Tyler Phillips Home Debut
I was able to get out to Frisco on a blustery Monday night 5/20/19 for Tyler Phillips home debut after making his Double-A debut in Corpus on May 14th. And I remind all readers—I am not a scout of any kind—although there were several of those I attendance last night, as well as Michael Young-but I have played a lot, watched a lot, coached a lot. So here is what I saw.
Phillips is listed at 6’5” and 230. He is only 21 years old. And from I saw Monday night, there is a reason he was named the Nolan Ryan Rangers Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Through his 6.1 innings pitched he looked composed and confident and at ease. Really fun guy to watch pitch, and importantly someone comfortable being on the mound without being cocky.
The Rough Riders Media Notes report a 3-pitch repertoire of Fastball, Changeup, and Curveball. Watching in the bullpen warmup he actually throws 4 pitches.
Looked to me like a 4-seamer and 2-seamer/cutter that can offer 2 speeds and movement. The changeup is more of a split/change rather than the “traditional” circle change. And the grip may have contributed to one area of struggle in the game-changeup command. This is not an easy pitch to throw correctly but it can be incredibly effective. And then he throws a true curveball, or because of grip some say “knucklecurve.” Grip may vary but the effect is the same.
Quick stats: 6.1 innings pitched (looked like pitch count as Coach Mik headed right out after a single on pitch 88; 6 hits (1 HR, 1 2B), 2 runs, 6 K, 0 BB, 1 HBP, took the L-but I don’t like W/L stat, 88 total pitches.
I don’t have totals balls and strikes and misses—maybe next time.
Generally speaking, his fastball command looks solid and he moved the ball up and down in the zone and utilized the 4-seamer and 2-seam/cutter.
4-Seamer clocking in 92-94 mph. 2-Seamer 89-90 mph.
Obviously I can’t see every grip so I am making some assumption on pitch selection based on the radar in the stadium and pitch observation on my part.
I was about 4 rows back just to the first base side of home plate.
The changeup was the difference maker for Phillips on this night. He gave up 2 runs on a opposite field HR to Chase Calabuig. He hung a changeup on the outer half and it ended up on the roof of the Diamond Deck in LF.
However, I did mention blustery night. The ball seemed more lifted out and up on the wind. The pitch looked like a mistake and he paid the price. However, when the changeup was kept down it was very effective. My albeit frantic charting recorded 3 of the 6 K’s on swinging changeups. All of them below the strike zone. Curveball was excellent and seemed to get more control as the game progressed.
2 of the 6 K’s were looking on curveballs.
I think part of the effectiveness of the curveball is that is seems to a pitch that has grown out of fashion. Batters are not used to seeing that much break. He could throw it into the zone for a strike or bury in the dirt.
Phillips seemed to have solid confidence in 3 of his 4 pitches. As he can develop control with the changeup, this guy is going to be solid. He seemed unfazed by the 88 pitches and hung out in the dugout after coming out of the game. Last 2 pitches were fastballs at 91 and 89. I think we all need to bear in mind he is still young at 21 and learning the craft and execution of pitches, but for a guy pitching for only the second time at his highest promoted level, Phillips was confident and effective with 4 different pitches. But if you don’t get to Frisco to see him pitch soon, you might miss him because he will be going places. Hopefully as a Ranger and not for a team that was up in section 114 scouting him.
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Andy Maher is a lifelong baseball fan. University of Iowa grad. Watcher of Frisco Rough Riders. Coacher of 16U players. Player of 1860’s rules baseball.