Phillies Call-Up: Late Season and Beyond
By Jason Slater
NICK WILLIAMS – OUTFIELD
Yet another gem plucked from the Rangers in the Hamels deal at last year’s deadline, Billy Nicholas Williams (no wonder he goes by Nick Williams) has been impressive since coming over from Texas.
The 22-year old left-hander was ranked as the #40 prospect in all of baseball by the folks at Baseball America on their recently released Midseason Top 100 Prospects list.
A career .294/.341/.485 MiLB hitter, Williams has some pop. His first full year of minor league ball in 2014 saw him hit .283/.331/.462 with 13 dingers and 74 RBI. He followed that up by improving across the board in 2015, knocking 17 over the wall while driving in only 55, but he posted another solid slash line of .303/.354/.491.
Currently starring at AAA Lehigh Valley, he’s split time between all three outfield positions and has made only two errors (both in CF) all year. It is believed that Williams will slot into the starting right field job in Philly later this season, which could come as soon as a week from now.
Williams is hitting .288/.322/.464 this season, smacking nine homers and knocking in 47 runs. His 39 extra-base hits in only 377 plate appearances demonstrate that he’s the kind of talent who can hit for power AND average.
Although he had a rough go of it this week (.217/.217/.435 over the past 7 days), he’s feasted on right-handed pitching for most of the season to the tune of .302/.343/.517.
It’s fairly obvious that he’ll be called up at some point, his performance warrants it. However, with Aaron Altherr soon to arrive, the Phillies outfield is a crowded place at the moment, and there simply wouldn’t be enough playing time coming Williams’ way in order for manager Pete Mackanin and his staff to assess his talents fairly.
This could change, however, with the Phillies expected to move Peter Bourjos before the deadline. Even if that doesn’t occur, with the rosters expanding, and injuries and slumps always a possibility, Williams could easily log a nice little chunk of PA’s by the time 2016 is said and done.
Of course these aren’t the only talented prospects in our system, but these four players stand out as the most MLB-ready and most likely to see action in 2016.
How quickly and successfully the Phillies rebuilding program moves forward is still uncertain. But the team has been far more competitive this year than last, and our front office continues to make shrewd business decisions when it comes to acquiring, retaining, and releasing or trading players.
If these are any indication of the pace at which the rebuild will continue, then the Phils appear primed to continue to successfully advance through replenishing of the farm system. For the first time in a few years, we can honestly state, without being laughed at, that the future is surprising bright down at Citizens Bank Park.