Flashing back to last May, many Phillies fans suddenly became aware of the USA Olympic phenom, Luke Williams. Williams, the Phillies’ 29th ranked prospect at the time, went 8-16 with 6 RBI and 6 runs scored in just four games while representing his country.
Along with Team USA, Williams also was playing incredibly well for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Here, he was hitting an insane .352 in 18 games. Due to all of his successes, he quickly found himself recalled to the Phillies roster with all of their outfielder troubles/COVID-IL-related cases.
Reflecting on His Red Hot Start
The same day he was brought up, Williams was brought in as a pinch hitter. Ironically enough, he picked up an infield hit on an RBI bunt attempt against former Phillie Drew Smyly.
Only a day after being recalled, he then found himself starting in centerfield, before being shifted to third base midway throughout the game (shoutout the Girardi and his double switches). With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the right-handed bat continued his hitting success into the major leagues.
He would go on to finish the season with only that walk-off homer, while batting .245 in 98 plate appearances. In total, he’d play in 45 games, mainly being used as a utility guy, filling in the gap of whoever was out for that game.
Where Williams Fits in During 2022
As the Phillies’ roster currently stands, Scott Kingery will likely not be coming back. Odubel Herrera and Andrew McCutchen are also both off the team now and question marks around Mickey Moniak and Adam Haseley lead to some gaps in the outfield. Jean Segura trade rumors always linger in the air as well.
The Phillies will ideally bring in a couple of free agents to replace some of the dents left from the routine side effects of the offseason. However, even without a full Spring Training to prove himself, fully expect Luke Williams to make the team to begin the season.
Even with the empty spots in the starting nine, Williams is likely only going to touch the field as a starter when others are given rest days. His role as a utility man suits him perfectly, especially with how well Matt Vierling played at the end of last season. With the DH coming to the National League, Williams can take some of the defensive load off of both Rhys Hoskins and Alec Bohm at third base, as Bohm can play first in the event of Hoskins serving as the DH.
Williams will fit in nicely as a bench piece at the start of the 2022 season. However, chances are that he ends up in Triple-A depending on any potential splashes Dave Dombrowski lands once the lockout is (finally) over.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire