Tag Archives: Nick Williams

Phillies reportedly looking at right-handed hitting center fielders

As potentially convoluted as the Philadelphia Phillies infield situation could get during the 2020 season, the outfield appears to be fairly set at this point

In right field, Bryce Harper put together an outstanding first season in Philadelphia. As long as he remains healthy, Harper is locked into the starting lineup at the position for years to come.

Andrew McCutchen is the left fielder. The veteran is expected to be 100% recovered from the devastating knee injury and subsequent surgery that ended his own first season with the club in early June. In fact, he responded earlier this week to a piece that I published asking what the Phillies could expect from him in 2020.

In center field, 2017 first round draft pick Adam Haseley will enter spring training as the anticipated everyday starter after appearing in 65 games during his rookie season last summer. Haseley, who turns 24 in mid-April, made 40 of his 65 overall appearances in center field in 2019, including 36 starts.

This morning, MLB insider Jon Morosi revealed that the Phillies may be looking to add a right-handed hitting complement to the lefty-swinging Haseley.

 

On the assumption that general manager Matt Klentak is still willing to look at available options outside of the organization, which players remaining on the free agent market might make the most sense for such a role?

The best available right-handed hitting center fielder is probably Kevin Pillar. Having just turned 31 years of age earlier this week, Pillar is a seven-year veteran.

Pillar has spent most of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays, who dealt him to the San Francisco Giants just one week into the 2019  campaign. He went on to enjoy his best season with 21 homers, 61 extra-base hits, 88 RBIs, 83 runs scored, and 14 steals. Pillar also finished fifth among all MLB center fielders in putouts.

Other available free agents fitting the bill of an experienced center fielder who bats right-handed include Peter Bourjos, Rajai Davis, Austin Jackson, and Juan Lagares. Switch-hitting speedster Billy Hamilton is also available.

The Phillies current outfield depth includes left-handed hitters Jay Bruce, Nick Williams, and Odubel Herrera. The latter is not expected to remain with the club into the 2020 season after a highly publicized domestic violence incident last year.

Even the top two outfield prospects in the minor league system, 2016 first overall draft pick Mickey Moniak and 2016 international signee Simon Muzziotti, are each left-handed hitters. Both can play center field but neither is big-league ready at this point.

The lone player on the Phillies current 40-man roster who fits the bill would be the injury-prone Roman Quinn, a switch-hitter. It is a near certainty that Quinn will make the team and fill a reserve outfield role with as long as he is healthy.

Two players who have big-league experience and who fit the right-handed hitting center field bill were signed by the club this winter to minor league deals. Both Mikie Mahtook and Matt Szczur (pronounced ‘Ceasar’) will come to spring training with a shot at filling the role for the club.

In an emergency, McCutchen could slide over to briefly cover the position. He played in 15 games there in 2019 including 10 starts. But his days as an MVP and Gold Glove caliber defender in center are long over, and it would be best to limit McCutchen’s exposure there considering the knee injury.

It is no secret that the Phillies hope to use last year’s .500 finish (81-81) as a springboard to compete for a postseason berth in 2020. Assuming health and continued positive development, Haseley will get the majority of starts in center field.

For the Phillies in the coming season, having a quality, experienced, right-handed hitting option at the position could prove to be a big help, giving Haseley a break against some tougher southpaw pitchers.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

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?