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Montreal Expos Top 10 Prospects

By Michael Levesque

1. Brandon Phillips, ss

Age: 20. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. Bats: B. Throws: R. Drafted: HS–Stone Mountain, Ga., 1999 (2nd round). Signed by: Darryl Monroe.

Expos Top Prospects

1992 Wil Cordero, ss
1993 Cliff Floyd, 1b/of
1994 Cliff Floyd, 1b/of
1995 Ugueth Urbina, rhp
1996 Vladimir Guerrero, of
1997 Vladimir Guerrero, of
1998 Brad Fullmer, 1b
1999 Michael Barrett, 3b/c
2000 Tony Armas, rhp
2001 Donnie Bridges, rhp

Background: The Expos have raved about Phillips’ ability since they selected him in the second round of the 1999 draft. Their enthusiasm remained strong after he hit .242-11-72 at low Class A Cape Fear in 2000, and he justified it in 2001, when he made impressive strides with his strike-zone judgment. Phillips needed just 55 games at high Class A Jupiter to equal his walk total from the previous season and was rated the Florida State League’s third-best prospect. He joined Double-A Harrisburg in midseason, becoming the Senators’ first teenage player since Ugueth Urbina in 1993. Phillips headed to the Arizona Fall League after the season and batted .344 while playing second base, shortstop and third base on a Scottsdale team that also featured top infield prospects Angel Berroa (Royals) and Orlando Hudson (Blue Jays).

Strengths: Phillips is a potential five-tool player at a premium position. He has a live, athletic body and rare natural ability. He’s 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, he’s 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 they’ll challenge him with a promotion to Triple-A Ottawa, where he’ll start the 2002 season at age 20. With Orlando Cabrera entrenched in Montreal, Phillips will be given time to develop his skills.

Harrisburg (AA).2982653579190736124213
Jupiter (A).2841943655122423384517

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