Nick Williams is on a rehab assignment in Arizona allowing me to get a good look at him a couple times over the past few days, and I have not been disappointed.
His raw ability is clear, especially when it comes to his legs. MLB.com’s Prospect Watch has him listed as a 55 run which is laughable. He is a 70 run easy right now with a future regression possible down to 65. I clocked him under 4 seconds from home to first, and just about 3.5 from third to home on a sac fly.
In center field, his defense relies too heavily on his speed. He can make up for a slow first step with his wheels but that slow first step, along with teammates like Lewis Brinson and Nomar Mazara, has relegated him to play a majority of his minor league games in left field.
At the plate he has a smooth swing, and showed he can drive the ball to all fields when he ripped a ball into the left-center gap and used his speed to turn a double into a triple, and even seemed to have an extra gear between second and third.
His bat to ball skill is clear and he has a pretty smooth swing from the left side of the plate, but there is some strikeout risk in the bat due to his approach. He can recognize breaking stuff well, and can catch up to a good fastball, but he is not exactly patient.
On Sunday night, in the at-bat following the triple, he struck out on three pitches, and never really seemed to be in the at-bat due to his aggressiveness. He was swinging at all three and didn’t even seem to entertain the thought of taking a pitch at any point. I give him a little benefit of the doubt on that at-bat as he was using a new bat and forgot to add pine-tar to the bat, causing him to send the bat flying against the backstop in his first swing which seemed to have him a little off in the next couple of swings.
Overall, I can certainly see a very good everyday big leaguer in the future, but it is going to take some time. He is at High-A this season, where he is hitting better than .300, but he should stay there the rest of the season and move up to Double-A next season. He could be a big league option come 2016, which would be his age 22 season, but he needs to fine tune the finer points of the game to truly be successful in the high minors and big leagues.