Brett Phillips

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Brett Maverick Phillips

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Biographical Information[edit]

Outfielder Brett Phillips was selected by the Houston Astros in the 6th round of the 2012 amateur draft, out of high school. The scout was John Martin.

After a couple of unremarkable seasons in 2012 and 2013, he emerged in 2014 when he hit .310/.375/.529 in 130 games between the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Midwest League and the Lancaster JetHawks of the California League. His season included a lot of extra bases: 29 doubles, 14 triples and 17 homers. He scored 87 runs and drove in 68. He began 2015 with Lancaster and continued to hit well, with a .320 average in 66 games. On June 25th, he was promoted to the AA Corpus Christi Hooks and continued to rake as in 31 games, his batting average was .321. Now considered one of the top prospects in a very loaded Astros system (#6 according to Baseball America entering 2015), he was packaged in a trade with three other prospects - Domingo Santana, Josh Hader and Adrian Houser - to the Milwaukee Brewers on July 30th, in return for OF Carlos Gomez and P Mike Fiers.

He represented the United States in the 2015 Premier 12.

He made his major league debut with Brewers in June of 2017 and hit his first major league homer a month later, in what was already his third call-up by the Brewers, in memorable circumstances on July 16th. He came in to pinch-hit for Matt Garza with one on and two outs in the bottom of the 5th. He drove a pitch from Jeremy Hellickson into the stands to give his team a temporary 2-1 lead.

On July 27, 2018, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals along with P Jorge Lopez in return for 3B Mike Moustakas. Two years later, on August 27, 2020, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league infielder Lucius Fox.

As a bit player for the Rays, he made a career-defining play in Game 4 of the 2020 World Series on October 24th, when he ended the game with a two-out single in the bottom of the 9th inning off Kenley Jansen of the Los Angeles Dodgers that led to two runs after a series of bizarre errors, turning a 7-6 deficit into an improbable 8-7 win. Completely over the moon, Phillips ran around the infield imitating an airplane for along stretch and had to be reanimated afterwards, as he had made him himself completely out of breath celebrating his unlikely feat of heroism. He had gone completely under the radar since his acquisition, as a sometimes defensive substitute in the outfield and occasional pinch-runner, before his meeting with destiny. In 2021, he was part of the Rays' regular rotation of outfielders, appearing alongside Randy Arozarena, Kevin Kiermaier and Manuel Margot and playing in 118 games. In spite of batting just .206 and striking out 113 times in 253 at-bats, his OPS+ was 105, thanks to 33 walks and an inordinate amount of power when he did connect, as he hit 9 doubles, 4 triples and 13 homers and drove in 44 runs. He also went 14 for 17 in the stolen base department and played excellent defense, making him a very valuable bench player overall. However, he was left off the team's postseason roster.

In addition to his work in the outfield, Phillips has been used a few times as a mystery pitcher. In his first appearance, in an 11-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on July 2, 2021, he provided some comic relief with his assortment of eephus pitches, but also mixing in the occasion fastball in the mid-90s. In his second one, on April 11, 2022, he made a genuinely outstanding defensive plays, running from the mound to the front of the third base dugout and sliding on his back to catch a foul pop-up off the bat of Seth Brown of the Oakland Athletics. He did give up a grand slam to Sheldon Neuse later in the inning - not that it mattered much as the Rays lost the game, 13-2, and he only pitched two innings to spare his team's bullpen in a lost cause after starter Luis Patino had to leave the game early due to an injury. On May 11th, he played a supporting role in the Rays' 12-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on rookie Reid Detmers' no-hitter, Brett came closest to breaking the bid when his ground ball in the 7th inning deflected off the glove of 1B Jared Walsh and was ruled an error - but could just as easily have been called a hit. He was then called to pitch the 8th with his team trailing 8-0 after five pitchers had already taken the mound; he gave up 4 more runs in his inning of work, including homers to Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. On August 1st, he was designated for assignment when the Rays acquired OF José Siri in a traded, and the following day he was sold to the Baltimore Orioles; he was hitting .147 in 75 games.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Mandy Bell: "Phillips won't be playing -- he'll be coaching: Outfielder left off Rays' ALDS roster but still bringing energy, enthusiasm", mlb.com, October 7, 2021. [1]
  • Adam Berry: "When Brett Phillips pitches, expect hijinks", mlb.com, April 11, 2022. [2]
  • Adam Berry: "'Chloe, you're an inspiration': Phillips homers for young fan", mlb.com, April 13, 2022. [3]

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