Phelps’ Defense Earns Him Spot with Orioles
By Mike Franz
Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Manny Machado heading to the disabled list because of the injury he sustained last Monday allowed Cord Phelps to make the move from Triple-A up to the Majors. Although Phelps’ time with Baltimore may be limited with Machado’s DL stint ending soon, it is always nice to see a Minor Leaguer make it up to the Show.
This is not Phelps’ first time playing in the MLB however. From 2011 to 2013, Phelps played 53 games with the Indians. In that time, he batted .159 with five extra-base hits and 11 RBIs. The 2008 Indians draft pick was placed on waivers after the 2013 season because of his lack of production in the Major Leagues.
The Baltimore Orioles quickly claimed him off of waivers on November 20th, 2013. On December 9th of last year, Phelps was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk.
This career .280 hitter in the Minors was having his worst season of his Minor League career this year when the Orioles purchased the contract of the infielder. In Norfolk this season, he was batting .258 with 23 extra-base hits and 59 strikeouts.
So why did Buck Showalter decide to recall Phelps from Triple-A when he could have gone with a player like Christian Walker or Dariel Alvarez who have a better track record at the plate?
The answer is simple: DEFENSE!
Phelps is a utility player who can play pretty much anywhere you need him. First base, second base, shortstop, third base, outfield– Phelps can play them all and play them all well.
First base (5 games): 1.000 fielding percentage
Second base (31 games): 1.000 fielding percentage
Shortstop (4 games): .941 fielding percentage
Third base (28 games): .970 fielding percentage
Outfield (31 games): 1.000 fielding percentage
It is easy to see why Buck likes Phelps. The 27-year-old got his first chance to play in an Orioles uniform in Saturday’s 6-0 loss to coincidentally, the Indians. Phelps pinch hit for Jonathan Schoop in the ninth inning, but he grounded out in his only at-bat of the game. Although he could not extract revenge on his old team, hopefully Phelps will stick around long enough to get his first Major League hit as a Baltimore Oriole.