Jermaine Williams Takes It All In Stride

After being pretty highly touted and being drafted by the Phillies in the seventh round of the June Draft, Jermaine Williams had pretty high expectations. To say the least, the expectations haven't been met so far as he struggles to hit as a member of the Gulf Coast League Phillies.

"I'm not doing too well," says Jermaine Williams about his first professional season. For Williams, who was drafted out of high school, there is a lot to learn and his first lesson has been in handling struggles. Williams has started his season in an 0-for-22 slump. "I'm hitting the ball right at people; mostly the shortstop. Talk to me at the end of the season and I will be able to tell you different. I will be hitting well," believes Williams.

Consider that first test on handling struggles to be passed.

For the 18 year old Williams, there is a lot to learn and a lot to adjust to. The first adjustment has simply been to being in the Florida climate. "It's hot and humid," says the California born and raised Williams. "Playing day in and day out is a little tougher than I thought it would be. Throwing everyday and hitting every day is not the problem, but running conditioning is harder," said Williams. The key has been that Williams is adjusting and loves what he's doing. "It's fun. I enjoy what I am doing."

Williams is learning the financial ups and downs of life as a minor leaguer. The bonus that he got was great. The mature Williams used the bonus money he got for a down payment on a house that he'll share with his Mom. "It is a really nice little house for mom and me," said Williams. On the other hand, he's living out of a hotel in Clearwater and the monthly minor league pay doesn't stretch too far. "We still get money , just a lot less than we all thought it would be. Thank God they upped the salary cap from $850 to $1100 or we would only be making about $100 a month total after they take out for housing and everything."

In Williams, the Phillies believe that they have a power hitting outfielder, with a strong arm, which he's displayed in the Gulf Coast League even if he hasn't displayed his bat skills. Phillies Scouting Director Marti Wolever believes highly in Williams. "He has a chance to do something very special if it all comes together. He looks like Andre Dawson. He's got a lot of ceiling," remarked Wolever on Draft Day.

Williams has also displayed a very mature attitude that the Phillies fell in love with. Even with his struggles, he's stayed positive and focused. Williams has simply remained himself; solid, pleasant and respectful. It's likely that Williams will prove prophetic and that at the end of the season, his numbers will have erased any concerns that his slow start may have evoked.

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