ZACH PHILLIPS, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
Born: September 21, 1986
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 200
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Drafted: 23rd round, 681st overall, 2004 (Rangers)
How Acquired: Trade (from Orioles for Kyle Lobstein)
College: Sacramento City College
Agent: Matt Colleran

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Phillips was a late-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers who signed the following year as a draft-and-follow.  As a starter he threw mainly in the upper-80s, with a curve and change.  He had one strong year as a starter with the Rangers, in 2007, that got him briefly on the prospect map, but he converted to relief in 2009.  He’s had some very high K rates, but not consistently, and he’s struggled with his control.  Phillips had brief stints in the majors in 2011-13, getting his velocity up close to 90 mph on average.  He also throws a slider and change.  He’s had reverse platoon splits as often as conventional ones in the upper minors.  Phillips has been a flyball pitcher in his brief major league action, but was a groundball pitcher in the minors.  The Pirates acquired him for Kyle Lobstein.

2005
R:  1-3-0, 3.93 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 50.1 IP, 2.3 BB/9, 13.1 K/9
A:  0-0-0, 6.75 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 4.0 IP, 0.0 BB/9, 9.0 K/9

Phillips pitched mostly as a starter in rookie ball and put up decent numbers, with an extremely high strikeout rate.  He also made two appearances in relief in low A.

2006
A:  5-12-0, 5.96 ERA, 1.72 WHIP, 142.0 IP, 4.2 BB/9, 8.0 K/9

The Rangers sent Phillips to low A, where he spent the season in the rotation.  He did pitch better over the season’s last month.

2007
A:  11-7-0, 2.91 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 151.2 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 9.3 K/9

Phillips had much more success in a return trip to low A.  He fanned over a batter an inning and greatly improved his control.  Baseball America ranked him as the Rangers’ 27th best prospect after the season.

2008
A+:  8-9-0, 5.54 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 144.2 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 7.3 K/9

Phillips struggled as a starter in the high-offense California League.  He struggled with walks, although not so much with HRs — he allowed ten — which is often a problem in that league.

2009
A+:  2-3-2, 1.23 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 44.0 IP, 2.2 BB/9, 9.4 K/9
AA:  0-0-2, 2.94 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 33.2 IP, 5.1 BB/9, 7.8 K/9

Phillips returned to the Calif. League and, with the exception of three starts, moved to the bullpen.  He had considerably more success there, with excellent BB and K rates.  He moved up to AA at mid-season and continued to be fairly hard to hit, but he had a lot more trouble with walks.  Texas added him to its 40-man roster after the season.

2010
AA:  0-0-4, 1.08 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 16.2 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 12.4 K/9
AAA:  3-2-1, 3.22 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 50.1 IP, 5.2 BB/9, 7.2 K/9

Phillips put up great numbers in a dozen relief appearances in AA, so the Rangers moved him up to AAA.  As with his promotion to AA, he suddenly started having control problems.

2011
AAA (Tex):  1-3-3, 4.43 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 44.2 IP, 4.2 BB/9, 7.7 K/9
AAA (Balt):  1-1-1, 2.63 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 13.2 IP, 4.6 BB/9, 4.6 K/9
MLB (Balt):  0-0-0, 1.12 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 8.0 IP, 2.2 BB/9, 9.0 K/9

The Rangers sent Phillips back to AAA and he continued to struggle with the strike zone.  Texas designated him for assignment in July and then sent him to the Orioles.  He got better results in AAA with Baltimore, although his walk and K rates actually got worse.  The Orioles called him up at the end of August and he pitched well in ten relief appearances.

2012
AAA:  2-2-7, 3.17 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 54.0 IP, 3.7 BB/9, 7.5 K/9
MLB:  0-0-0, 6.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 6.0 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 7.5 K/9

The Orioles optioned Phillips to AAA to open the season.  He didn’t pitch especially well there; oddly, he had much more trouble with left-handed than right-handed hitters.  The Orioles outrighted him in July, but called him up in early September.  He got into six games and wasn’t very effective.  After the season, Baltimore outrighted him again, and he elected free agency and signed a minor league deal with the Marlins.

2013
AAA:  4-2-1, 2.44 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 59.0 IP, 3.7 BB/9, 11.3 K/9
MLB:  0-1-0, 5.40 ERA, 3.60 WHIP, 1.2 IP, 16.2 BB/9, 5.4 K/9

Phillips pitched much better in AAA with the Marlins than he had previously at the level, with a passable walk rate and a very high K rate.  The Marlins called him up in September, but he pitched to only 11 batters.  Miami outrighted him after the season and he elected free agency again, eventually signing to pitch in Japan.

2014
JAPAN:  1-0-0, 3.27 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 5.7 K/9

Phillips appeared in just nine games in relief with Hiroshima.  After the season, he signed a minor league contract with the White Sox.

2015
AAA:  1-1-12, 3.13 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 54.2 IP, 3.3 BB/9, 10.5 K/9

Phillips spent the season in AAA and pitched well, with good walk and K rates.  After the season, the White Sox added him to their 40-man roster.

2016
AAA (Balt):  9-3-1, 4.45 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 60.2 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 12.5 K/9
AAA:  0-0-1, 0.00 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 1.1 IP, 20.2 BB/9, 6.8 K/9
MLB:  0-0-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 6.2 IP, 1.4 BB/9, 8.1 K/9

The White Sox outrighted Phillips during spring training and he again elected free agency, signing a minor league deal to return to the Orioles.  He pitched in AAA for them, still in relief, but wasn’t as effective as the previous year as his control problems returned.  At the end of August, the Orioles traded him to the Pirates for Kyle Lobstein, whom the Pirates had designated for assignment.  Phillips faced seven hitters in two games with Indianapolis and walked three of them.  The Pirates didn’t call him up when the AAA season ended, but they did a week later when Gerrit Cole went on the disabled list.  At that point, they also had A.J. Schugel and Neftali Feliz out with injuries.  Phillips got into eight games with the Pirates and pitched reasonably well.

It wasn’t clear initially whether the Pirates called Phillips up because they needed somebody to throw a few innings or because they were genuinely interested in him.  They made it clearer by outrighting him to AAA near the end of the World Series.  Phillips had the right to declare free agency, but he was set to become a minor league free agency just a few days later, anyway.

CONTRACT INFORMATION
2016: Major league minimum
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2005
MLB Debut: 8/31/2011
MiLB FA Eligible: 2016
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/19/2009 (later removed)
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2010, 2011, 2012)
MLB Service Time: 0.091
TRANSACTIONS
June 8, 2008: Drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 23rd round, 681st overall pick; signed on May 26, 2005.
November 19, 2009: Contract purchased by the Texas Rangers.
July 14, 2011: Designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers.
July 19, 2011: Traded by the Texas Rangers to the Baltimore Orioles for Nick Green and cash.
June 30, 2012: Designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles; outrighted to AAA on July 5.
September 3, 2012:
Called up by the Baltimore Orioles.
November 2, 2012: Outrighted to AAA by the Baltimore Orioles; refused assignment on November 4 and became a free agent.
December 6, 2012: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Miami Marlins.
September 1, 2013: Called up by the Miami Marlins.
October 6, 2013:
Outrighted to AAA by the Miami Marlins; refused assignment on October 7 and became a free agent.
December 15, 2014: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Chicago White Sox.
November 4, 2015: Called up by the Chicago White Sox.
March 17, 2016: Outrighted to AAA by the Chicago White Sox; refused assignment on March 18 and became a free agent.
March 23, 2016: Signed as a free agent by the Baltimore Orioles.
April 1, 2016: Outrighted to AAA by the Baltimore Orioles.
August 31, 2016: Traded by the Baltimore Orioles to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Kyle Lobstein.
September 13, 2016: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
November 2, 2016: Outrighted to AAA by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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