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Williams named Rookie of the Year
Heat young gun lights up league in 2017/18
03/25/2018 9:04 PM ET

Since making his debut for the Perth Heat on December 9 2016, Jesse Williams has made the Australian U18 World Cup team and signed a professional contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.

After a stellar campaign for the Perth Heat in season 2017/18, Williams can now add ABL Rookie of the Year honours to his ever-growing list of accolades.

Playing predominantly at shortstop but with ability to shift to second or third base, Williams has demonstrated maturity behind his years both in the field and in the batter's box.

Finishing his first full ABL season with a .310 average and 34 RBIs (t-8th in the league), this 18-year-old product of the Morley Eagles Baseball Club in Perth is one to pencil in for the future.

Speaking to about the award, Williams believes getting a taste of the league in 2016/17 gave him a good indication of what to expect in his sophomore season.

"I realised after last year that the game speeds up a lot more than I was previously used to," Williams said.

"I've still got a long way to go, and got quite a few things that I need to work on but I'm hoping that will come a bit easier with a bit more experience and hard work over the years to come."

Previous winners of the award include Team Australia regulars Aaron Whitefield and Josh Tols, and Williams is thrilled to join such high quality talent.

"It really is a huge honour to be in the same category as the Team Australia guys like Aaron and Josh."

"Those guys have been around the league for quite some time now and have done some big things not only in the ABL but also on the world stage."

"I am looking forward to hopefully being able to play alongside those guys on the senior national team in the next few years."

Perth Heat Manager Andrew Kyle saw Williams' development firsthand in season 2017/18.

"Jesse has always been a fantastic competitor," Kyle said.

"He has always performed at very high levels as a junior, and to see him bring maturity and composure beyond his 18 years to the Heat this season was exciting for everyone in the organisation."

Any Australian that accumulated less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched in their ABL career at the beginning of the 2017/18 season is eligible for the 2017/18 Rookie of the Year award.

ABL Rookie of the Year winners:
2010/11: Trent Schmutter (Sydney Blue Sox)
2011/12: Aidan Francis (Sydney Blue Sox)
2012/13: Ben Lodge (Adelaide Bite)
2013/14: Lewis Thorpe (Melbourne Aces)
2014/15: Josh Tols (Adelaide Bite)
2015/16: Aaron Whitefield (Brisbane Bandits)
2016/17: Jordan McArdle (Adelaide Bite)
2017/18: Jesse Williams (Perth Heat)

Stay tuned as the ABL's 2017/18 Gold Glove winner will be announced on Wednesday 4 April.

All six of the ABL's 2017/18 Awards (Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove, Reliever of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, Brett Brothers Batting Champion and Helms Award) were determined by a 3-2-1 vote conducted by each of the 2017/18 ABL Managers.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.