Phillies Mailbag: Quinn, Wathan and Williams, and Howard’s Finale
While the Philadelphia Eagles get set to take on the Chicago Bears tonight at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, the Phillies will enjoy a day off at home. We are not taking the day off for the Phillies mailbag, so we are here to answer your Phillies questions. Ask a question anytime on Twitter at @FrankKlose973 or message us on our Facebook page.
Could Nick Williams start in the big leagues with a really good spring?
The 2016 season for Nick Williams was a little disappointing. After hitting .303 in 2015, Williams sunk to .258 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The most difficult number from the season of Williams was his strikeouts. In 497 at bats, Williams struck out 136 times.
The story early in 2016 was a story often shared at the end of 2016: Williams was pressing for a big league promotion. In the start of 2016, the Phillies struggled with both Aaron Altherr and Cody Asche out with injury. The Phillies responded with promotions for David Lough and Cedric Hunter while at the same time adding outfielder Will Venable to the organization. Those three moves did not pan out and Williams was watching.
Mid-season, Williams settled into his groove and managed to get his batting average up near .300. However, when a promotion seemed to be in line for Williams, his production began to suffer once again. After peaking at a .293 batting average on July 16, Williams batted .179 in August and .143 in September. Almost a third of his strikeouts were accumulated in his final five weeks.
I think Spring Training can only improve Williams' chances in getting to the Phillies big league club. But, I really think he will be ticketed for Triple-A to start the year. Dave Brundage was dismissed from the IronPigs' managerial post, possibly because Williams and J.P. Crawford stalled in their development. Brundage notably benched Williams multiple times and that did not seem to help. The Phillies have high hopes for new IronPigs manager Dusty Wathan, who heads to Triple-A Lehigh Valley pretty much for the purpose of mentoring Williams and Crawford along with those who will be moving up from Double-A Reading.
I see Williams playing at least a month or two at Lehigh Valley before he is promoted.
Roman Quinn has to make the Phillies next year, right?
The Phillies were lucky enough to get Roman Quinn back from his concussion quickly enough to get a look at him this September. So far, Quinn has been very impressive. The most impressive thing about Quinn is his speed. So far Quinn is batting just .219 but has a .324 on base percentage with one stolen base. How often Quinn can get on base will be the determining factor.
Other than Quinn, the fastest players in the majors are usually believed to be Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins and Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds. With the two of them, a bunt can turn into a single. Then, stealing second base makes it essentially a double. Gordon won the batting title, and Hamilton has improved his offense as he has gone along. Their legs may make them an asset. But, they must get on base first.
The Phillies once released outfielder Quintin Berry, a speedy center fielder. The Phillies simply thought that he would have trouble getting on base enough to use his speed. Berry has made the Major Leagues for four different teams: the Detroit Tigers, the Boston Red Sox, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Chicago Cubs. If Berry had gotten on base, teams would line up for his speed. Most of Berry's Major League role has been to be a pinch runner in September when rosters expand.
That will be what makes Quinn: getting on base. The Phillies only have a handful more games to see him this year. It may take some convincing in Spring Training, too. If the Phillies do not trade Odubel Herrera this offseason to open space, then Quinn will have to fight for his at bats. But a Herrera trade will only occur if they get good value; they're not in any rush to move him.
Will Ryan Howard's injury ruin his farewell in a few weeks?
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has said that the Phillies will play first baseman Ryan Howard for all three games of the final series of the 2016 season. September 29, 30, and October 1 the Phillies will take on the Mets. Fan Appreciation Day will be Sunday's 3:05 season finale. Hopefully the Phillies will be able to give Howard the appropriate sendoff. That is, if he is healthy.
Howard had fluid from his knee drained and the Phillies will take things slow. I think everyone involved wants to get Howard the opportunity to play in front of the fans one last time. Howard surely wants that to happen, too. However, the Phillies and Howard remain optimistic that he will play.
The Phillies have 39 home runs and 82 runs batted in from the first base position this year (Note: home runs that Howard and Tommy Joseph hit as pinch hitters or designated hitters do not count towards this total). 39 home runs is still the Major League lead for the first base position.