According to Ned Yost, the Royals weren’t going to just give away Mike Moustakas and with the return they received that seems to be the case with two prospects who have seen Major League difficulties but have been on the radar for a bit.
Brett Phillips – Ranked the No. 10 Prospect in the Brewers organization in their recent re-rank, Phillips is a multi-tool centerfielder. The top tool in his box is his 80-grade arm, which was on display in a throw to the plate that was recorded at 104 mph last year. Alongside the cannon arm, Phillips has better than average speed and a tick-above-average power. The hit tool rates less than average by some but he’s flashed some ability in his brief callup in 2017 before struggles this season. With a crowded outfield in Milwaukee and prospect Corey Ray coming strong Phillips makes a logical player for the Brewers to move. The 24-year-old will likely be given the starting job on a rebuilding Royals team and given the opportunity to improve his hit tool; should he do that he can man centerfield for a few seasons before moving to a corner.
Cause and Effect – Are Bubba Starling’s days in the organization over? The acquisitions of Phillips and Brian Goodwin in the past week leave no opening for the former first-round pick, and with a crowded outfield of Alex Gordon, Jorge Soler, and Jorge Bonifacio the Royals could be looking to platoon Gordon going forward as well.
Jorge Lopez – In Lopez, the Royals are getting an erratic right-hander that works in the mid 90’s with his fastball with a plus curveball. The No. 2 prospect in the Brewers system as recently as 2015 Lopez has seen his stock take a dive after problems at Triple-A and the big leagues. Even with the struggles with control in the majors, Lopez is able to create groundball contact with his two above-average pitches and would be a welcome addition to a bullpen full of struggling pitchers. Should Cal Eldred help him improve his command then he has the makings of a quality relief sixth/seventh inning role reliever.
Cause and Effect – This may get a poor reliever off the 40 man.
Final Analysis – This is a no-brainer for a two month rental of Mike Moustakas. The Royals get one possible above-average everyday player and a reliever with some upside. In Phillips, the Royals are getting a possible 2-3 win player at a position of need (centerfield) that won’t be arbitration eligible until 2021 and won’t be a free agent until 2024. On the low-end, Phillips likely profiles as a fourth outfielder who can platoon on the good side and play some center and right with good range. Add in a nearly-ready reliever lottery ticket and this makes for a very positive return by GMDM.