Nick Williams
Nick Williams
26-Year-Old OutfielderOF
Philadelphia Phillies
2020 Fantasy Outlook
Williams' days as a starting outfielder may be over. The offseason arrivals of Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper consigned Williams to the bench, but the way his 2019 season turned out fell well below even the more pessimistic expectations. He lost his roster spot in mid-May and went on to receive just 112 plate appearances on the season, hitting an awful .151/.196/.245. To be fair to Williams, the sporadic playing time can't have helped, and he did manage a 141 wRC+ in Triple-A. Still, he's now a 26-year-old corner outfielder with a career .254/.313/.420 slash line in 903 plate appearances, far worse than what most teams will want in the starting lineup. If Williams finds his way to a new city, it's not impossible to envision a rebuilding team giving him a chance to prove that last season's struggles were just a fluke, but even then he'd be a late-round flier and nothing more. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year contract with the Phillies in March of 2019.
Optioned to Triple-A
OFPhiladelphia Phillies  AAA
March 26, 2020
Williams was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday, Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
ANALYSIS
Williams entered camp battling for a bench spot but failed to take advantage of the opportunity, slashing .087/.241/.130 in 10 Grapefruit League games before play was suspended. This comes after the outfielder struggled to a .151/.196/.245 line in 112 big-league plate appearances in 2019.
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Batting Stats
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2019
2018
2017
2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB Game Log
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2018
 
 
+25%
OPS vs RHP
2020
No Stats
2019
 
 
+60%
OPS vs RHP
2018
 
 
+25%
OPS vs RHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2018vs Left .571 108 10 2 9 1 .212 .278 .293
Since 2018vs Right .714 452 52 17 46 2 .239 .303 .411
2020vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019vs Left .294 17 1 0 2 0 .118 .118 .176
2019vs Right .469 95 8 2 3 0 .157 .211 .258
2018vs Left .625 91 9 2 7 1 .232 .308 .317
2018vs Right .780 357 44 15 43 2 .262 .328 .452
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2018
 
 
+6%
OPS at Home
2020
No Stats
2019
 
 
+15%
OPS at Home
2018
 
 
+6%
OPS at Home
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2018Home .706 271 35 10 25 3 .238 .303 .403
Since 2018Away .668 289 27 9 30 0 .230 .294 .374
2020Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Home .471 59 5 1 1 0 .161 .203 .268
2019Away .409 53 4 1 4 0 .140 .189 .220
2018Home .773 212 30 9 24 3 .260 .330 .443
2018Away .727 236 23 8 26 0 .251 .318 .409
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2012
On the surface, Williams appeared to take a step back in his sophomore campaign, with his slash line dropping across the board from .288/.338/.344 to .256/.324/.425. Most of that drop can be chalked up to a regression to the mean by his BABIP, however, which fell from .375 to .312. The 25-year-old made important improvements to his shaky plate discipline which were hidden by that BABIP drop, cutting his strikeout rate from 28.3% to 24.8% while raising his walk rate from 5.8% to a respectable 7.1%. Even the improved version of Williams is hardly a league winner, especially as he’s stolen a total of just four bases thus far in his big-league career, but he’s a capable four-category contributor with the chance to take another step forward in his third season. Williams took on a full-time starting role as the season progressed, though there’s some risk his role could be reduced depending on Philadelphia’s offseason acquisitions.
Williams, one of the more highly regarded members of the prospect cache the Phillies assembled over the last few seasons, hit the big leagues in June and was a quick study. The outfielder, whose poor contact rates in the upper minors founded concerns he might be exposed by major-league pitchers, struck out a manageable 28.3 percent of the time, and parlayed his plus bat speed into ample hard contact (33.6 percent hard-hit rate). More surprising than Williams' steady power output was his .288 batting average over a half season, though a .375 BABIP -- a mark that was high even after factoring in his quick bat and above-average speed -- suggests some regression in the category likely awaits in 2018. In any case, the lefty-hitting Williams' ability to hold his own against both southpaws and right-handers in his first taste of the majors gives him a good chance at holding a full-time role with Philadelphia to begin 2018. The luxury of batting directly in front of or behind rising star Rhys Hoskins, and the addition of Carlos Santana via free agency should prove helpful to Williams' counting numbers.
Williams entered last season with high expectations after taking steps forward in 2015 with his walk rate and cutting back on his strikeouts. Unfortunately, he was unable to build on those improvements at Triple-A last season. Williams saw his walk rate drop from 7.7 percent to 3.6 percent and his strikeout rate balloon from 18.6 percent to 25.8 percent in 2016. Despite those issues, he entered the month of August with a respectable slash line and looked like a lock for a September callup, but then went into a deep funk, hitting just .179/.196/.316 with two homers and 36 strikeouts in 24 games. Two benchings earlier in the year for lack of hustle did not factor into the evaluation for a promotion as Williams' manager at Triple-A indicated he had learned from those mistakes. There is a lot of risk in his profile, but Williams still has plenty of upside thanks to his plus bat speed. He will compete for a roster spot this spring, but may be sent back to Triple-A to begin 2017 as the final step of his development as a prospect.
Williams came over to the Phillies as part of the deal that sent Cole Hamels to the Rangers. He is an aggressive hitter that is prone to striking out, but he showed some signs of improving his approach at the plate last season. His walk rate jumped to seven percent and he cut his strikeout rate to 19 percent. If he can continue that growth while still tapping into his power, then Williams has the potential to be a very valuable fantasy commodity since he can also chip in with double-digit stolen bases. The Phillies will likely start him out at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but Williams could force his way to the majors later this season with a strong performance in the minors.
If Williams had a good approach, he would be one of the top 10 offensive talents in the minor leagues. His ability to make hard contact on fastballs in and around the zone is elite. Williams possesses the high-end bat speed and athleticism that can wow onlookers on his good days. However, he can look downright lost against pitchers who know how to sequence and offer adequate or better off-speed stuff. He had a 28.7% K% and just a 4.7% BB% in 408 plate appearances at High-A Myrtle Beach, and both of those rates went in the wrong direction in a brief 15-game stint at Double-A Frisco to finish the season. Despite a shoddy approach, he was still able to slash .292/.343/.491 with 45 extra-base hits at Myrtle Beach, but it is reasonable to be skeptical of the 21-year-old outfielder’s ability to continue to thrive when he faces more pitchers at Double-A and Triple-A that can spin a breaking ball.
Williams, a second-round pick by the Rangers in the 2012 draft, spent his first full season of professional baseball at Low-A Hickory in a loaded young lineup. Much like his teammate Lewis Brinson, Williams has outstanding tools that are still in need of refinement. As a 19-year-old, an .879 OPS in the Sally League is ultimately going to make people take notice, but the impressive power and speed are met with plate discipline (15:110 BB:K, 404 plate appearances) that must improve as Williams continues move through the organization. He'll likely spend all of 2014 at High-A Myrtle Beach, but Williams is the type of player capable of making a fast move up top prospect lists if he shows signs of putting everything together.
Agreed to terms after being selected in the third round of the June draft.
More Fantasy News
Not impressing in camp
OFPhiladelphia Phillies  AAA
March 14, 2020
Williams hit a poor .087/.241/.130 in 10 Grapefruit League games before play was suspended.
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Receives callup
OFPhiladelphia Phillies  AAA
September 2, 2019
The Phillies recalled Williams from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday.
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Sent to minors
OFPhiladelphia Phillies  AAA
August 1, 2019
Williams was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday, Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
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Slugs second homer
OFPhiladelphia Phillies  AAA
July 24, 2019
Williams went 1-for-4 with a solo home run in Wednesday's 4-0 win over the Tigers.
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Rejoins big club
OFPhiladelphia Phillies  AAA
July 17, 2019
Williams was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday, Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic reports.
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