The Houston Astros promoted outfield prospect Brett Phillips from Lancaster in the High-A California League to Corpus Christi in the Double-A Texas League last night. He should be in the starting lineup as the Hooks take on Texas Rangers prospect Jose Leclerc and the Frisco RoughRiders in Corpus Christi this evening.
Phillips is one of the top prospects in the robust Astros farm system. A sixth round pick in 2012 from high school in Seminole, Florida, Phillips is a left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower born May 30, 1994. Listed at 6-0, 175, he was having an outstanding season for the JetHawks, hitting .320/.379/.588 with 15 homers, 22 walks, and 64 strikeouts in 291 at-bats this spring.
Scouts respected Phillips for his athleticism and defensive ability from his high school days but had questions about his bat. He didn't hit much in his first two seasons but broke out in 2014, hitting .310/.375/.529 last year between Low-A and High-A. He has done a good job smoothing out his swing mechanics since high school and physical maturity has added more power to the package.
He does have fairly significant platoon splits and his strikeout rate is a bit higher than ideal, but the general consensus is that his progress over the last two years is real. However, Lancaster in particular and the California League in general are very good hitting environments so his transition to more difficult surroundings in the Texas League will be illuminating.