The Phillies are set to promote outfield prospect Nick Williams to the Majors, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (via Twitter). The move means that left fielder Howie Kendrick will land on the 10-day disabled list due to an injured left hamstring, tweets MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.
Williams, 23, rated as a consensus top 100 prospect headed into the 2016 season but saw his stock dip following an awful year with Philadelphia’s Triple-A affiliate last year (.258/.287/.427, 26% strikeout rate). Those struggles dipped him off most prospect lists this season, though Baseball Prospectus still ranked him 51st headed into the year, and MLB.com currently rates him fourth among Phillies prospects.
Thus far in 2017, Williams has demonstrated a large number of the skills that made him such a touted prospect and a key piece to the 2015 Cole Hamels blockbuster, though there’s still some work to be done. Through 302 plate appearances, he’s hitting a much-improved .277/.326/.511 with 15 homers, 16 doubles and two triples. He’s upped his walk rate a bit, but the boost from 3.6 percent to a still-modest 5.3 percent and Williams’ actually elevated 29.8 percent strikeout rate still indicate room for improvement.
That said, Williams has the potential to provide power and speed with solid defense in an outfield corner for years to come if he can manage to refine his approach at the plate. Whether he remains on the roster to stay or is only up in the big leagues for a brief period is unclear, though certainly one would imagine that a strong first showing could force Williams into the mix with Kendrick on the shelf and veteran Michael Saunders now back with the Blue Jays organization following his release.
As for Kendrick, his second trip to the disabled list saps some of the trade value he’d built up over the past month. Kendrick missed roughly six weeks of the season with an abdominal injury, but he returned swinging a blazing bat. In 96 plate appearances following his most recent activation from the DL, Kendrick slashed a ridiculous .356/.406/.471 with a pair of homers, four doubles and seven stolen bases.
It remains to be seen how long he’ll miss, but the injury seems minor enough that he’ll be back with time to spare before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. However, with a pair of DL stints under his belt, roughly $4-5MM remaining on his contract and his status as a rental player, Kendrick doesn’t figure to fetch a premium return, even though a number of teams will be intrigued by the thought of adding a well-respected veteran with some defensive versatility.