With Ryan Braun on the disabled list, the Milwaukee Brewers have been playing with just two true outfielders on their 25-man roster — Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana.
The Brewers chose to address that shortage -- at least for the next few days — by calling up Brett Phillips from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Phillips is replacing Travis Shaw on the 25-man roster, who is taking paternity leave. According to MLB rules, players on the paternity list must miss at least one game, but no more than three.
Phillips went through a very poor 2016 season in Double-A Biloxi last year, causing him to slide down the Brewers’ various prospect rankings. He came into 2017 ranked 10th in the system by MLB Pipeline, 11th by John Sickels and 15th by Fangraphs. Baseball Prospectus ranked him 6th, which was a slightly controversial decision at the time.
He’s responded in a big way this year, though, hitting .297/.369/.589 (.957 OPS) with 11 home runs in 49 games for the Sky Sox. As usual, offensive numbers with Colorado Springs should be taken with a grain of salt, but he’s also hit well away from the altitude this year:
Phillips is batting .286/.349/.531 on the road this season.— BadgerNoonan (@BadgerNoonan) June 5, 2017
Defensively, Phillips has a very strong arm and is capable of filling in at all three positions in the outfield. With Shaw being out for the next few days, it’s reasonable to assume the Brewers wanted to call up an outfielder with the idea of playing Hernan Perez at third.
This will likely be a short stay for Phillips on the big league roster (unless the decision is made to DFA Nick Franklin upon Shaw’s return), but he does represent the first promotion in what could be the next big wave of Brewers prospects. At the risk of inflating the significance here, the call-up is another milemarker for the rebuild, and one that could symbolize the turning of a corner.
As Kyle mentioned earlier today, we should be safely past the Super Two cutoff date, so Phillips may not be the only prospect we see getting the call soon.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference