When Brett Phillips came to the Royals from the Brewers in a trade for Mike Moustakas in 2018, he was an instant crowd favorite. He hustled all over the field. He went diving for line drives. He crashed into walls to make catches. He laughed weirdly. He wielded a funny looking Axe handled bat, but he could barely hit his way out of a wet paper sack.
He started his Royals career on July 29, 2018 playing against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium, and went 0-3 with a strike out. That would be a familiar line for Brett as he struggled through the rest of the 2018 season. He would play in 36 games for the Royals and collect only 21 hits (eight extra base hits) while striking out a whopping 50 times. He would finish the season slashing .188/.252/.313.
Even with his mighty struggles in 2018, fans were expecting to see him roaming the friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium’s center field beginning on Opening Day 2019. That did not happen. Brett started the season with the AAA Omaha Storm Chasers and has yet to be called up to the Royals. It is probably a good thing that Brett has been in Omaha all season as his struggles at the plate continued for the first couple months of the season.
Between April 4th and June 3rd, Brett’s batting average never got above .200 except for the first game of the season. On June 4th, Brett finally saw himself pass the Mendoza line with a .201 batting average. During that time Brett had a few things going well for him. His fielding is still major league worthy, and he was near the top of the league in walks. Brett took 31 walks between April 4th and June 3rd, including eight games where he walked multiple times, which helped him carry a .339 OBP.
Since June 4 there has been no stopping Brett. His batting average has continued to rise up to .243 and his OBP has gone up to .384 as of July 20. This may not sound like much of an increase, but check out the difference between April/May and June/July:
And then there is his monthly OPS:
As of July 20th, Phillips continues to be on a roll, which includes continuing to take his walks. He is third in the PCL in walks with 58. On the other hand, he is also the team leader and near the top of the league leaders in strike outs with 94. The good news is that since June 4 he has only struck out 29 times compared to 65 times between April 4 and June 3. Brett Phillips continues to up his game, and has proclaimed that the Royals have fixed him. If you don’t believe me, just look at what he has to say:
The story does not end there though. Just ask Richard Lovelady who replied to Brett with:
Photo Credits: John Sleezer – KC Star