The Atlanta Braves used a high pick on injured prep arm Cole Phillips during the 2022 MLB Draft, though the high upside hurler has spent his entire pro career rehabbing an arm injury from prior to being selected. He’s someone else’s problem now, though, as the Braves moved him to Seattle in the Jared Kelenic trade a few days ago.
Phillips was drafted by the Braves in the 2nd round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of Boerne HS in Boerne, Texas. The 6’3”, 200-pound right-handed pitcher was actually enjoying a breakout spring that year before going down with Tommy John Surgery just a couple months ahead of the draft. Had Phillips not been injured, he stood a strong possibility of being a first round pick, making him a potential steal in the second round if he can get past his injury.
Preseason report card
Phillips ranked fifth on our Preseason Top 25 prospect list, despite the fact we hadn’t seen him pitch in a game yet. That spoke to both the upside in his arm, as well as the fact the system didn’t have a lot of high-ceiling prospects like Phillips. When healthy, Phillips brings a potential plus-plus fastball that could potentially top out in triple digits, a potential plus slider, and good feel for his command. Add in some feel for the changeup and the fact he was only going to hit age 21 in late May, and you could see the makings of a high upside arm.
What we saw in 2023
We didn't, as Phillips did not appear in a game this season while continuing to rehab his arm. He appears to be taking the Spencer Schwellenbach path, and while Schwellenbach had his surgery after being drafted as opposed to before, both sat out the next season of games but got in work on the side with the coaches.
Phillips was dealt to the Mariners in a multiplayer deal that saw the Braves acquire Jared Kelenic in early December. Phillips could appear in Low-A to start the year as he will be almost two calendar years out from his surgery when the season begins and will already be turning 21 at the end of May. It will be time for his new team to take the training wheels off Phillips and let him go to work in game action, where they will get a first look at whether or not he is still the guy most were touting as a first round pick out of high school nearly two years ago.