On Friday night Connor Phillips took the mound in Fort Wayne and put together one of the best starts of his career and certainly the best one since he joined the Cincinnati Reds organization just before the start of the 2022 season. The 20-year-old threw 6.0 shutout innings while allowing just three hits. Phillips didn’t walk a single batter and he struck out 10 batters, including 8 of the final 11 hitters he faced in the game.
Phillips was working at the top end of his velocity on the night. In the first five innings of the game he was sitting 96-98 MPH with the pitch. In the final inning for the righty his velocity did dip a little bit, sitting more in the 95-96 range, though he hit 97 a few times. His slider kept hitters guessing all night, and they guessed wrong a lot. He threw 91 pitches in the game with 19 swinging strikes – a season high. Phillips ERA dropped to 3.60 through his 20.0 innings this season. He’s given up just 11 hits, but has walked 12 batters while striking out 31 of the 80 that he’s faced this year.
TJ Hopkins keeps on hitting
No one in the organization has gotten out to a better start at the plate than TJ Hopkins. The outfielder is back in Double-A Chattanooga after playing in 74 games with the Lookouts last year and he’s playing like he wants to get out of Tennessee in a hurry. Last night he hit his 5th home run of the season and drove in four runs. That has boosted his line to .312/.421/.639 with 5 doubles, 5 home runs, 5 steals, and 19 RBI in 17 games to start the year.
A few guys are missing in action that were expected to be in full-season ball when the season began. Christian Roa, the Reds 10th rated prospect, is getting close to returning. He’s been throwing out in Arizona and is expected to be back in a mid-to-late May. Tyler Callihan, the 15th rated prospect injured his hand at the end of spring training. He’s been swinging the bat, but isn’t quite ready yet for games. Ivan Johnson, the team’s 22nd rated prospect, had a hamate injury. He’s expected to be back in a couple of weeks. Jackson Miller, the team’s 2nd round pick from the 2020 draft, is recovering from hernia surgery. He’s struggled to stay healthy since signing, having played in just three games in 2021. It’s not expected for him to see the field until later in the summer