Nats adviser Williams wins Coolbaugh Award

WASHINGTON -- Regarded as an influential mentor to young pitchers in the Nationals' organization, Donald "Spin" Williams was honored by Minor League Baseball with the ninth annual Mike Coolbaugh Award.

The award is presented to "an individual who has shown outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players on the field" and will be given to Williams on Dec. 4 at the Winter Meetings in Washington.

Williams, the Nationals' senior advisor for player development, has been with the organization for 11 seasons, for which he has helped coordinate and oversee the development process for Washington's pipeline of pitchers. Throughout his career with Washington, Williams is credited with impacting some of the organization's most successful pitchers, including Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark, Joe Ross, Blake Treinen, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Jordan Zimmermann, Drew Storen and many more.

"Spin's commitment to not only helping our players develop as pitchers, but also to mature as men, is second to none," Nationals assistant general manager Doug Harris wrote in a statement. "For me, personally, it is an honor to know him and to work with him for as long as I have, and I'm so proud to see him earn the type of recognition he so richly deserves."

The award was created in 2008 and named for the late Mike Coolbaugh, a player and coach who spent 17 seasons playing professional baseball and appeared in 44 games in the Majors. He turned to coaching in 2007 after his playing career ended, but he was killed after being struck with a line drive as a first-base coach in the Minors. He was 35.

"Spin Williams has dedicated his life to the game of baseball and sharing his knowledge with young players to help them reach the Major Leagues," Minor League Baseball president & CEO Pat O'Conner wrote in a statement. "Like Mike Coolbaugh, Spin has made a positive and lasting impact on so many, it is only appropriate that he was selected for this great honor."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.