When the Cincinnati Reds lost Hunter Greene and Ben Lively to injuries, shortening the starting staff to a four-man rotation, speculation began on who the fifth starter could be.
Reds fans immediately called to mind Connor Phillips, the player to be named later in last springs trade with the Seattle Mariners, had been completely dominant in Double-A. Why not just skip Triple-A altogether?
This type of move isn't common within the Reds organization and the club instead opted to avoid fast-tracking Phillips to the big leagues. Phillips, along with infielder Noelvi Marte, was promoted to Triple-A Louisville this past week. Phillips debut, however, was anything but spectacular.
Reds prospect Connor Phillips shows why he's not quite ready for the big leagues.
Connor Phillips Triple-A debut began with an almost perfect first inning, as he issued one walk and struck out one batter.
But after securing the first out of his second inning of work, the game went downhill very quickly for Phillips. The young right-hander proceeded to walk four of the next six batters, allowing a hit along the way as well.
After his third consecutive walk, including two with the bases loaded, Phillips was pulled from the game by Louisville Bats manager Pat Kelly, ending his night after recording just five outs.
So what went wrong? Connor Phillips, while he records a lot of strikeouts, has a bit of a control issue, as evidenced by his career 5.1 career walks per nine innings pitched.
Phillips also had the luxury of using the pre-tacked baseballs while pitching in the Southern League at Double-A Chattanooga. This ball may have played into Phillips improved command in 2023, but may have been a shock to his system during his first Triple-A start.
There's no excuse for Connor Phillips to walk five batters in two innings, but that shouldn't been seen as the typical version that fans of the Cincinnati Reds hope to see when the 22-year-old finally makes his major league debut; which could be sooner than we think.