Reds prospects: Connor Phillips still haunted by old nemesis, Cam Collier hit-streak

The Reds' top prospects have a mix of highs and lows to begin the 2024 season.
Cincinnati Reds minor league player Cam Collier
Cincinnati Reds minor league player Cam Collier / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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The Cincinnati Reds have some top-tier talent in the minor leagues this season. Despite graduating so many young prospects in 2023, the Reds' top minor-league talent is still strong.

With every one of the Reds' minor league affiliates now in action, the Cincinnati faithful can now get a gauge on how well (or how poorly) some of the club's youngsters are doing. Unlike 2023, most of the Reds' top prospects are starting the 2024 season in the lower-levels of the minors.

But one of the Reds top prospects is currently at Triple-A. Unfortunately for Connor Phillips, his 2024 campaign has not started off on the right foot. But another top Reds prospect can't be stopped. How good has Cam Collier been to start the season?

Reds prospects: Connor Phillips' old nemesis is back in 2024

Phillips set out to join the Reds starting rotation this spring, but the influx of talented hurlers made that more of a dream than reality. Cincinnati signed Frankie Montas and Nick Martinez, which made Phillips' inclusion on the Reds Opening Day roster virtually impossible. Throw in Nick Lodolo's return, and there are a few hurdles for Phillips to clear before coming back to the big leagues.

Reds fans will remember (though they'd like to forget) Phillips' brief stay in the majors last season. In one of Cincinnati's most crucial late-season games, Phillips walked the first three St. Louis Cardinals' batters he faced without throwing a single strike. He as then removed from the game by Reds manager David Bell after walking the bases loaded.

On Sunday, Phillips threw just 22 pitches through the first two innings during the Louisville Bats' game against the Columbus Clippers. But things quickly unravelled and Phillips was pulled after throwing 32 pitches in the third inning alone. Phillips' final batter drew a four-pitch walk.

As Reds Country knows all too well, walks will haunt, and that's exactly what Phillips is finding out the hard way in 2024. The right-hander has appeared in three games this spring and has the same number of walks (9) that he does strikeouts. Until Phillips gains better command of the strike zone, he's destined to remain in the minors.

Reds prospects: Cam Collier has 8-game hitting streak

Collier was the Reds first-round draft pick in 2022. A lot was expected from the 18-year-old during his first professional season in 2023. But Collier hit just .246/.349/.356 while playing over 100 games at Low-A Daytona. Collier's struggles saw him drop off of most observer's top-100 prospects list.

But Collier is using that as motivation and has been on a tear to begin the 2024 season. Collier is riding an eight-game hitting-streak with a .353/.371/.559 slash line. While only three of Collier's 12 hits have gone for extra bases, the former first-round pick is seeing the ball very well.

As Reds fans have seen with Elly De La Cruz, sometimes these young prospects just need a little more seasoning. It's easy to forget that Collier just turned 19 years old back in November. Collier has unlimited potential, and appears to be tapping into it as the 2024 season gets underway.

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