Montreal Expos Top 10 Prospects
By Michael Levesque
1. Brandon Phillips, ss
Age: 20. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. Bats: B. Throws: R. Drafted: HSStone Mountain, Ga., 1999 (2nd round). Signed by: Darryl Monroe.
Strengths: Phillips is a potential five-tool player at a premium position. He has a live, athletic body and rare natural ability. Hes an above-average defender at shortstop with soft hands, solid range, superior lateral movement, excellent first-step quickness and a cannon for an arm. He has enough power on his throws to go into the hole and nail runners from short left field. At the plate, he has a line-drive swing and impressive bat speed that projects to produce more power in the future. Phillips uses the whole field, gets deep into counts and has an advanced awareness of the strike zone. He is an average runner with astute baserunning skills.
Weaknesses: Despite Phillips ability to beat teams with his glove, bat or speed, hes still rough around the edges. He made 18 errors in 55 FSL games. Though he cut his errors down to 12 in 67 Double-A contests and was much steadier after his promotion, he still needs to show more consistency with routine plays.
The Future: The Expos have an abundance of slick-fielding shortstops, but Phillips offense separates him from the rest of the pack. Expos officials say he rises to the occasion, so theyll challenge him with a promotion to Triple-A Ottawa, where hell start the 2002 season at age 20. With Orlando Cabrera entrenched in Montreal, Phillips will be given time to develop his skills.
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