Mariners' No. 15 prospect traded to Cincinnati

RHP Phillips the player to be named later in Winker, Suárez trade

March 29th, 2022

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Reds’ return in the trade that sent Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez to Seattle just got a little sweeter, and for the Mariners, they part with another promising pitching prospect.

On Tuesday, the clubs announced right-hander Connor Phillips as the player to be named later from the March 14 trade that netted the two former All-Stars from Cincinnati. Seattle also sent lefty starter Brandon Williamson, its former No. 7 prospect and the headliner in the deal, righty Justin Dunn and outfielder Jake Fraley to Cincinnati in the deal.

Phillips was recently unveiled by MLB Pipeline as the Mariners' No. 15 prospect for the 2022 season.

More than any pitcher in the organization, Phillips is the classic high-risk, high-upside arm that has some scouts marveling and others uncertain. On one hand, the righty had a 32.6% strikeout rate in 2021, and on the other, a 1.477 WHIP. Elite stuff with some command issues has been the profile for the former JUCO pitcher, whom the Mariners liked enough in 2020 to use their Competitive Balance Round B pick on, signing him for a full-slot bonus of just over $1 million.

Per MLB Pipeline scouting reports, Phillips' quick arm yields a fastball velocity in the 92-96 mph range with a peak of 98 mph. His upper-70s curveball has good depth and shows signs of becoming a plus pitch, though he can't always land it for strikes. He also throws a side-to-side slider, which widens his arsenal and gives him starter potential. He'll need to refine his changeup as he faces more advanced hitters.

Phillips’ 13.7% walk rate between Low-A Modesto and High-A Everett last year was a little alarming, and the Mariners had planned to continue pitching him as a starter in 2022, though his profile suggests he could be on a relief track as he carves out a path to the Majors.