The Royals traded Mike Moustakas to the Brewers for prospects OF Brett Phillips and RHP Jorge Lopez.
Brett Phillips, OF
Phillips was drafted in 2012 in the 6th Round of the MLB Draft by the Houston Astros then was traded to the Brewers in the 2015 Carlos Gomez deal. In 2017 with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in the Pacific Coast League Phillips hit .305/.377/.567 with 19 home runs and 78 RBIs. In 2018 with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox Phillips has slumped to .240/.331/.411 with six home runs and 25 RBIs.
Phillips is 24 years old, listed at 6-0, 185. When he’s right he shows substantial power from the left side of the plate but his track record is quite erratic, with wild swings in batting average since reaching the high minors. This is traced to problems with pitch recognition.
Phillips runs well and has a strong arm in the outfield after hitting 104 mph from centerfield.
Phillips has seen time with the major league club in both the 2017 and this season. He’s played in 52 games in the majors and is hitting .257/.331/.413 in 109 at-bats, with 11 walks but 45 strikeouts.
The Royals don’t have much in outfield depth behind veteran Alex Gordon. Brett Phillips is a great addition to the Kansas City Royals. . .not a guaranteed addition, but at least one with some youth and upside. They need to let him play.
Jorge Lopez, RHP
Jorge Lopez was drafted in the 2nd Round in the 2011 MLB Draft out of high school in Puerto Rico. Lopez has been bounced around as a starter and a reliever within the Brewers organization. At times he has pitched brilliantly, with a strong season in 2015 for example (2.26 ERA in 143 innings in Double-A) but his overall track record is very inconsistent. The Brewers converted him to relief in 2017 and he’s spent much of ‘18 in the major league pen, posting a 2.75 ERA in 19.2 innings with a 15/13 K/BB.
Lopez hits the mid-90s out of the bullpen while flashing a hard curveball and change-up. He seems better-suited for the bullpen at this point and at age 25 may benefit from the change of scenery.
Both Phillips and Lopez have their flaws but neither has much left to learn in the minors and deserve full auditions in the second half.