Phillies Frank’s Monday Mailbag: Nick Williams, outfield, prospects

It's Monday and that means it's time once again for a Phillies 97.3 ESPN Monday Mailbag. We take your questions every Monday and then we talk about them during the Sports Bash with Mike Gill on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 p.m. If you are not in South Jersey, you can listen online at


Will the injures mean that Nick Williams has a shot to make the opening day roster?

The Phillies just sent Williams to Minor League camp. There are a few things to consider here. These issues mean a lot for the long-term success of the organization.

First, Williams is not on the 40-man roster. That space is currently at a premium. Williams did not need to be optioned to the minor leagues yet. The Phillies just used Roman Quinn's first option, since he is on the 40-man roster. Saving Williams' options could come in handy later.

Second, the Phillies are not expected to compete just yet. Therefore, the Phillies would likely not want to start his service time clock sooner than they have to. According to the current collective bargaining agreement, the Phillies have six full seasons and change of control. The Phillies hope that Williams will be part of championship runs down the line. There's no point in squandering his time down the line when the Phillies will be competitive.

Finally, the Phillies will want to make sure Williams is ready for the majors. With a rebuilding club, the development of the young players is of utmost importance. The immediate needs do not demand that they rush Williams, so they will not do so.

Who will fill in for the Phillies injured outfield?

The Phillies suffered a real blow to now and the future when Aaron Altherr landed awkwardly in right field a couple Fridays ago. The real worry is what this means down the line more so than 2016. Wrist injuries are tricky.

Cody Asche seemed to be a lock for a roster spot when Altherr went down, but a strained oblique means he probably doesn't come north with the club. There will be some outfield needs.

We have no official update on Odubel Herrera, who snap chatted his middle finger wrapped up. One Philliedelphia reader pointed out that the absence of a metal splint may just mean a cut. That would be hopeful for opening day.

David Lough has looked pretty good so far this Spring and may have a real shot at the Opening Day roster. Lough is left-handed hitter with some MLB experience and a decent glove. Lough would be a nice addition to the roster.

The fifth outfielder could be either Darnell Sweeney, Darin Ruf, or a combination of the two. It will be interesting to see if Ruf gets some outfield action this Spring. Sweeney could be useful as an infielder-outfielder, which would be nice to have if Ruf and Howard are each taking up roster spots to play first base.

Tyler Goeddel and Peter Bourjos are pretty much locks, but ESPN's Jayson Stark is reporting that the Phillies are looking for another outfielder.

Which young Phillie will surprise us this year?

Had Aaron Altherr not gotten injured, he would have been my choice. However with him in the bag I will go with newly-acquired pitcher Brett Oberholtzer. Oberholtzer is out of options and definitely will make the roster.

This Spring Training Oberholtzer has yet to be scored upon. He could be the fifth starter, with Vince Velasquez being a little wild early on. Adam Morgan looks good too, but his left-handed arm could help the Phillies in the bullpen or be an unfortunate AAA demotion due to a number crunch.

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