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Milwaukee Brewers: Checking in on prospect Brett Phillips

Nov 5, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; East outfielder Brett Phillips of the Milwaukee Brewers during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; East outfielder Brett Phillips of the Milwaukee Brewers during the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Milwaukee Brewers prospect with the best laugh in all of baseball is having a resurgent 2017 in Triple-A Colorado Springs, providing a big turnaround from his down 2016 campaign. With over a month of data to go on, let’s see how Brett Phillips is really doing.

MLBPipeline’s No. 10 Prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers system is off to a hot start this season, slashing .303/.389/.545 with six home runs and 27 RBIs in a loaded Colorado Sky Sox outfield. This is a good sign considering how poorly his 2016 season in Double-A Biloxi was. Brett Phillips posted a .229/.332/.397 line that included 154 strikeouts, which led the Southern League. Even with his struggles, Phillips managed to blast 16 long balls last year.

With Phillips in the outfield, Colorado Springs is off to a 21-9 record. He is second on the team in both home runs and RBIs.

Once ranked among the top 100 prospects in all of baseball, Brett Phillips fell off that list at the beginning of the 2017 season. If he can continue to play like he has through April, he may make a return to the top rankings.

The 22-year-old Phillips was originally acquired as the centerpiece in the Carlos Gomez deal with the Astros. He bats left-handed and offers enough speed to play center and a strong enough throwing arm to play right. On offense, his combination of power, average, and speed could make him a great top-of-the-order hitter as he matures. He has mostly hit out of the five-spot in the lineup at Triple-A, but he projects as a solid #2 hitter at the Major League level.

His throwing arm is his best tool with scouts giving it a 70-grade (on the 20-80 scale). Phillips also has a speed rating of 60 and fielding rating at 55.  MLBPipeline projects Phillips to reach the Major League roster next season. However, if he can continue the tear he’s on, he could be up with the Brewers in late 2017.

His long term fit is likely in right field, where his cannon arm is better suited and because Lewis Brinson will likely lock down the center field position. Phillips features as the starting right fielder almost every day with the Sky Sox this season.

Playing in the high-altitude at Colorado Springs may have some effect on Phillips’ offensive resurgence, but he has been able to hit above .300 at each stop where he got at least 100 at-bats since 2013. The only exception was last season at Biloxi.

Phillips has a bright future ahead of him, and is only in his age-22 season. Barring a rash of injuries in the Major League outfield, the earliest we would see him is a September. A full, productive year at Triple-A would benefit Phillips as it would finish his development as a prospect.

Next: Is It Time To Call Up Lewis Brinson?

There might be a few openings in the Milwaukee Brewers outfield in 2018, and Phillips appears ready to claim one of those spots.

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