6. Connor Phillips, Reds starting pitcher
Now things begin to get interesting. Connor Phillips, who came to the Cincinnati Reds as part of the return for Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez in 2022, may have the best pure stuff in the entire organization.
Reds players were raving about Phillips' fastball this past spring in Goodyear, and the coaching staff knew full-well that the right-hander would soon make his mark in the big leagues. It doubtful, however, that anyone thought Phillips was coming to The Show in 2023.
Phillips pitched very well at Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville, and a flurry of injuries at the end of the season forced the Reds to add the 22-year-old to the 40-man roster.
Cincinnati was in a playoff hunt, and with pitchers like Hunter Greene, Ben Lively, and Brandon Williamson placed on the COVID-19-related injured list, it became necessary to give Phillips a shot.
The young prospect showed why the Reds' coaches are so high on him. Despite his youth, Phillips showed a level of maturity on the mound beyond his years. Unfortnately for Phillips, his final outing of the season lasted just three batters, and after walking the bases loaded, he was removed from the game.
Connor Phillips had a cup of coffee in the big leagues this past season, and could very well be in the conversation for NL Rookie of the Year next season. On the flip side, a free agent addition or two during the offseason could see Phillips return to Triple-A for the first-half of 2024.