It is an unfortunate end to Phillips time with the Rangers. A 16th round pick of the Rangers in 2015, Phillips had a breakout 2018 season when he struck out 128 batters against just 14 walks for Hickory. Phillips had success in 2019 as well, putting up a 1.19 ERA in six starts at high-A before moving up to AA Frisco, where he had a 4.73 ERA in 18 appearances.
Phillips was added to the 40 man roster after the 2019 season and spent the 2020 campaign at the Alternate Training Site. He started 2021 with Frisco, getting off to a decent start before landing on the injured list with a sore elbow. He wasn’t as sharp after his return, but was still moved up to AAA Round Rock a month ago in what seemed to be a “sink or swim” evaluation move by the Rangers.
With just one option year remaining after 2021, and with some tough forty man roster decisions looming, Phillips seemed like someone whose roster spot could be in jeopardy, so it wasn’t shocking when he was designated for assignment a week ago when Sam Huff was activated from the 60 day injured list. Phillips relies on command and a very good change up, and righthanded pitchers with that profile often cruise through the lower levels before hitting a wall in AA or AAA.
Best of luck for Phillips going forward. He’s someone I will be pulling for.