Phillies promote Nick Williams from triple A

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Nick Williams, one of the Philadelphia Phillies’ top minor league outfielder prospects, is finally heading up to the major leagues from the triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

The Phillies have promoted outfield prospect Nick Williams, who will join them Friday in New York but might not be with them for long.

Williams’ move to the majors became official Friday afternoon. He was informed of his promotion Thursday night after triple-A Lehigh Valley’s game in Allentown.

The 23-year-old was acquired as part of a six-player package from Texas for Cole Hamels. Now, all five of the prospects from that trade — Williams, Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher, Jake Thompson and Jorge Alfaro — have spent time in the majors.

Williams was hitting .280 with a .328 on-base percentage and .511 slugging percentage at triple A. His power numbers improved this season. His walk rate crept higher. He is not a finished product, and could return to the minors as soon as July 4.

He will replace Howie Kendrick on the roster, as Kendrick was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to a left hamstring injury. The status is retroactive to June 28.

Eickhoff must be activated from the DL before his next scheduled start, July 4. The Phillies could opt to keep an extra pitcher and return Williams to Lehigh Valley for some more at-bats.

Of course, those plans can always change.

The Phillies front office has said it wants hitters who have an exceptional on-base skill, and Williams is not known for that. The executives likely took notice of Williams’ last six games, in which he walked six times in 27 plate appearances. He struck out eight times. But he collected seven hits, including four for extra bases.

Before that stretch, Williams had walked six times in his previous 181 plate appearances.

His strikeout rate this season in 302 plate appearances at triple A was 29.5 percent. His walk rate was 5.3 percent. Just five players since 2010 have netted 300 plate appearances in the majors with a higher strikeout rate paired with a lower walk rate: Mike Zunino (2014), Danny Espinosa (2014), Brandon Barnes (2014), Junior Lake (2014) and J.P. Arencibia (2013).

With Kendrick on the disabled list and Williams in the majors, it appears Ty Kelly and Andres Blanco will man second base. Kendrick could return before the all-star break.