CHICAGO -- Scouts have raved about Brett Phillips' 80-grade arm for years, and fans got to see it on display on Thursday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.With White Sox runners at first and third and none out in the fifth, Tim Anderson lifted a fly ball to medium right-center. Phillips
CHICAGO -- Scouts have raved about Brett Phillips' 80-grade arm for years, and fans got to see it on display on Thursday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.
With White Sox runners at first and third and none out in the fifth, Tim Anderson lifted a fly ball to medium right-center. Phillips called for it in front of right fielder Jorge Bonifacio. The 24-year-old, acquired last Friday from the Brewers in the Mike Moustakas trade, made the grab and threw a one-hop strike to home, nailing Leury Garcia, who had tagged and tried to score. The double play kept the score 1-0 Royals.
The Royals went on to lose, 6-4, in the series finale.
Per Statcast™, Phillips' throw from center came in hot at 100.1 mph -- the third-hardest outfield assist in the Majors this season. It's also the hardest outfield throw by a Royal since Statcast™ launched in 2015.
Phillips had a 104-mph throw last year.
"That was my changeup today," he joked. "I was lucky -- it was only 100, but it was on the dot. I just let it eat."
Phillips said he takes great pride in throwing out runners, especially at home plate.
"That's what gets me the most pumped up," he said. "It's not hitting a home run. It's the look on the pitcher's face to see that you saved them a run."
Phillips said he doesn't get too caught up in the velocity of his throws.
"[The Statcast™ numbers] show up on my phone," he said. "It's not something I base my practices on. I just focus on good accurate throws. If it's got velocity on it, it's fine. But if you throw 105 and if it flies into the stands, it doesn't matter."
In the inning after his great throw, Phillips showed off another aspect of his defense. Yolmer Sanchez led off the inning with a shallow flare into center. Phillips charged and laid out to make a diving catch in front of him on a ball with a 47 percent catch probability. According to Statcast™, he sprinted 67 feet in 4.1 seconds to make a four-star catch.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.