Biloxi Shuckers

Brewers prospect Brett Phillips shows power potential for Shuckers

 Biloxi Shuckers centerfielder Brett Phillip, right, hit three homers Saturday in a 9-3 win at Pensacola.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD Biloxi Shuckers centerfielder Brett Phillip, right, hit three homers Saturday in a 9-3 win at Pensacola. SUN HERALD

It's been a bumpy season at the plate at times for Milwaukee Brewers top prospect Brett Phillips.

For one night, the Biloxi Shuckers center fielder made it all look oh so easy.

The left-handed swinging Phillips ripped a career-high three homers for six RBIs in Saturday's 9-3 win at Pensacola, marking the first time that the Seminole, Fla., native has hit multiple homers in a single game at any level. All three homers were to the middle part of the park, clearing the fence in left center in the first inning, right center in the second and right center in the ninth.

After relying a little too much on pulling the ball to right field early in the season, Phillips credited his success on Saturday to a more balanced approach at the plate.

"It's just a matter of using the whole field," Phillips said. "I got stuck pulling the ball up until now. I've been working with (hitting coach Sandy Guerrero). It's a matter of not limiting myself to one side of the field. I'm hitting to all sides of the field. I'm extending my game to be the best player I can be."

Shared experience

While Phillips had plenty to brag about after his big day at the plate, he wasn't even the only player in the Brewers organization to hit three homers Saturday. Brewers second baseman Aaron Hill hit three home runs, including a go-ahead grand slam in the 10th, in a 13-7 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.

"That night, I got a text from Aaron and it said, 'Good game,'" Phillips said. "And I was like, 'No, way to rain on my parade. Good game, too.' That was pretty cool for him to go out of his way. He hit three homers with seven RBIs and I hit three homers with six RBIs. He out shined me.

"He's had 10 years plus in the big leagues. To text a guy below him and congratulate him, that's pretty exciting."

Phillips is batting .248 with five homers and 22 RBIs in 105 at-bats this season.

While he has shown good pop at the plate, the strikeouts have also piled up. He has 37 this season to tie for the second most in the Southern League. His on base percentage is not that bad at .342, but Phillips knows he has to make improvement at getting on base more.

"I'm still continuing to hit my stride. I'm still not my best even though I hit three home runs in one game," Phillips said. "I'm striking out way too much, which I know I need to work on. I'm working on my overall game each and every day.

"If I get complacent, someone can pass me up at any moment. I'm working on everything and relaxing a lot more. I've been pressuring and trying to do too much. I'm getting in my groove."

Moving around

The night Phillips hit three homers he was batting in the two-hole, but he's been shuffled around the top three spots in the order all season. He has batted leadoff for much of his career, but has seen plenty of time in the third spot this season.

It's unclear where he might bat once he makes the jump to the big leagues, but he appears well suited to bat in a variety of spots.

"I had a conversation (Sunday) with (manager Mike Guerrero)," Phillips said. "He was like. 'You never know where you're going to be hitting in the order in the big leagues. You're probably going to be a one, two guy.' But he said he wants to me to experience all the positions in the batting order because you're going to see difference pitches. It's just a different feel. He's going to continue to move me around, one two and three, just for me to get that exposure at each part of the lineup."