The Cincinnati Reds had two different prospects named the player of the week in their league for their performances last week. Blake Dunn got the nod for the Double-A Southern League (I had already written about him on Monday, so I just added onto that piece that he had won the award). Connor Phillips picked up the award for his start last week in the International League.

This is the third time this year that Phillips has won the award. Last month he won it in back-to-back weeks right before he was promoted to Triple-A Louisville. In his 4th start for the Bats, Phillips faced off at home against the Columbus Clippers. And it was a heck of a start, too. The 22-year-old right-handed starter struck out 11 batters and had two walks in 7.0 shutout innings. Phillips walked two batters in the 1st inning of the game before picking up his first strikeout. He locked in from there and put together one of his best starts of the season.

After struggling in his first start on June 30th with Louisville (1.2IP, 2ER, 5BB, 1K), Connor Phillips has turned things around and been quite good. He’s made three starts since then and allowed three runs in 16.0 innings (1.69 ERA) while giving up just 12 hits, walking seven batters, and he’s struck out 22.

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
  • Connor Phillips – Southern League – June 12-18
  • Rece Hinds – Southern League – June 12-18
  • Esmith Pineda – Arizona Complex League – June 26 – July 2
  • Brooks Crawford – Midwest League – July 3-9
  • Blake Dunn – Southern League – July 17-23
  • Connor Phillips – International League – July 17-23

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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19 Responses

  1. RedBB

    DFA Weaver already or at least move him to the pen and bring this kid up. No way can he be any worse. The only negative would be managing his pitch count and innings but I figure he has at least 50 innings left this year.

  2. MBS

    Exciting time thinking about these 2 being added to our current group. Lots of talent everywhere you look.


    I asked Doug in the last Q & A about if he had ever seen anything like the crop of rookies we have. He pointed to 08, and the class of Votto, Bruce, Ceuto and Homer. That was a great crop of rookies, but they didn’t all hit the ground running, like this crop.
    I been following baseball for over 50 years, and if they keep this core of players they brought up, it will go down as one of the best ever.
    Enjoy this team, realize what you are seeing because I have never seen so many rookies come up at once and be successful individually or team wise. I expected a 100 losses this year.
    Might never be a Big Red Machine, but it’s possible.
    Wish Steve Cohen had bought this team, just to keep the core together past 2027.
    I haven’t been this interested in baseball since 2013, and it’s because of these rookies.
    Thank you Mr Krall!

    • RedBB

      That indeed was a heckuva class. 127.4 bWAR combined and still going! Hard to imagine this class will ever reach that number despite how good they are looking.

    • Stock

      Great points SellTheTeamBob.

      Three ways to compare these classes:

      1. Performance
      Bailey did struggle in 2008. Cueto and Bruce were good but not outstanding. Votto hit the ground running and was very good. The WAR for this group in 2008 was 5.3 with Joey Votto’s 3.6 carrying most of the load.

      This class is deeper and better in the majors thus far. Their top 4 performers thus far:
      McLain 2.5 WAR, Steer, 1.3 WAR, Abbott 1.1 WAR and EDLC 0.9 WAR already have a cummulative WAR of 5.8 which surpasses the 2008 group. I would not be surprised if this groups final WAR exceeded 10.6, doubling the 2008 group.

      But this class of rookies is more than just these 4. You have Williamson and CES thus far. Phillips may be up soon. Then you have Will Benson to eclipse rookie status you need 45 days on the roster or 150 AB. Benson had 55 AB last year but 45 days on the ML Roster. Some publications rating prospects ignore the days on the ML roster so by these publications Benson was a prospect still.

      Based upon performance this class is better than the 2008 class.

      Based on Prospect Rating at midseason it is close. The Reds players were no longer prospects (except possibly Bailey) so I default to their preseason ranking. BA ranking unless told otherwise.

      Bruce #1, EDLC #1(midseason BA)
      Cueto #34, Abbott #37 (Midseason BA)
      Votto #44, McLain #35 (Midseason fangraphs, was no longer a rookie for BA list)
      Bailey #9, CES #83, Steer #97 by some publication at YE, Williamson #83 pre-2022.

      The first three are pretty equal. Bailey vs. the other 3 is a tougher comparison. Fangraphs gives values for players based upon FV. Bailey would receive a value of 60 per Fangraphs, CES and Steer 28 each and Williamson 21. Total 77. Per Fangraphs the three of CES, Steer and Williamson have more value than one player ranked in the 6-10 range (Bailey).

      Slight edge to this class.

      Based upon preseason rankings only the 2008 class wins by a landslide.

      So this class crushes the 2008 class in performance, wins by a nose if you allow for updated mid-season ranking and gets crushed if you only allow for pre-season ranking.

      I personally choose performance and in that regard this is easily the best Rookie class ever for the Reds.

      As far as future value the 2008 class will be tough to beat but I think a class of EDLC, McLain, Steer, CES, Abbott and Williamson crushes it. If Phillips joins this class I think the career WAR of the 2008 class will end up being less than half of the 2023 class. And this excludes Benson.

      At the end of the day:

      EDLC better than Votto
      Abbott equal to or better than Cueto
      Phillips better than Bailey
      McLain better than Bruce
      CES, Steer, Williamson and if allowed Benson are just gravy.

  4. Brian Rutherford

    Open question to Doug and the rest who have seen Phillips pitch? What should our expectations be? Does he have #1 type stuff, #2 or what? The stats sound promising but AAA has had some outsized performances this year too.

    • Doug Gray

      He has #1 stuff when talking about the fastball/breaking ball. The problem is he doesn’t much of a change up (through 4 Triple-A starts he’s thrown a change up just under 5% of the time. And his control, at least as it sits now, is below-average. I think that right now he’s a guy who could be very Homer Bailey-like – absolutely dominant at times, but also inconsistent.

      • Optimist

        Nah – in the modern game he sounds like he’s a 5 inning starter, 100+ pitch count. Tighten the control, develop almost any 3rd pitch, and he’s perhaps a better version of Homer.

        Likely a good multi-inning MLB reliever already – wonder if any team could use one of those?

      • Doug Gray

        He’s not a 2-pitch pitcher. He’s a 4-pitch pitcher. He just doesn’t use his change up as much as hit fastball, slider, or curveball.

  5. Stock

    It would have been nice to have Phillips up here a couple of weeks ago to see if he was ready. Instead the Reds may give up a slew of prospects to acquire a Cease, Giolito or someone else to replace Weaver.

    A current rotation of Ashcraft, Abbott, Phillips, Lively and Williamson works for me. Have Weave move to the pen and when Lodolo and Greene return they replace two of the above depending on innings (Abbott, Phillips) and performance (Phillips, Lively, Williamson).

    • MBS

      A rotation of Giolito, Abbott, Ashcraft, Lively Williamson seems much better to me. Gil won’t cost a slew as a rental, Cease would, so it’s hard to say how I’d feel about that deal until I saw the prospects spent to acquire him.

      I also like the Idea of a healthy pitching staff once we hit the playoffs including Greene, Lodolo, Antone, Santillan, and Gutierrez. We have worn out the bullpen, and many of those pieces will be spent.

      A playoff 3 man rotation could be, Giolito, Greene, (Abbott/Lodolo) being your 1, 2, 3 and Ashcraft, (Abbott/Lodolo), Williamson, Phillips in the pen with hopefully a healthy Antone, (Gutierrez/Santillan) to complement the best arms we currently have in the pen.