One of the biggest pieces of the Cole Hamels trade remains one of the Phillies biggest questions
Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has quietly been one of the Phillies best bats since joining the club late last season. Touted as a five-tool prospect in the Rangers system brought over in the Cole Hamels deal, Williams finally got an opportunity to play the majority of a season with the big league club.
In 140 games Williams hit .256 with 17 home runs, 50 RBI, and 32 extra base hits despite not starting the season with an everyday job. After losing the starting right field job to Aaron Altherr Williams was highly productive off the bench, supplying three pinch-hit home runs by mid-May.
Williams started 14 games in May and hit .293 over 24 contests that month with five home runs. After a poor month of June hitting .218 Williams broke out in July hitting .311 with five more home runs.
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The final 42 games of the season were rocky for the 25-year-old and he lost playing time to the newly acquired veteran Jose Bautista.
Williams finished the season with a -1.0 WAR and -17 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), the sixth-worst in baseball among outfielders with at least 800 innings in the field.
His average home run per at bat did improve by two, but it’s still a shoddy rate at 23.9 at bats per home run. To put this in perspective, Mike Trout hits a home run every 12 at bats, and Rhys Hoskins averaged one every 16.
Overall Williams has been a disappointment for Philadelphia and remains one of their biggest questions going into the 2018 offseason. Much depends on the Bryce Harper situation and whether Rhys Hoskins remains in the outfield or Carlos Santana moves from first to another position or team.
If Williams does start in right field on opening day and gets 500 at-bats I’d expect to see his typical 20 home runs and 60 RBI, which likely won’t be enough for a corner outfielder. Williams might just be the place holder for top prospects Adam Haseley and Mickey Moniak, who each had strong seasons in the minors.