Here is a look at the top pitching, offensive, and defensive tools from the Midwest League Lansing…
Scouting Blue Jays Prospect #34 Paul Phillips
Name: Paul Phillips
DOB: January 26, 1984
Paul Phillips had a superb season with Class-A Lansing in 2006, and the organization challenged him with a promotion to Double-A New Hampshire and Single-A Dunedin, but the right-handed pitcher did not respond well the first time around.
Phillips dominated the Midwest League in April going 2-0 with three saves and a 1.80 ERA over his first ten innings of the season. He issued four walks, and fanned twelve batters, while holding opponents to a .211 batting average against mark. Over his next thirteen innings, Phillips notched five more saves and continued to mow down batters.
Once June rolled around and Phillips had thrown seven scoreless innings, the organization felt it was time to promote him, and challenged him with a promotion to Double-A. Phillips stayed one week with New Hampshire before he was sent down to Dunedin. During that week he appeared in three games and threw a scoreless inning in two of those games before allowing two runs in 1/3 of an innings in his final game.
His time with Dunedin was filled with inconsistency. After debuting by tossing 3 1/3 scoreless innings over his first three outings, he struggled over his next four by allowing 11 runs over 5 2/3 innings. Phillips rebounded and refocused by tossing 5 1/3 scoreless innings, and fanned 10 batters during that span, but allowed five runs over his next 4 1/3 innings.
The Blue Jays then sent Phillips back down to Lansing to finish off the season.
Phillips was considered an early round pick during his collegiate playing days because of his repertoire and his makeup on the mound, but in 2003 he had labrum surgery on his right arm and that scared scouts and teams away. As a result of the health concerns and his limited pitching late in his collegiate career, Phillips dropped several rounds.
"My arm is stronger than it ever was," the right-hander said. "The rehab went perfect and even better than I could have imagined. Actually my arm is stronger than it was before the surgery and I am pitching better than I was before."
Phillips profiles to be an outstanding reliever because of his competitive side and edge. His will to win and be successful is at a high level and the right-hander is not scared to face any situation on the mound.
Repertoire: Fastball, slider, changeup, forkball
Fastball: Phillips throws his fastball in the 91-94 MPH range. His fastball is not overpowering, but when he combines it with his other pitches, it makes it tougher for hitters to recognize and hit it. Phillips can throw his fastball as high as 96 MPH, but he does not rare back and throw it that fast often.
Secondary Pitches: The right-handed pitchers best pitch is his slider, which he throws in the mid-80s. His slider is a deceptive pitch because it's similar to his fastball and he keeps his mechanics and arm motion consistent. Philllips is working on a forkball/changeup and believes in the future that could end up his best pitch, giving him four-plus pitches in his arsenal. Phillips has always been working on his changeup, but began throwing his forkball after his surgery to reduce stress on his arm.
Projection: Right now, with just two plus pitches, Phillips is projected to be more of a reliever. If he can master his changeup and/or forkball, to give him the extensive repertoire needed, he could fit in as a starter. Phillips prefers to start, but he does not have a real preference – as long as he is on the mound and pitching.
2007 Outlook: Phillips will begin the 2007 season with the Dunedin Blue Jays and will likely finish the year off at Double-A New Hampshire.
ETA: If Phillips remains as a reliever it's likely he will reach the big leagues between late 2008-2009. If the organization decides to convert him to a starter it could stump his acceleration since he will need time to acclimate himself to that role.
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