Alika Williams has been nothing short of an outstanding pick-up for the Pirates. A former first-round pick by the Tampa Bay Rays, the Bucs acquired Williams in early June in exchange for relief pitcher Robert Stephenson. Williams has been better than the Pirates could have ever imagined.
In 124 plate appearances for Triple-A Indy, Williams is currently slashing .311/.398/.538 with a .408 wOBA and 133 wRC+. Williams has six home runs already. Williams only hit 20 during the 938 plate appearances across just the two seasons he took in the Rays' system. His .226 isolated slugging percentage is higher than anything he ever put up with the Rays or even in college. We are still talking about a small sample size in a hitter-friendly environment. The average ISO in the International League is .180. Williams is still comfortably above average, being 46 points above the average, however.
But Williams' power isn't his most impressive number for the Pirates. That would be the few times he's gone down on strike three while holding his own with walks. Williams has an 11.3% walk rate, which is only slightly below the average of 11.7%. However, he's struck out less than 15% of the time, 12.1% to be specific, and 10.3% better than average.
The Pirates acquired Williams, knowing he is a slick defensive infielder. That's still his strongest trait, and he has more than enough arm strength to play the right side of the infield. He's also a plus runner, so range isn't an issue for Williams, either. Admittedly, this looked like another Cole Tucker situation; a former first-rounder who may have been a good defender in his natural position but never could hit enough to or consistently be a bench player, let alone a regular. But Tucker never had a stretch like Williams is having.
At 24 and just how well Williams has been doing this year for the Bucs, it's a little surprising that he wasn't promoted over Liover Peguero, who just got to Triple-A. I understand that Peguero was already on the 40-man, so it was easier, but at some point, the Pirates have to give Williams his just dues. Williams has a wRC+ approaching 200 over his last month of play, at 179. It might be time to see what he can do, especially with Tucupita Marcano struggling.