A talented two-sport athlete, Phillips appears to be a tough sign. Not only is he a high school guy going down in the draft, but there is a chance he goes to NC State as a football guy.
If he does sign, Houston gets a very intriguing upside guy who will need to develop. If you're ranking his skills right now, you start with his arm, which is very good. Then, you talk about his overall defense, which is borne out of his athleticism in the outfield.
One of the reasons why Phillips lasted this long is he was a late-bloomer of sorts. He just didn't pop up on many radars until late in the process. That affected where he went, but may not affect his bonus demands.
The bat is the biggest question, but there are good tools there. You could see him developing nicely at the plate with that swing, as it's not complicated and he's got good hands, but just average bat speed.
Overall, this is a nice pick. It's not a home run like some are, but there's talent here to suggest a player who could become better than a typical sixth-rounder. If they can get him signed away from college, he'll be an asset that you might forget about for a year or two in the system before he pops at Lancaster in 2015.
Did I mention his middle name is Maverick? With his defensive tool set, his nickname is one of the easiest I've come up with in a while...Good luck in the system, Top Gun. Andrew Aplin will also be called Goose from here on out...
You worry about the bat first, but his defense should play. I still think there's a chance his floor is in the lower levels of the minor leagues.
Maybe Jordan Scott?
EDIT: Okay, what I meant by that is that Scott's ceiling and Phillips' were similar, in that they're both toolsy guys who can play in center and could move quickly. Scott, obviously, is struggling this season, but coming into this year, he had impressed a lot of people.
So, if I were picking a ceiling, let's go with Brian Bogusevic, a guy who's defense and athleticism got him to the majors and his bat will determine how long he stays there.
Will he sign?
That's the tough part. His slot is somewhere around $250,000, and I imagine it'll take more than that to get him out of his scholarship. How much more is the question.
Bibliography after the jump
Phillips has a sound swing with low, deep hands and a direct bat path. His lefty stroke has some looseness to it and he sprays liners all over the diamond but will likely never have even average power. He doesn't have a lot of room left for projection and has 35 current raw power with a contact approach. Phillips hasn't seen a lot of velocity and his balance and feet can get messy at the plate, so he will be a development prospect but he hung in against good velocity at Sebring and scouts like his chances to improve with outstanding makeup and a football mentality.
Phillips' best current tools are his plus speed and plus arm and he uses both now to impact the game in the outfield and on the bases. He was a late commitment to North Carolina State but should be gone by the end of the third round and is expected to turn pro.
This North Carolina State commit stands out for his defense. Phillips has plus, plus arm strength, above average speed and good outfield actions. His arm will play anywhere in the outfield and he could be a defensive weapon in center or either of the corners. At the plate, he has solid hands and average bat speed with a quick swing. He shows gap power, with loft at times. Phillips' swing is simple from the left side and he uses a pullback load to generate a line-drive swing plane. He's never going to be a big power guy, but his swing is short and compact and he could add some more pop as he fills out his frame.
Saturday morning’s workout session began with the 60-yard dash, and Phillips covered the distance in a respectable 6.76 seconds, 11th quickest among the hundreds from three concurrent showcase events that ran it. That performance led directly to Phillips’ biggest moment under the bright Florida sunshine.
At the outfield throw velocity workout, Phillips fired a throw from right field to home plate that reached 96 mph on the gun, the top reading among all the outfielders at the event. While it wasn’t anywhere close to the World Showcase event record 101 mph throw recorded by Jarred Cosart in 2008, it was decidedly stronger than the second-place 93 mph throws turned in by Jorge Fernandez (2012, Puerto Rico) and Joey Curletta (2012, Phoenix).