There were plenty of eyes on Philadelphia Phillies youngster Nick Williams during his time with Reading and Lehigh Valley.
A prized piece in the Cole Hamels trade, Williams came to Philadelphia with high expectations. He delivered in the minor leagues and certainly played his way into the top level, even if it may have taken just a bit longer than some fans expected.
Nonetheless, Williams now has 15 games under his belt in the MLB, and in that brief time, he’s looked nothing short of a big leaguer.
“He’s been playing very aggressively,” said manager Pete Mackanin following Williams’ four RBI game on Sunday. “He swings the bat aggressively… he’s got some holes like everyone else does but you’ve got to like the way he’s playing. I like the way he’s swinging the bat. I’m happy with him so far.”
Williams is batting .302 with 10 RBI, three homers and four doubles. The team leader in average among qualified hitters, Aaron Altherr, has a .288 average. While it’s not to say Williams will continue batting over .300 throughout the second half, it’s certainly nice to see him as one of the team’s top hitters over the 15 games he’s been up.
Many fans and some scouts had felt Williams should’ve been up sooner, especially for a team that had the worst record in baseball for nearly the entire first half. Perhaps the additional time in triple-A paid off for him because right now, Williams is providing plenty of optimism.
In addition to his raw stats, Williams hasn’t looked fazed by the bright lights. He’s batting .344 in road games and has hit nine of his 10 RBI away from Citizens Bank Park. Williams, too, is proving to be valuable with runners on, batting .364 in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The rookie outfielder has also provided heroics, smashing a grand slam in the sixth inning against Milwaukee in what wound up being a comeback win. He also homered in the ninth inning on Tuesday to extend the lead from 3-2 to 5-2.
For an organization that has its fair share of talent in the minors and has equally seen quite a few of those prospects come up small in the show, the fast start by Williams is restoring hope that when guys like Scott Kingery, Dylan Cozens and eventually Mickey Moniak along with Adam Haseley reach the majors, that they can do just what Williams is up to.