Name: Ryley Gilliam
Born: Kennesaw, Georgia
Age: 20 (6/30/1997)
Height/Weight: 5’10”/170 lbs.
School: Clemson University
Ryley Gilliam lettered four times while playing baseball at Kennesaw Mountain High School, but went undrafted, partially due to his size and partially because of his commitment to Clemson University. He attended Clemson and made their baseball team, pitching as a starter and reliever as a freshman. In his first year there, he was fairly unimpressive, posting a 6.10 ERA in 31.0 innings, allowing 26 hits, walking 18, and striking out 16. He pitched completely out of the bullpen as a sophomore and his numbers got dramatically better. In 35.0 innings, Gilliam posted a 2.57 ERA, allowing 29 hits, walking 14, and striking out 50, notching 4 saves in the process. By his junior year, the right-hander had a firm grasp of the Tigers’ closer position. In 2018, he proved to be one of the best closers in all of college baseball. Through 36.0 innings, he posted a 0.99 ERA, allowing 19 hits, walking 22, and striking out 53, notching 11 saves in the process.
Standing only 5’10”, durability concerns are allayed by his athleticism. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot, generating velocity from a compact, electric arm. His high-tempo delivery sometimes causes command problems, but he generally has no problems with throwing strikes.
Gilliam possesses a plus fastball thanks to his electric-quick arm. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s, topping out around 96 MPH. The pitch is actually better out of the stretch than out of the windup, as Gilliam is able to throw the pitch for strikes more, is able to generate better plane with it, and is able to impart more arm-side life to into it.
Gilliam complements his fastball with a curveball and a changeup. His curve is an above-average pitch, sitting in the high-70s with 12-6 break. The pitch has tight rotation and plenty of late break, eliciting plenty of swing-and-misses. He is confident with the pitch, and regularly doubles or even triples down on the pitch when he sees the need to. A holdover from his days as a starter, his changeup is also an effective pitch, as is the cutter that he began using in 2018, but he does not throw either pitch much, instead sticking with his fastball/curveball combination.