The Brewers have officially traded Carlos Gomez to the Astros. Not only that, but they traded starting pitcher Mike Fiers to Houston as well, which was a bit more unexpected.
Last night, the Brewers almost got Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores. Instead, the Brewers are getting four prospects from a loaded Astros system. The crown jewel of the haul: 21-year-old Brett Phillips, an outfield prospect who has spent the majority of his time in the minors in center field. He's so valuable, in fact, that the Brewers needed to add Fiers to the dealto get Phillips thrown in.
Phillips is in his fourth professional season after being drafted out of high school in the sixth round of the 2012 draft. For his minor league career, he has been an excellent hitter with an overall .298/.371/.491 line. This year he has spent time in both High-A and Double-A and has hit .320/.377/.548 with 16 homers and 15 stolen bases.
In my book, Phillips immediately challenges Orlando Arcia as the top prospect in the Brewers system. Just looking at his numbers, he's shown good pop in his bat and should be able to hit 20+ homers, he's demonstrated a great eye at the plate, a good approach, he can steal a fair amount of bases. Just looking at his numbers, this is a dream type prospect.
Phillips was recently ranked the best prospect in the Astros system by Baseball America. Here's what the publication had to say about him:
The Florida prep star grabbed as a sixth-rounder in GM Jeff Luhnow's first draft in 2012 has certified himself as the organization's top prospect. Questions about his power have vanished in the wake of 15 first-half homers and evaluators peg his arm as plus. At this point, his ceiling is first-division center fielder who's at least an average defender, with power, a 70 arm and a grinder mentality. He was recently promoted to Corpus Christi as the Astros try to better gauge his power and offense in general.
Phillips was also recently ranked as the 39th-best prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com. Before the season -- and remember, he's raised his value even further with a dominant performance thus far -- John Sickels of Minor League Ball rated him a B prospect, saying:
Broad base of tools and skills, hit .310/.375/.529 with 17 homers, 14 triples, 23 steals, 50 walks, 96 strikeouts in 493 at-bats between Low-A and High-A. Fine overall athlete who does a lot of things well, future power development is uncertain but he’s not punchless. Some think he might get stuck as a tweener without more power but overall he has more strengths than weaknesses.
While Phillips doesn't appear to have the same kind of defensive talent Carlos Gomez has (and let's be honest, there's very few people who can touch Gomez in that regard), it's very possible that he can be a five-tool player like Gomez currently is. Phillips throws righty and bats lefty, with a very natural approach at the plate. Though he has a bit of an uppercut in his swing, he's looked quite polished and doesn't try to force anything.
Phillips has spent 243 of 320 career games in center field, so he should be able to stick there. However, he has a great arm that could play in right field if need be. That could be worth noting if someone like, say, Tyrone Taylor breaks out of his slump and re-establishes himself as a top prospect.
Basically, Phillips does everything well. It's possible he won't be great at any one thing, but having balance to be good at so many aspect of the game is extremely valuable, especially in center field. The one question mark people have had was whether he would hit for enough power, but .228 ISO this season should help assuage those fears.
The Brewers are getting an absolute stud prospect in Phillips. It's going to be a lot of fun to watch him develop in the Brewers system.