Orioles Acquire Brett Phillips: Let’s Learn About Him
The Orioles added some outfield depth, acquiring Brett Phillips from the Rays
As part of the trade deadline, the Baltimore Orioles made a flurry of moves, including trading Jorge López to the Minnesota Twins, and Trey Mancini to the Houston Astros. But, as a side effect of the Mancini trade, the Orioles were able to make an addition to the roster, acquiring Brett Phillips from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for cash considerations. Let’s get to know the newest member of the Orioles.
First off, Phillips is one of the most exciting players in baseball. Why is that? Well, aside from the fact that he can change a game with his speed, he’s always open to interacting with fans, constantly sheds light on things that are great for the game and is a great guy to have in the clubhouse, because he’s open and can be a friend with anyone.
Now, let’s dive a little more into that speed I talked about. Watch highlights of his and you can see his speed for yourself, but the analytics really solidify the opinion that Phillips is very fast, making it more factual.
According to Baseball Savant, Phillips’ sprint speed is rated in the 89th percentile, which means when he gets on his horse and starts running, he can run down a lot of balls in the outfield, take extra bases on the basepaths, and steal bases almost at will. His outfield jump is rated even higher, in the 98th percentile. What that means is that when the ball gets hit, Phillips takes a great jump, almost immediately knowing where the ball is going to go, which allows him to take the best route to go and get that ball.
Additionally, Phillips’ outs above average is rated in the 98th percentile, the same as his outfield jump. Basically, outs above average can show how good a defender someone is, and that applies to Phillips. By ranking in the 98th percentile of this stat, Phillips can use his speed to make catches that a lot of guys just don’t make in the outfield, making him a defensive asset. His 10 outs above average this season leads the majors among outfielders.
Now, Phillips has never been a guy that has been strong with the bat, and these numbers are about to show that. So far with the Rays this season, Phillips has a .147 batting average, .225 on base percentage, and .475 OPS. He has five home runs and 14 RBI’s and has stolen seven bases in 75 games to this point.
Baltimore Orioles acquire OF Brett Phillips
His career hitting numbers aren’t much better. Phillips has a career .190 batting average, .276 on base percentage, and .626 OPS. Phillips has hit 28 home runs and driven in 92 runs, adding 36 stolen bases in 346 regular season games over 6 seasons in the majors.
The addition of Phillips can also serve as a long-term addition to the outfield. Phillips is on a $1.4 million contract for this season, but his second arbitration year is next year, and his third arbitration year is in 2024, currently scheduled to hit free agency after the 2024 season. The other Orioles outfielders aren’t impending free agents, so Phillips likely won’t unseat any of them, but it’s good to have a controllable outfielder with defensive upside coming off the bench for a few more years.
If there is ever a game that is out of hand, whether the Orioles are winning by a lot or losing by a lot, Phillips has come into the game as a pitcher. It’s always entertaining to see Phillips pitch, despite the fact that he has a 16.20 ERA in five career innings as a pitcher, four of which have come this year.
The addition of Phillips isn’t expected to shake up too much within the Orioles outfield. He’ll likely come off the bench with Ryan McKenna more often than not, as Austin Hays, Anthony Santander, and Cedric Mullins are pretty firmly entrenched as Baltimore’s starting outfielders. But it is still a good depth move for the Orioles, and it should be treated as such.