Rookie raking: Williams finds groove at plate

Outfielder concludes Marlins series 6-for-14 with 6 RBIs

July 19th, 2017

MIAMI -- He had little to say, but a wide smile broke out across ' face when he heard his name mentioned alongside Phillies legend .

Twenty days into his big league career, the rookie hit not one but two triples in Philadelphia's 10-3 win over the Marlins on Wednesday at Marlins Park, becoming the first Phillies rookie to hit two three-baggers in a game since Rollins did so on June 24, 2001.

"That's awesome. I don't even really have a response to that," Williams said. "That's crazy. Jimmy Rollins was a legend here and an amazing player."

Williams wasted little time reaching third. In the first inning, the left-hander smoked a 107.5-mph liner to the right-center gap to plate the club's first run. He then scored the second on a sacrifice fly.

In the seventh, he split the same gap again before adding another RBI on his sacrifice fly in the ninth. Williams finished the three-game set in Miami 6-for-14 with four extra-base hits and six RBIs

"I'm not gonna say a whole lot about him. I'm just not gonna jinx myself," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "Just wanna keep watching him continue to play and be aggressive at the plate."

Williams even had Marlins pitchers scratching their heads.

"Still trying to figure out the new guy Williams and trying to see how I match up against him and how I can get him out," Dan Straily said. "I think we found some stuff. He hurt us before we got a chance to kind of advance that report on him, I guess."

Pitchers all around the league have likely been thinking similarly. Since his June 30 debut, all Williams has done since is wreak havoc.

Through 16 games, the 23-year-old acquired from the Rangers in the 2015 Cole Hamels trade is hitting .316 and has posted a .963 OPS. He has three homers, four doubles and now two triples to his name.

Statcast™ even has taken a liking to Williams. The outfielder has barreled seven balls this month, which is easily the most on the Phillies.

Williams' hot bat even forced the hand of Mackanin, who moved him to third in the lineup Tuesday and kept him there Wednesday. Mackanin doesn't care that he's a rookie.

"There's veterans that don't want to hit fourth. They just don't like to have that pressure. Nick is just feeling so good about himself," Mackanin said. "He's in the big leagues for the first time. He's swinging aggressively and looks like he's having fun out there. I figured why not put him third? He's aggressive. I'll take aggressiveness over caution anytime."

Though Williams said he hadn't hit third all year in the Minors, he's relishing the opportunity. His feet are wet, and he's playing like his hair's on fire, but he's staying relaxed.

"It's just another spot in the lineup," he said.