The Kansas City Royals were busy late into the night. As the clock was nearing midnight, news broke that longtime third baseman Mike Moustakas was traded.
The Kansas City Royals made the move we all knew had to happen. While some fans were clamoring for an extension of fan favorite Mike Moustakas, deep down we all knew he had to be traded. With the deadline ending in four days and little news about a Moustakas trade, anxiety started rising as we wondered if the Royals would get the trade done.
Who did the Royals get?
Let’s start this by saying the return is good. The expectations as the deadline was drawing to an end was the Royals wouldn’t get as much as they had hoped. This is a perfect return, especially for the Royals
Let’s start with Brett Phillips
Phillips has spent a couple years on the MLB Top-100 prospects list. He was #32 in 2015 and #63 in 2016. He has spent the better part of his career in the Top-10 of his teams Top-30 prospect list, getting as high as #2 for the Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers in 2014, and now sitting at #8 for the Kansas City Royals system.
Phillips is a high character player. He is someone the Brewers clubhouse loved, the Brewers fanbase loved his energy and intangibles, and he is a high ceiling player. He fits the mold that Dayton Moore has been looking for.
He has spent time at the big league level over the last two years, playing 52 games with a .257/.331/.413 slash during that time. He has spent most of the year in Triple-A, hitting .240/.331/.411 with 12 doubles, 7 triples, and 6 home runs. In 2017 while in Triple-A, Phillips hit .305/.377/.567 with 23 doubles, 10 triples, and 19 home runs. Combined, he is hitting .279/.358/.504 with 35 doubles, 17 triples, and 25 home runs over 176 games.
That ain’t half bad.
Something else to get excited about is his defense. When looking at his 2018 Scout Grade from MLB.com, Phillips scores: Hit: 45, Power: 50, Run: 55, Arm: 80, Field: 55, Overall: 50. When looking at the numbers, 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average, and 70-80 is well above average. His arm being an 80 is no joke. Last year, Phillips had a throw from the outfield that registered at 104mph.
Since being drafted, he has had a wRC+ over 100 every year but 2013 and 2018. Defensively he has been a stud. While he has struggled a bit this year, mainly due to lack of consistent playing time, he is well above the average defender. In 2017, he had a 4.1 UZR in centerfield and a 0.7 UZR in right field. Combined, he has a 4.7 UZR in the outfield (5.0 is considered above average). This year, he has a 1.0 UZR in centerfield and a -0.1 UZR in right field.
Again, that ain’t half bad.
Now for Jorge Lopez
Lopez is going to be an interesting player to watch. While he doesn’t have the same hype as Phillips, he could be a contributor for the Royals sooner rather than later. Once a starter, he has started being used more as a bullpen arm. He has made 13 appearances for the Brewers since 2015, posting a 3.69 ERA over 31.2 innings. This year, however, he has a 2.75 ERA over 19.2 innings.
He isn’t much of a strikeout pitcher, striking out just 25 batters during his time in the big leagues. While in the minors, those numbers never really changed. He had a 3.23 ERA in Double-A but a 6.50 ERA in Triple-A. Before looking at his Triple-A ERA an asking “why?”, Milwaukee’s Triple-A team is in Colorado. Many pitchers struggle in Colorado.
Lopez has five pitches he throws. He has a fastball, sinkers, slider, changeup, and curveball. His fastball and sinker sit at about 95mph, while his slider and changeup sit at 89mph and his curveball at 82mph. He predominantly throws his fastball (27.4%), sinker (26.1%), and curveball (30.3%).
Talking with the Milwaukee Brewers FanSided team, Reviewing the Brew, I asked what the Royals were getting with Phillips. Their response was “Phillips can be a stud.” They weren’t as high on Lopez, but he seems to be a guy that can turn it around if given a chance. And let’s be honest, the Royals can be that perfect team for him.
While I will miss Moustakas, this trade needed to happen. The Royals weren’t going to be able to hold leverage over him like they were this past offseason with the Qualifying Offer. The hope was to get something for Moustakas and not just let him walk for nothing.
I was losing hope that the Royals would get a high-quality return, but Dayton Moore got his quality return he seemed to be holding out for. Phillips will start his time in Kansas City at the big league level while Lopez will start in Omaha. Therefore, we won’t have to wait long to see what Phillips can do.
What do you think Royals fans? Do you like the return the Royals got for Moustakas? Did the Royals get more or less then they should for Moustakas? Let us know below!