Brett Phillips was taken by the Astros in the sixth round of the 2012 June Amateur Draft out of Seminole High School. He spent most of last season in A-Ball with Quad Cities, but received a quick peak in Lancaster, playing in 27 games, spanning just over 100 at-bats. In his time with Lancaster, Phillips hit .339 with four home runs and 10 rbi.
The six-foot center fielder is a lefty at the plate, and will be just 21 at the end of May.
Phillips is currently ranked #12 in the Astros farm system according to MLB Pipeline, but Baseball Prospectus is very high on him. Here is what BP had to say about Phillips in their “Before They Were Pros” series, “Medium athletic build, some present strength. Excellent run/throw tools, 6.76 in the 60. 96 mph OF arm strength with on line carry, moves to the ball well, good overall actions. Left-handed hitter, spread stance, gets hands back, simple load and swing mechanics, hits off hard front side, short quick stroke, squares up well, line drive contact all fields, has some bat speed and gap power. High energy player, defense really stands out and has a chance with the bat.”
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In the Q&A section of BP, a commenter said on 9/3, “Brett Phillips is having a good season. How high does he rise?”
BP responded with, “Brett Phillips can flat out hit the baseball. He should get some consideration in the top 100, but I think he ultimately falls a bit short. It’s an intriguing profile, kind of like a poor man’s David Dahl.” Dahl is the #71 ranked prospect in baseball by mlb.com, and is a center fielder for the Rockies. Both Dahl and Phillips are 20-years old.
In the Baseball Prospectus 2015 book, they list Austin Jackson, Joc Pederson and Andrew McCutchen as comparable players to Brett Phillips. McCutchen is a perennial MVP candidate, Pederson has been rated very highly for years, and will likely get his chance in 2015, while Jackson has been a solid defender with a bat that goes off and on.
In the book, BP even says that Phillips, “flashed five-tool numbers…earning him legitimate prospect status and hardware as the Astros’ farm player of the year. To convince folks that he’s more Joc Pederson than fourth outfielder, Phillips will have to mash when he gets his shot at Double-A, most likely in the second half of 2015.”
If Phillips gets a crack at Double-A in 2015, there is a good chance that we’ll see him in Fresno at some point in 2016, with a chance at being in the majors later that year. The Astros have outfield depth, and lots of it. It will be tough for Phillips to stand out from the crowd, but being a lefty should help his cause.
On Wednesday, Eric will post his interview with Brett Phillips. I’ve read it already and it’s quite entertaining. Who would win a dance-off between Phillips and George Springer? You’ll have to come back to find out.