A draft jewel in the 8th round – Catcher Creed Willems

How does a player with a stocky body “built by Betty Crocker” have so much talent and power? Most importantly, how did the Baltimore Orioles find such a gem?

The late Tony Gwynn confessed that his stocky body was built by “Betty Crocker” owing to his love of baked goods. Daniel Vogelbach of the New York Mets is solidly built, no-neck, pudgy dude at 6′ 0.5″ and 265lb. The Orioles drafted a player in the 8th round of the 2021 MLB Draft who is much like that Tony Gwynn in terms of the body structure. His name is Creed Willems. Willems is a 6′ 0″, 230lb catcher out of Aledo High School in Texas and he has been tomahawking some absolute thunderbolts at Delmarva and Aberdeen. Proof positive of his raw strength through the videos shown during games at Aberdeen. Scouts via Baseball America called him at least a high 3rd rounder if he would’ve gone to college.

However, some scouts feel he was worthy to be drafted already also through a few scouting reports that compared him to Ernie Lombardi, a Cincinnati Reds legend who was a stocky man but also had immense leadership, great power, and called great games on defense.

Ernie Lombardi (1908-1977), Aka “Lom”, “The Schnozz”, “Cyrano of the Iron Mask” was one of the best defensive catchers in the 1930s due to his strong, accurate arm, and ability to “call a game.” He hit .306 with 190 career home runs and 990 RBI. However, he was ridiculed for being so slow that some fans said that he looked like he was “running with a piano on his back and the man tuning it.”

Currently in Aberdeen right now, Willems is hitting a combined .268 with 15 homeruns and 58 RBI (stats between Delmarva and Aberdeen). This kid isn’t just a show, he’s putting ON A SHOW with his strong hitting prowess. The Orioles have actually been having some tremendous success with finding “diamonds in the rough” with batters lately and it’s been noticed by the rest of the league as continue to have the number one farm system in the league

In July of 2021, Creed Willems had planned to go to Texas Christian University but the O’s offered him a $1,000,000 deal after being picked in the 8th round of the 2021 MLB Draft. He said to Glenn Clark on the radio, “It’s one of those things that I haven’t really been able to wrap my mind around like fully yet. It honestly felt like it wasn’t even real until the day that I signed, which was July 22.” (Cited from Press Box Online)

Creed Willems prospect photo with Perfect Game

In High School, he hit .412 with 10 homeruns, 44 RBI, 5 triples, 14 doubles, and 52 hits. He won 5A Texas All-State Honors as well. Great numbers indeed and he also made a great transition from the aluminum to the wooden bat as well.

Prior to the draft, Willems worked out at Camden Yards and hit a thunderous homerun to hit the warehouse on the hop. Willems energy motivated him to keep it going and blasted another one into the bullpen in left center. Coaches were impressed by his gentle demeanor and great work ethic. Adley Rutschman, the Orioles primary catcher was even impressed by the strong then-18-year-old.

His defense is raw and still needs some work but he’s been learning with the best catcher in the MLB in Rutschman. Willems is definitely a blue-chip top prospect with immense potential as seen with his time at Aberdeen where it has been blast-off since he got there.

I’m certain that Creed Willems might just make the MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 players in a year or two. Barring any serious injuries, Willems is only 20 years old and has plenty of time. Hopefully this kid makes it to Camden Yards and puts on a show for the Black and Orange. I do like where his career is going but for now, he needs a bit more refinement and that trip to the bigs may be sooner than we think.

The Orioles really beefed up their scouting department upon the arrival of Mike Elias. In previous years, many of the picks that were drafted in the later rounds just never panned out but now it seems like the farm is taking a turn for the better with Willems being one of those steals and can’t miss prospects that we can’t wait to see when he makes it to the big leagues.

I hope he makes it to Camden Yards because I think the sky is the limit for him. If he can raise his average more, cut his strikeouts down, and work on his defense more, his stay in the minors will be short and he will be on the main roster before he knows it.

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Joshua Leuschner

Orioles/Ravens/Capitals/Terrapins/Inter Miami CF fan. Runs a podcast who tells it like it is (I-95 East Coast Sports Podcast) and loves sports, sports betting (responsibly of course), and finding arcane statistics in professional sports. He is also a devoted classic cartoon enthusiast (1930s rubberhose and 1940s-1960s silver/golden age animation), video game player, Enya enthusiast, devotee of classical music (Mozart, Sibelius, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and others), Hair/Classic/80s Rock fan, beer connoisseur, gym goer, former Slow Pitch Softball Player, and traveler.

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