The Rise of Astros Prospect Brett Phillips
By Eric Huysman
Recently Baseball America released their Astros top 10 prospect list. Most of the top ten were expected, but one name jumped out on the list. Throughout Jeff Luhnow’s “process”, I have paid closer attention to the minor league players. From time to time I would check the box scores of the Astros affiliates, and one name kept on showing up in the home run and stolen base sections. I remember thinking, who the “Orbit” is this Phillips dude?
His name is Brett Phillips, he was drafted in the 6th round, out of High School by the Astros in 2012. He was drafted at the age where I might let my kids start dating, 18 years old. In an article by David Colemen, he describes Phillips after the 2012 draft shown below;
“One of the reasons why Phillips lasted this long is he was a late-bloomer of sorts. He just didn’t pop up on many radars until late in the process.”
“he was a late-bloomer of sorts”-David Coleman
“Overall, this is a nice pick. It’s not a home run like some are, but there’s talent here to suggest a player who could become better than a typical sixth-rounder. If they can get him signed away from college, he’ll be an asset that you might forget about for a year or two in the system before he pops at Lancaster in 2015.”
“he’ll be an asset that you might forget about for a year or two”-David Coleman
Coleman almost had it called in his article, except it wasn’t 2015. Phillips arrived on the radar after a season in 2014 in which he batted .310, with 87 Runs, 17 HRs, 68 RBIs, and 23 stolen bases in low-A and high-A as the lead-off hitter. He struggled his first season (ranked #18) and second season (ranked #30). However, after his 2014 season, he jumped into the top 10 (ranked #7).
Add to his success from 2014, is the fact that he won the Astros minor league player of the year award in 2014, which is a great achievement with how stacked the Astros farm system is.
Here is an interesting video about Brett Phillips while he was at Lancaster by AOL.on.
The following is a scouting report from high school,
Coast 2 Coast Prospects: Phillips has plus, plus arm strength, above average speed and good outfield actions. His arm will play anywhere in the outfield and he could be a defensive weapon in center or either of the corners. At the plate, he has solid hands and average bat speed with a quick swing. He shows gap power, with loft at times. Phillips’ swing is simple from the left side and he uses a pullback load to generate a line-drive swing plane. He’s never going to be a big power guy, but his swing is short and compact and he could add some more pop as he fills out his frame.
According to Jake Seiner, MLB.com left Phillips off its final Astros Top 20 prospects list, but he ranks much higher on the Astros internal evaluations. The 20-year-old finished the season with 60 extra-base hits and 23 stolen bases. He also made an impact in the outfield, where he played center and right and showcased the strongest arm in the Astros system.
Phillips should start the year in High-A Lancaster, which tends to favor hitters (just ask Mark Appel). At some point in the year he should be moved in to double-A Corpus Christi. Then in 2016, we might start hearing about a potential call-up, but most likely Phillips will be ticketed to Triple-A.
In a interview with Rodney Page, Phillips made the following statement.”I’m taking a break right now. I just got done playing 130 games this summer. I managed to stay healthy so I was able to play a lot. … The hope is to eventually end up in Double-A. Whether that will happen right out of spring training or not, I don’t know. I could start in Class A.”
“The hope is to eventually end up in Double A. Whether that will happen right out of spring training or not, I don’t know. I could start in Class A.”-Brett Phillips
Brett Phillips ironically best projects as Alex Presley, when he was a highly ranked prospect and before he got claimed on waivers by the Astros. While the Astros see the potential of Alex Presley, I’m hoping for a little more like Alex Gordon of the Royals. This is one prospect to keep your eyes on.