Luke Williams started 2022 with the Phillies, but the former Olympian was traded to the Giants in spring training, then DFA’d in May. That’s when the Miami Marlins decided to acquire him in exchange for prospect Hayden Cantrelle.
Expectations were pretty low for Williams when he joined the Marlins, but his role got clearer as the season went on. Unfortunately, Jon Berti and Joey Wendle went down with injuries and it was time for Luke Williams to play almost every day.
Before the All-Star break, Williams was playing some nice and scrappy baseball. He slashed .283/.365/.391/.756 during the first half of the season with one home run, 5 stolen bases, 3 RBIs, and scored 9 runs while contributing at second base, third base and left field.
Williams gradually got a lot less playing time as the second half went along. Berti and Wendle returned from their respective injuries and rookie Charles Leblanc added a new dimension to the Marlins offense with his extra-base hits, so he passed Williams on the depth chart. In September, Williams started only three games, mainly being used as a high-leverage pinch runner and defensive replacement. The Marlins optioned him to Triple-A Jacksonville on September 29.
Williams does very well on the base paths. His sprint speed this season put him in the 87th percentile among MLB players, according to Baseball Savant. His 11 steals ranked fourth on the Marlins behind only Berti, Wendle and Jazz Chisholm Jr.
Before he got sent down, here is a conversation that I had with Williams about the 2022 season and what he’s looking forward to in the future.
After being able to see almost a full season of Luke Williams, he should be fighting for an active roster spot in spring training. He still has minor league options to use if there isn’t room for him. The Marlins hope Williams can be a Jon Berti-type player who impacts the game in similar ways.
Keep in mind that Williams is only 26, entering the “prime” years of his career. So there is a lot of baseball left in him.
The Marlins have several other versatile players like Berti, Wendle, Miguel Rojas and Brian Anderson, but with them getting older, more expensive and close to free agency, offseason trades are a possibility. It will be extremely helpful for 2023 to have Williams as depth.