Tag Archives: Nick Williams

Adam Haseley suddenly finds himself starting for Phillies, ready or not

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Series of unfortunate circumstances propel Haseley to the bigs

There has been no official announcement from manager Gabe Kapler, general manager Matt Klentak, or anyone else in the Philadelphia Phillies organization.

But there is no other way to look at the present situation regarding the Phillies injury-depleted outfield. Against all odds, Adam Haseley has become the starting center fielder for a Philadelphia Phillies team that still hopes to contend for a National League East Division crown.
The center field position has been in flux for weeks. The year opened with Odubel Herrera beginning what appeared to be his fifth season as the everyday starter. At just 27 years old and with a contract that runs at least through the 2021 campaign, and with no other healthy candidates appearing ready in the organization, Herrera’s job appeared as secure as any on the team.
However, Herrera came up injured on April 17, just 17 games into the 2019 season. At that exact same time, the perennially injured Roman Quinn was ready to return to the team. Quinn immediately was inserted into the lineup in Herrera’s place.
As most anyone who has followed the team over the last few years could have predicted, Quinn didn’t last long. After just seven games, he came up injured once again. Scott Kingery, the super-utility player who the team believed was also capable of covering center field, also came down with his own injury issues.
This began a nearly two-week period in which the position was in flux. Andrew McCutchen was moved over from left field to cover center field most days. The problem there was that it left a hole in left field. Aaron Altherr‘s game had completely fallen apart, to the point where he was released. Nick Williams wasn’t hitting at all, and would eventually find himself shipped back to Triple-A.
Herrera finally returned from the Injured List on May 4, but he did not produce. Over 22 games and 70 plate appearances during the month of May, Herrera slashed just .175/.257/.302 with no homers, nine RBIs, and five runs scored. He was proving a black hole in the batting order.
And then it really began to completely unravel. Just over a week ago as the club returned home from a tough road trip, Herrera was arrested following a domestic assault incident at an Atlantic City casino hotel. He is now being investigated by Major League Baseball, and his career with the Phillies may be over.
Both Herrera and McCutchen have been lost for different reasons, leaving Harper as the lone Opening Day starter left standing. (Ian D’Andrea)
McCutchen and Kingery, who had finally returned from the IL himself, had been covering center field since that time. Just two days ago, the Phillies completed a trade with the Seattle Mariners, obtaining veteran left-handed power bat Jay Bruce. The plan was to have Bruce as a power lefty bat off the bench, but also to play him in left field against tough right-handers, with McCutchen covering center field and Kingery returning to his super-utility role.
As the old saying goes, the best laid plans often go awry. That seems to be especially the case with the 2019 Philadelphia Phillies. During a crazy rundown play in Monday night’s series opener out in San Diego, McCutchen came up injured as well, clutching at his knee and needing assistance to limp off the field.
McCutchen will undergo an MRI today in order to assess the damage, but he will be out for at least a short period of time. There is a chance that he could be out much longer, even that his season could be over.
McCutchen. Herrera. Quinn. Altherr. Williams. All either injured or failing to produce. And there are only so many players out there available at this point in the season on the trade market. Besides, the Phillies still have other needs to fill if they really want to contend.
So, into the crucible of a five-game losing streak and an injury-ravaged position steps the rookie Haseley. The 23-year-old from Orlando, Florida was the Phillies first round draft pick at eighth overall in the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Virginia.
He opened the season as part of a “First-Round Outfield” at Double-A Reading, playing alongside the club’s 2015 first rounder Cornelius Randolph and 2016 first rounder Mickey Moniak.
After slashing .268/.356/.471 with seven homers, 19 RBIs, 27 runs scored, and four stolen bases, Haseley was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley just a week ago. Over six games with the IronPigs, Haseley slashed .320/.370/.440 with three doubles and four RBIs.
Tim Pearrell at Richmond.com quoted Haseley just about two weeks ago on making adjustments to the skill level of pitching at the higher levels of the minors:
“A lot of it is all these guys throw so hard, you don’t really have to go up there and swing 110 percent. Just being aware of that, taking advantage of some counts where you can take that risk, it works out.
That is a great attitude and strategy, one that Haseley will have to carry with him when he steps to the plate in a Phillies uniform to face the even better pitching at the MLB level.
Ideally he would not be here. He would not wear Phillies red pinstripes until September under normal circumstances. He probably needs a couple of hundred plate appearances, at least, against higher-level pitching at that Triple-A level.
But the situation in Philly is not ideal. Far from it. And now the young man who was patrolling a college outfield in Virginia just two springs ago finds himself in the big-leagues. He has the talent to play at this level. But it was situations involving a half-dozen players completely outside of his control that put him here at this time.
Now that they have promoted him, the Phillies have to play him. You cannot sit a 23-year-old top prospect on the bench and let him rot away. If Kapler doesn’t like what he sees, or simply doesn’t have the confidence to actually play him regularly, then Haseley won’t last long.
This is obviously not the long-term answer. Haseley starting in center field. Bruce starting most days in left field. But that is where the Phillies appear to find themselves for the immediate future. Counting on two players who were nowhere in their plans just days ago as their division lead fritters away.

Phillies and Cardinals try to dodge tornadoes to get in series opener

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A wave of strong storms is due to hit Philly this week

Weather permitting, the Philadelphia Phillies (31-22) will host the Saint Louis Cardinals (26-26) on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia.

That weather should indeed prove a major factor per The Weather Channel. There is a 75% chance of storms at the scheduled 7:05pm first pitch time, increasing to 95% between 8-9pm and continuing at 60% by 9pm as the storm system which spawned damaging tornadoes in Ohio last night moves through our area.
If they play, the Phillies will continue to try extending their solid work during this current rough stretch of the schedule. Beginning on May 13 the club began a stretch that we have referred to here at Phillies Nation as a 23-game “crucible” of games. All are against competition outside the division, all against winning or traditionally tough opposition.
To this point the club has gone 8-6 over the first two weeks of this stretch. After this current three-game series with the Cardinals concludes, the Phillies will head out to the west coast to visit the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
The Phillies took two of three from the Cardinals out in Saint Louis earlier this month, getting shutout in the opener but then roaring back to dominate the final two games. That is what the Phillies are trying to accomplish, win series, as they attempt to return to the postseason for the first time in eight years.
With today’s breaking news that Odubel Herrera was arrested following an incident at an Atlantic City casino in which he has been charged with domestic assault of his 20-year-old girlfriend, the Phillies have re-called Nick Williams. The club has also re-called pitcher Nick Pivetta, and both players will be in tonight’s starting lineup.

TUESDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen CF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  7. Scott Kingery 3B
  8. Nick Williams LF
  9. Nick Pivetta

CARDINALS LINEUP

  1. Dexter Fowler RF
  2. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
  3. Paul DeJong SS
  4. Marcell Ozuna LF
  5. Matt Carpenter 3B
  6. Yadier Molina C
  7. Kolten Wong 2B
  8. Harrison Bader CF
  9. Adam Wainwright P

INJURY REPORT

CARDINALS: one of the healthiest teams in the game, the Cards only key player on the IL is lefty reliever Brett Cecil. He is suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome in his left throwing arm and could return sometime in June.
PHILLIES: as we all know, the Phils bullpen has been seriously depleted by injuries with the following arms all on the IL: David RobertsonVictor AranoTommy HunterPat NeshekEdubray Ramos. Outfielder Roman Quinn is also on the IL with a groin strain. He took batting practice last week, and could return in early June. None of the pitchers is due back this series.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Nick Pivetta: 2-1, 8.35 ERA, 2.127 WHIP, 31 hits allowed over 18.1 IP with a 16/8 K:BB
  • Adam Wainwright: 4-4, 4.82 ERA, 1.414 WHIP, 51 hits over 52.1 IP with a 41/23 K:BB

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • The Phillies won the season series a year ago 4-3. They’ll try to do the same this season after taking two of three earlier this month.
  • Phillies have won 18 of 28 home games this season and their .643 winning percentage at home ranks T-5th in MLB. Phillies have drawn a total of 1,006,503 fans in 28 home games this season, an average of 35,946 per game which ranks 6th in MLB
  • Phillies have won 18 of their last 29 games (4/25-current) and their .621 winning percentage in that span is tied for the second-best record in the National League
  • In his last start against STL on 6/18/18, Pivetta struck out a career-high 13 batters
  • Lefty reliever Adam Morgan has not allowed a HR to his last 118 LHH (since 6/7/18) and only 1 HR to the last 193 LHH he faced (since 8/2/17)
  • Closer Hector Neris has converted 12 straight saves since 5/21/18 (2nd-longest streak of his career) and 20 of 23 since the start of last season. In those last 12 save opportunities, has pitched 13.2 IP and allowed 1 run on 5 H and 2 BB with 20 K’s.

TICKET IQ PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Jerad Eickhoff 2019 first trimester report card

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Eickhoff started hot and has cooled of late for the 2019 Phillies

Each season in Major League Baseball is currently scheduled to last for 162 games. This means that the Philadelphia Phillies (30-21) will reach the 1/3 pole with their home game on Tuesday night against the Saint Louis Cardinals.

Over the next few days, I’ll be handing out the report cards for the first “trimester” of the season for each player on the Phillies 2019 roster. There will be a letter grade, along with a brief description of their contributions, including their relevant statistics.
I’ll be back with each player’s grades for the second trimester and the season to that point when the Phillies reach the 108-game mark. That is scheduled to come on July 31, the same date as the MLB trade deadline.

JERAD EICKHOFF

FIRST TRIMESTER GRADE: B
STATS: Eight games (seven starts), 2-2 record, 3.86 ERA, 1.190 WHIP, 35 hits allowed including seven home runs over 42 innings with a 39/15 K:BB ratio.
REPORT: Eickhoff began the season in the Triple-A Lehigh Valley rotation. Showing that he was healthy over his first two starts after missing nearly all of last season with various injuries, he was promoted and quickly moved into the Phillies starting rotation when Nick Pivetta struggled mightily over his own first few starts in April.
Gabe Kapler used him in relief in his first appearance, and Eickhoff actually earned a Save when he delivered four shutout innings in a 14-3 win over the Mets. Moving into the starting rotation, the right-hander allowed just 15 hits over his first four starts and 26 innings.
However, just when it seemed that he might have returned to the levels that had made him an 11-game winner for the club back in the 2016 season, Eickhoff has hit a major speed bump. Over his last three outings including Friday in Milwaukee, Eickhoff has allowed 17 hits over a dozen innings with a 9.75 ERA and a .333 batting average against. Opposing hitters have slugged seven home runs over those three starts.
Kapler and GM Matt Klentak are going to have some tough decisions to make moving forward with the starting rotation. Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta are clearly the top two starters. But after that it’s pretty much an open competition among a half-dozen arms. Eickhoff is part of that conversation, but he is no longer the lock that he appeared to be becoming just two weeks ago.
You have to grade Eickhoff on the fact that he started the year at Triple-A. It was unknown exactly what he could contribute or when to the Phillies this season. To this point he has given them innings and shown promise. Will he be able to right the ship and stay in the rotation all year? Time will tell.
The 38-year-old Eickhoff and outfielder Nick Williams are also the only pieces remaining with the Phillies from the five-player package obtained from the Texas Rangers back at the 2015 trade deadline for Cole Hamels.
Give us your feedback. Respond either as a comment to this piece or at our social media feeds. What is your take on him to this point? What, if anything, would you do differently regarding this player or their role if you were the Phillies manager or GM?

Nick Williams 2019 first trimester report card

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It was a rough first 1/3 of the 2019 season for Nick Williams

Each season in Major League Baseball is currently scheduled to last for 162 games. This means that the Philadelphia Phillies (30-21) will reach the 1/3 pole with their home game on Tuesday night against the Saint Louis Cardinals.

Over the next few days, I’ll be handing out the report cards for the first “trimester” of the season for each player on the Phillies 2019 roster. There will be a letter grade, along with a brief description of their contributions, including their relevant statistics.
I’ll be back with each player’s grades for the second trimester and the season to that point when the Phillies reach the 108-game mark. That is scheduled to come on July 31, the same date as the MLB trade deadline.

NICK WILLIAMS

FIRST TRIMESTER GRADE: D
STATS: 38 games, 65 plate appearances, .180/.231/.262 slash, one homer, four RBIs, three XBH, seven runs.
REPORT: the only thing keeping Williams from an ‘F’ grade were his circumstances. A starter for most of the last two seasons, his first two in the big-leagues, Williams was forced into a bench role with the signings of free agents Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper.
He didn’t get a start until April 26, and only made eight starts among his 38 appearances. But Williams contributed to his own struggles by not producing when he did get an opportunity.
He was mercifully sent down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley last week. Hopefully he can get regular playing time and at-bats there, rediscover his swing, and be more ready to help the Phillies should injuries strike the outfield at some point. That, or make himself into an attractive trade chip.
Give us your feedback. Respond either as a comment to this piece or at our social media feeds. What is your take on him to this point? What, if anything, would you do differently regarding this player or their role if you were the Phillies manager or GM?

Odubel Herrera’s time as Phillies center fielder may be coming to an end

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Odubel Herrera has manned center field for five years in Philly

Despite losses in their last two games, the Philadelphia Phillies remain atop the standings in the National League East Division, a post they have occupied now for all but seven days this season.

But the team has some significant roster and lineup holes which are keeping them from really establishing themselves as clear favorites.
One such hole, by far the biggest where the everyday lineup is concerned, has developed out in center field. Incumbent Odubel Herrera, who has filled the position for the better part of the last five years, is just not getting the job done.
Herrera is slashing just .219/.280/.342 over his first 35 games and 125 plate appearances. This is not some aberration, but the continuation of a career trend. Herrera’s batting average has dropped every season of his big-league career.
From hitting .297 as a rookie in 2015, he has dropped to .286, .281, .255 to his current low point. Over the last four years his on-base percentage has also plummeted from .361 to .325 to .310 and now today’s poor level. His slugging has fallen off for a third straight year from .452 to .420 to its now .342 mark.
From August 1 onwards last season, Herrera slashed just .189/.242/.287 over 45 games and 153 plate appearances. His was not the only poor performance leading to the club’s collapse from first to third place over the final seven weeks of 2018, but it was a major piece to that puzzle.
Searching for a better option, manager Gabe Kapler turned in desperation to Scott Kingery to man the position during the second and third games of the current four-game series against the host Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
However, for all of his natural athletcism, Kingery is simply not a center fielder. This is not a position that you should be learning to play at the big-league level, especially for a contending team.
Kingery did take on the center field position in college with the Arizona Wildcats. However, that was only due to lineup needs at the time during his sophomore season. He was immediately returned to second base when the position opened up in his junior year.
During his first three minor league seasons with the organization from 2015-17, Kingery did not play a single inning in center field. A year ago, Kapler stuck him out there on an emergency basis in one game, and for just 1.2 innings. Otherwise, Kingery’s only professional experience in center field prior to the last two days was in a four-inning stint in one game during his recent injury rehab.

Roman Quinn is the Phillies best center fielder, but he just cannot stay healthy enough for long enough to be considered dependable for the long-term. (Ian D’Andrea)
The Phillies should have learned their lesson a year ago with the misguided decision to force Kingery into the shortstop position. Sure, he can go out there and play shortstop or center field. He is young and athletic, and has played baseball all of his life. But that kind of thought process is better left for Little League teams, not big-league baseball clubs trying to put together a World Series contender.
Roman Quinn is the best center fielder that the Phillies have on their roster at the present time. Of course, Quinn is currently injured – again. There is no way that this organization can move forward hoping that Quinn will somehow manage to suddenly stay healthy once he is ready to return.
Nick Williams has been sent out to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to get some much-needed consistent playing time. Williams is not a center field candidate. However, should he get a couple dozen at-bats with the IronPigs and find his stroke, the Phillies could bring him back to play left field everyday and slip Andrew McCutchen to center field.
Two of the Phillies current top 10 prospects, 23-year-old Adam Haseley and 21-year-old Mickey Moniak, can play center field. But neither is anywhere close to being big-league ready. Haseley has been hot of late, and with a full, solid season could find himself in the mix at the start of the 2020 season, should no better options emerge.
The Phillies signed Herrera to a club-friendly contract that bought out his early years of potential free agency. He is signed through his age-29 season to a deal that guarantees him $7.35 million next year and $10.35 million the following, with a pair of additional option seasons.
If he turns out to be only a fourth outfielder on a contending team, that salary level probably wouldn’t be too hard to swallow or prove an impediment to making other needed additions. The contract might also make him more attractive to another club as a trade candidate at some point.
But where does all of that leave this current Phillies team as far as the starting center field position? Good ball clubs are generally built up-the-middle: catcher, second base, shortstop, center field.
I’m not making any long-term declarations of who the every day center fielder is going to be because, we don’t have one right now.
That was Kapler’s statement this morning on local Philly sports talk station 94.1 WIP. For the Thursday series finale at Wrigley Field, the skipper has Herrera back in the starting lineup in center field. If the 27-year-old “El Torito” cannot find his stroke, and fast, it is going to make holding on to first place much more difficult in the coming weeks.