft day when he fell to the second round — his stated goal before his senior season was to be a first-round pick — but he found a good fit with the Brewers.

Milwaukee did not have a first-round pick, because they signed pitcher Kyle Lohse, which meant Williams was the team’s first selection and he was likely able to negotiate a larger signing bonus.

The former Wildcats pitcher spent three days in Milwaukee last week, where he underwent a physical exam and motion analysis and got to tour Miller Park.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “The park was gorgeous. I wanted to go down the slide, but they wouldn’t let me.”

Williams, who has touched 96 miles per hour with his fastball, went 6-2 with one save and a 1.15 ERA in 55 innings during his senior season. He allowed just 19 hits, including three for extra bases, struck out 101 batters and walked 28. Opponents batted just .100 against him.

"He wants to succeed," Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid told reporters after Milwaukee drafted Williams. "I remember seeing him in a game where he had to pitch the last pitch to win the game, 1-0, in the state tournament, and he used all of his arsenal. He pitched like a pitcher, and he showed good stuff, and he was really athletic. To say we're happy he got to us — I'm really excited about it."

Williams will head to Phoenix on Monday to begin his professional career with the Brewers’ rookie league squad.

“It’s very gratifying knowing that all my hard work has finally paid off, but I’m not done yet,” he said. “I’ve got a long way to go and I’m looking forward to that.”

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