Brett Phillips has been making a name for himself on the field with his impressive play, as well as off the field with his electric personality. Phillips has joined some of the very best talents that Minor League Baseball has to offer in the Arizona Fall League for the Salt River Rafters. We caught up with the Milwaukee Brewers star prospect to talk about his experiences playing in the Fall League.
2015 brought an unexpected change for Phillips when the Houston Astros made a trade deadline deal with the Brewers. The deal sent outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitcher Mike Fiers to the Astros and brought Phillips, outfielder Domingo Santana, as well as pitchers Josh Hader and Adrian Houser to Brewers.
Assigned to the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers after the trade, Phillips went through an adjustment period. Like many highly touted prospects, he placed too much pressure on himself and a wrist injury only made the issues worse. Once the ’15 season ended, an assignment in the Arizona Fall League was in the cards, where he continued to hone his craft.
“Last year going into the Fall League I was pretty excited. I get to play with the best talent in the minor leagues. It was a great experience. It was awesome, I loved it. To see the great pitching. The camaraderie.”
His time in the AFL would be cut short after only nine games, as the honor to represent the United States and Team USA Baseball would come calling.
“That was awesome. Getting to go over to Taiwan and Japan was great. It’s a different style of baseball over there. To get to experience that was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Phillips came into the 2016 season looking to build on his experiences in the AFL and with Team USA Baseball. While this year didn’t go as planned, he remained productive at the plate and in the field. With work remaining to complete his preparation for the major leagues, he once again finds himself in the AFL, polishing his game.
“I’m trying to get better at each and every one of my tools.Whether it’s base running, fielding, hitting, I bring a lot of energy, work hard and get better every day.”
His struggles at the plate this year revolved around a rise in strikeouts. An adjustment in his approach at the plate was necessary and Phillips came to Arizona to better prepare for 2017.
“[I’ve been] Working on my approach. I’ve been walking a lot. That’s a matter of me having a better approach. Getting my pitch to hit, not swinging at the pitcher’s pitch. It’s been good.”
Playing in the fall allows players from different organizations to come together and work on skills and socialize with each other. Those things are two of his favorite aspects of the AFL.
“The camaraderie with these guys. It’s very laid back. We have a plan and a certain regiment that we have to go by from our own organization. Here, it’s go out and play and play your own game and let them evaluate you on that.”
With a refined plate approach and another fall league season under his belt, Brett Phillips will continue his march to Milwaukee in 2017.