The Phillies announced they’ve designated minor league righty Tyler Phillips for assignment. The move clears space on the 40-man roster for utilityman Luke Williams, who has been activated from the COVID-19 injured list. Outfielder Mickey Moniak was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to open active roster space for Williams.
Phillips joined the Philadelphia organization in July, when they added him via waiver claim from the Rangers. He’d spent his entire career up to that point with Texas, who drafted him in 2015. Phillips posted quality numbers throughout much of his low minors tenure, but he struggled a bit upon reaching Double-A two years ago and was knocked around in his first four Triple-A appearances this season.
The Phillies assigned Phillips to Double-A Reading after adding him, but he was tagged for nine runs (eight earned) in 11 1/3 frames of work in that hitter-friendly setting. 2021 has been a struggle for Phillips no matter where he’s pitched, as he’s managed just a 6.13 ERA over 39 2/3 total minor league frames. That has come with subpar strikeout and walk rates, as the 23-year-old has punched out 22.7% of batters faced while issuing walks at an elevated 12.7% clip.
Obviously, things haven’t gone as planned for Phillips this season. But he’s not far removed from being seen as a potential back-end starter by public prospect evaluators. Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs ranked him 29th in the Rangers’ system this May, projecting Phillips to overcome fringy raw stuff because of potential plus-plus command.
Indeed, Phillips had doled out free passes to only 4.6% of opponents in his career entering this season, making his sudden strike-throwing woes quite perplexing. It’s certainly not of the question he could again find that kind of feel for locating and reemerge as a decent prospect. The Phillies will place him on outright or release waivers in the coming days.