Mariners add hard-throwing junior college RHP Connor Phillips at No. 64
The Mariners have gone to the college ranks once again in the 2020 MLB Draft, but this time, they went with a junior college standout in right-handed pitcher Connor Phillips.
The Mariners owned an additional second-round pick because of a trade that sent catcher Omar Narváez to the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this offseason. The selection, 64th overall, was a competitive balance round B pick.
Phillips, 19, was originally drafted in the 35th round out of high school by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019, but he opted not to sign. Phillips was committed to play college ball at LSU for the Tigers, one of the best programs in the NCAA, but he decided instead to go to McLennan Community College (Texas), so he could be draft eligible in 2020 rather than wait until 2022.
The story on Phillips is he has a live arm, throwing fastballs that sit between 92 and 96 MPH and can touch 98, according to his scouting report on MLB Pipeline. The fastball earned a 60 grade on the 20-80 grading scale, showing it’s an above average pitch in scouts’ eyes. His secondary offering is a curveball that will be in the upper-70s in terms of velocity and shows flashes of being a plus offering. MLB Pipeline says his changeup needs some work as a third pitch as he rises through the ranks of the minor leagues.
Phillips is 6 foot 2 and weighs 190 pounds, so there’s a strong likelihood he will fill out and add more to his frame, especially since he’s one of the younger guys in this draft at just 19 years old.
According to his McLennan CC baseball page, Phillips went 3-1 in six starts, striking out 27 in 25.2 innings with a 3.16 ERA. Command was a bit of an issue, as he walked 15 batters during the brief 2020 season.
Phillips joins Georgia right hander Emerson Hancock as college pitchers that the Mariners have selected in the first two rounds of the 2020 draft. In the 2019 draft, the Mariners used their first five picks on college pitchers, including first-rounder George Kirby and second-round picks Brandon Williamson and Isaiah Campbell.