Phillies: Evaluating the return for Cole Hamels three years later

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PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 07: Nick Williams #5 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates with Jorge Alfaro #38 after scoring on a RBI single in the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 7, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 07: Nick Williams #5 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates with Jorge Alfaro #38 after scoring on a RBI single in the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 7, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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SAN DIEGO, CA – AUGUST 11: Nick Williams #5 of the Philadelphia Phillies is congratulated by Dusty Wathan #62 after hitting an RBI triples during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on August 11, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Nick Williams

Williams was one of the two top hitting prospects the Phillies acquired in the deal. He had a rough first full season with the organization in Triple-A in 2016, but he surged last year before making his major-league debut.

In 83 games last year, Williams hit 12 home runs, drove in 55 runs, and had a .288/.338/.473 line with a 110 wRC+. It was more than enough to establish himself as a major-leaguer, even though he had to jockey for time in right field with Aaron Altherr.

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The jockeying with Altherr continued this season as Williams seemingly became the team’s fourth outfielder. That eventually changed as Altherr faltered and was eventually optioned to Triple-A, leaving the job open for Williams. He has seized the role by the horns and doesn’t appear he will be letting go.

Since the start of May, he has a .278/.348/.491 line with a 126 wRC+ (excluding Thursday’s doubleheader).

Altogether this season, Williams has 17 home runs, 48 runs batted in, and a .341 weighted on-base average. He has been worth 1.1 offensive wins above replacement.

The main hole in William’s game is defense. He only has two errors in his career, but he is killed by advanced metrics. So far in his career, he has -23 defensive runs saved and a -11.2 UZR/150 at all three outfield positions combined. Left field is the only position he’s passable in, but even then he has negative defensive runs saved. This has led to him being worth 1.6 defensive wins below replacement this season, ultimately combining to have -0.1 WAR altogether this season.

In Williams, the Phillies have an above-average offensive but below-average defensive outfielder. His hitting ability is certainly enough to keep him in the major leagues, but his defense will keep him from jumping into the upper echelon of outfielders.

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