Is Connor Phillips' nightmare 2023 start still haunting the Reds prospect in 2024?

What has happened to Connor Phillips?
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Connor Phillips
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Connor Phillips / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The St. Louis Cardinals broke Connor Phillips. No, Phillips was not on the mound for the Cincinnati Reds' most recent series loss to the Cards this past week, but his last action in the major leagues came last September in St. Louis.

In desperation, the Reds turned to Phillips to help keep their playoff hopes alive during the second-to-last game of the 2023 season. Phillips, who was coming off just his fourth major league start, lasted only three batters.

The right-hander walked the first three Cardinals' hitters on 12 straight balls out of strike zone. Manager David Bell lifted Phillips from the game and Cincinnati went on to lose 15-6; eliminating any chance of the Reds making a run at the postseason.

Is Connor Phillips' nightmare start in 2023 still haunting the Reds prospect in 2024?

It's been all downhill for Phillips since that fateful day last fall. The former Seattle Mariners farmhand has been a shell of the pitcher who ascended into the top-100 prospect rankings this past offseason, and fans are beginning to wonder if Phillips will ever make it back to the big leagues.

Phillips is currently pitching for the Reds' Triple-A affiliate in Louisville, and the results have been shocking. Phillips is 2-2 with a monstrous 8.42 ERA. Phillips has more walks (39) than strikeouts (35) and has allowed batters to to smack him around early and often this season. The 23-year-old has allowed the opposition to hit .302 against him and has watched nine balls leave the yard.

Reds fans will remember Phillips as the player to be named later in the preseason trade with the Mariners in 2022. Being the 64th-overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, Phillips was not your average PTBNL, but he sure is playing like that this season.

Reds prospect Connor Phillips continues to be haunted by walks

Walks have always been an issue for Phillips, which is why many scouts see him ultimately finding a home in the bullpen. But an 18.6% walk rate is unsustainable, and there's no way Cincinnati will recall Phillips back to the active roster with control issues like that.

If you're trying to find a silver lining, there doesn't seem to be one in sight at the moment. There is Brandon Williamson's presence on the 40-man roster, which should alleviate the Reds' need to call-up Phillips in the event of an emergency this season.

Phillips needs to spend the entire season down in the minor leagues and continue to hone his craft. Even a trip back to Double-A or even the Reds' training complex in Arizona might do Phillips some good. He looks totally lost at Triple-A this season.

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