Kansas City Royals: Brett Phillips needs to turn things around
By Trevor Hooth
The Kansas City Royals have a battle for the right field spot, but it might be an easier decision than it appeared before the start of Spring Training.
In my heart of hearts, with as much bias as possible, I believe that Brett Phillips should be the Kansas City Royals starting right fielder on Opening Day. That decision is not left up to bloggers, and probably with good reason, because Spring Training has not been good to the promising outfielder.
So, it seems there are two scenarios where Phillips will crack the starting lineup on Opening Day. The first is that I am offered the manager position. Ned Yost is doing a great job there and the Royals are not that desperate so we will bypass that one all together.
The second is him turning it around in a hurry, and his competitors seeing some struggles, which has been happening anyway.
Phillips has 18 at bats under his belt where he is hitting .167 with five walks. The trio vying for the spot coming in was thought to be Phillips, Jorge Bonifacio, and Brian Goodwin. A .053 average in 19 at bats for Goodwin seems to be removing him from the race rather quickly.
Bonifacio and Phillips are on the same level in some ways because they both have a minor league option left. However, Bonifacio .222 with a homer in 27 at bats seems to give him an edge for now.
Going with the hitter that is performing instead of filling out a lineup card emotionally might seems like a bold strategy, but it is actually recommended. Weird, right? Okay maybe not so much, I am just a big fan of Phillips but he is losing this battle.
To be fair, Bonifacio might also be losing. There is this guy named Bubba Starling who is absolutely crushing the baseball to the tune of a .400 batting average. His downfall is that he is not on the 40-man roster.
Regardless, this offensive output from Phillips has been disappointing thus far. He put a lot of effort towards bringing his swing back to what it was when he succeeded with the Brewers.
He is showing more patience, but less power, in his extremely small sample size so far. His slash line of .167/.360/.222 is better in some ways compared to his Spring Training slash of .143/.192/.347 last year.
The last thing Phillips would want is to start another year in Triple A, but that is where things are headed. There is still some time to turn things around, but it needs to happen soon. The Kansas City Royals need to find out what he can do with consistent at bats.
The Kansas City Royals are the best defensively when Phillips is in the lineup. That, however, is not something that will just be given to him, despite my thoughts and feelings.