The Chattanooga Lookouts are having themselves a fine season. They currently find themselves in first place as they begin the final week of the first half and there’s a playoff spot on the line. Last week they got some big time help from Rece Hinds and Connor Phillips to help keep that going and the Southern League took notice, naming Rece Hinds the Player of the Week in the League and Connor Phillips the Pitcher of the Week in the league.

For the second week in a row it was Connor Phillips being named as the Southern League Pitcher of the Week. This past week he made two starts against the Rocket City Trash Pandas and allowed two runs in 12.0 innings on 10 hits, one walk, and he struck out 20 batters.

Those two starts were just a continuation of the turn-around that Phillips has been on. In his first seven starts of the season he had 17 walks and 52 strikeouts in 31.1 innings pitched to go with a 4.02 ERA. Tons of strikeouts, but he was walking too many hitters still – something that’s followed him throughout his career. But on May 20th he walked just one batter and struck out 13 against Biloxi and he hasn’t looked back. In six starts, including that one, since he’s thrown 32.2 innings with seven walks and 57 strikeouts while posting a 2.48 ERA for the Lookouts.

Last week started with a bang for Rece Hinds. He started the week by hitting two home runs against Rocket City and one of them was a walk-off home run in the 10th inning. The outfielder then homered in the next four games, extending his home run streak to six. When the week was over he had gone 8-21 (.381) with six homers, four walks, and six strikeouts. He hit .381/.500/1.238 – good for an OPS of 1.738.

It began a week before, but Hinds really started making more contact in the last two weeks. Since June 9th he’s struck out six times in 37 plate appearances (16%). Prior to that he had struck out in 43% of his plate appearances on the year. Hinds followed a similar path, though not quite to this extreme, last season, when as the season progressed he began to cut down his strikeout rate. Keep an eye on it as the season continues.

Here are the other Players of the Week this season from the farm system:

  • Andrew Abbott – Southern League – April 10-16
  • Blake Dunn – Midwest League – April 24-30
  • Noelvi Marte – Southern League – May 1-7
  • Matt McLain – International League – May 1-7
  • Noelvi Marte – Southern League – May 16-21
  • Tommy Eveld – Southern League – May 22-28
  • Christian Encarnacion-Strand – International League – June 5-11
  • Connor Phillips – Southern League – June 5-11
  • Rece Hinds – Southern League – June 13-18
  • Connor Phillips – Southern League – June 13-18

31 Responses

  1. Jonathan

    Bring up Conner Phillips to the Reds to at least start and throw 1-4 innings of work. they need SPs right now. Would rather do that than trade prospect depth for a established Starter. Any “good” starter will take a lot of prospect capital which I would hope the Reds don’t do.

    How does Conner Phillips compare to Luis Castillo in 2017 in AA?

    • Zach

      Castillo had better control primarily with a low walk rate, while Phillips has the edge in strikeouts. Consequently, Castillo was able to work later into games. Phillips will need to attack the zone more to succeed at higher levels. The Reds needs starters that can complete 6 innings regularly. The bullpen won’t be able to last forever at its current clip.

      Castillo (AA 14 starts):
      Innings/9= 5.72 innings
      ERA= 2.58
      BB9= 1.5
      SO9= 9.1

      Phillips (AA 13 starts):
      Innings/9= 4.92 innings
      ERA= 3.23
      BB9= 3.4
      SO9= 15.3

      Phillips may receive a spot start before years end if the injury bug continues to strike their starting pitching. Very encouraging performances in the past 3 starts.

    • AC

      What they really don’t need is another starter pitching 1-4 innings. Kid’s had a few good starts in a row, and is young for the league. Let’s let him grow.

    • Mike

      He certainly needs a shot at Louisville, at least. Gotta see what he can do without the pre-tack ball. And we’re going to have to give up something to get something. That’s why we have the minor league depth we’ve been building

  2. Tom

    Phillips BABIP last year in AA was .378, this year it is .369. Seems odd.

  3. Stock

    I agree with Jonathan Phillips need to be in the show for his next start. As Doug pointed out above he has made steps the last month or so and no longer needs to be in Chattanooga

    • DaveCT

      Stock, I just can’t see the Reds doing it, however. First, given the Lookouts are going for the first half title, and, second, my assumption is he is sent to AAA to see where he is at there, similar to Abbott. But … once he passes that test, I would bet he’ll be up in a hurry.

  4. Optimist

    They’re getting into a curiously good position. Aside from Joey they have no superstars/MVP level MLBers. Yet. Lots of talk about trading at the deadline, and buying in the off season, but they’ll also need another year of performance to confirm which, if any, of these guys are highest level MLB players. AND, keep the farm stocked – promote aggressively, and trade prospects for more prospects, when available, but they’re not quite in the go-for-it-all position – maybe this time next year looking forward a few seasons.

    No expensive rentals this season, nor even a top prospect for 2-3 years of proven MLB talent. That’s for next year.

      • Tom

        One framework would be to let player’s agents know if they’re player is important to the franchise they need to sign an extension before year 4 or 5, or expect to be on the trade market. Trades may or may not happen after that point but everyone might come to expect the rumors.

      • Tom

        The idea being 1) stay transparent with the players so they don’t feel jaded or surpised by trades 2) continue to do what has gotten them here, which is investing heavily in young talent.

        As for this year, I tend to disagree Optimist, they should think and act like the opportunity will never look the same. Help this team this year. Greene, Lodolo, Abbott is a pretty good short series rotation. Phillips is the kind of wild card that can carry a postseason, especially if he’s new to the league. The talent is here now…

        I’m most in favor to adding a few salary dump vets for the bullpen and rotation for your Eric Jagailo, Rookie Davis level prospects. And don’t wait, just do something as soon as possible to see how it works.

    • Optimist

      I don’t think we disagree Tom – I’d trade almost anyone below the top-15 prospects on Doug’s list – just keep the top prospects for next season’s activity. And, aside from Joey, be willing to trade anyone over age 30.

      I just don’t think they’re quite in the position where 1 rental acquisition (in this case of a starter) is enough to push them deep into the playoffs. IOW – don’t trade a top prospect to win a few wild card games.

      They’ll either be healthy enough to round out the season, or falter such that a top-level rental wouldn’t have mattered.

      Very affordable relievers should be available, and if they can catch another Lively type do it.

      Just none of the top-15.

      • Tom

        Makes sense to me, I think hoarding young talent will pay off and extend the window. I always will remember the “peaks and valleys” gaffe and what he really tried to say. Krall and ownership want to be good to great every year. I think a few rental players could be all it takes to win a WS. We’ve seen many average rotations pull it off. Just need a nudge in that direction. Probably another high end reliever would be key. Is Antone coming back this year?

    • Redsvol

      I totally agree with this @Optimist. Lets enjoy this ride – maybe even make the playoffs with it. A playoff game or 2 in Cincinnati would be a nice reward to the fan base. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. In the modern era, starting pitching is everything in the playoffs. We aren’t competing with the Dodgers or Padres or Braves pitching staffs in a 5 or 7 game series. We just don’t have the pitching.

      And there is no need to trade any of the young players yet because payroll is projected to be about ~30$M next year.

      The only caveat to this would be if they could get a decent veteran starting pitcher that would be cost-controlled for another 2-3 years due to a salary dump – then I say we’d have to look into a trade. We have room to absorb salary if the prospect price isn’t too terrible.

  5. Andrew

    In other news,years DFAd. Quite a few on here claimed there was no way the front office would do that, yet here we are

    • Mike

      Yeah, I’m not a fan of that move. If you want to put the best 25-26 man roster you can, just the potential for Myers’ bat puts him on it. Fairchild, bless his heart, is a AAAA player, who is proven poor at making consistent contact.

      • Andrew

        It’s not 2016 – Myers potential is what Fairchild is producing. A league average bat. Myers has looked awful, everywhere, this season. He’s a liability with a negative -.8 WAR and OBS+ of 44. He’s literally been the worst player on the major league roster this season for the Reds.

        The “potential” bat is dead, and definitely not worth burning the last option on Fairchild. CES is worth it (that’s a whole different topic), but not Myers. Injuries happen and if Fairchild stays healthy, he could stay on the MLB roster the entire season and then that option year is still there for 2024 – that alone to me is worth since Myers had no future or opportunity for at bats to even build his value with all the youth producing.

        Fairchild isn’t a negative asset on the field and AAAA players are valuable on winning teams because it’s a long season. Fairchild will never be Myers peak, but Myers will never (again) be Fairchild.

      • Stock

        I disagree Mike. Why would the Reds possibly want Myers on the team?

        2022: Myers OPS – .708
        2022: Fairchild OPS – .800

        2023: Myers OPS – .446
        2023: Fairchild OPS – .735

        Fairchild is better

      • Tom

        To me, Fairchild has the chance to OPS .800 for a full season, but he’s finally getting a chance to acclimate. His minor league numbers suggest it’s in there. Glad he’s getting his shot.

  6. SultanofSwaff

    A Phillips promotion could make sense. He could act as a bridge until our big 3 are healthy and then you slide him to the bullpen to minimize his innings. He gets ML experience w/o being overworked.

    • DaveCT

      It’s almost impossible to see the Reds doing it. First, the Lookouts are going for the first half title. Leaning to win is part of player development. Second, IMO, it’s more likely they’ll give him time at AAA, then see where he is, similar to Abbott. Bit … once he passes that test, I would bet he’ll be up in a hurry.

      That said, It’s a testimony to our depth that, post, Abbott at AA, we had our next AA ace step up. And looking a b it ahead, once Phillips goes up, they have yet another possible ace, Richardson, ready to step up. This is a new experience for a Reds fan.

      • wolfcycle

        This…. they would want to see how Phillips throws with a non tacky ball and see how his command continues to improve, or backs up.

    • Tim

      I wonder at what inning limit will Abbott be shut down?

      • Andrew

        Perhaps 150ish, but probably can manage that load to September. He’s thrown 106 and 118 the last two years and is at 54 currently

      • DaveCT

        Abbott had just about 120 innings in 24 starts in 2022.

        I’d guess (conservatively) 145-150 total in 25-30 starts this year. Given he’s at 72 and 13 starts, that’d make him more or less halfway.

    • Optimist

      He should definitely be one of the two September callups, and perhaps a bit sooner if they need a multi-inning reliever in late August. If the other staff returns they won’t need, and if the staff explodes it won’t matter.

      Give him 6-8 starts in AAA into August.

      Then, a few September appearances to get set for next season.

  7. DaveCT

    Both Phillips and Hinds were also in the BA Hot Sheet this week as well.

    Hinds’ last two weeks, as Doug points out, are certainly interesting. More so, considering this point made in the BA chat — this is the first time we’ve seen Rece in more than 80 games in his entire pro career. And, while it seems like he’s been around since the Stone Age, Hinds is only 22.

    It’s true he is still a high risk/high gain prospect. But … can you imagine even getting a 4th outfielder with that power and that plus plus arm and defense? In watching Hinds this season, I’ve been impressed with his competitive approach to the game. He plays hard. He plays with high enthusiasm and emotion. Seems like a really great kid.

    The BA chat mentioned if he could sustain a drop in K rate from near 40% to 30%, we might be able to say he’s turned a corner. I’d still hold out for a drop into the mid 20&% range, but, still, getting a serviceable ML player out of Hinds would be an accomplishment.