Once Cleveland's top prospect, the team traded Phillips to Cincinnati on April 7 for a player to be named later or cash. To say that the 24-year-old has been a nice find might be a bit of an understatement.
Last week, Phillips hit .452 (14-of-31) with three homers and 17 RBIs. And with 27 total bases, the right-hander put together an .871 slugging percentage in pushing Cincinnati (12-7) into second place in the NL Central.
On Thursday, it was Phillips' two-run shot and his ensuing grand slam that kindled the Reds' 12-8 comeback win over Milwaukee.
"He just carried us," said Reds manager Jerry Narron.
Phillips has been more reserved about his big start.
"I haven't really thought about it," Phillips said. "It hasn't really kicked in. [And] I'm trying not to let it kick in."
No one could blame him if he did. Not after his tenure in Cleveland.
Deemed the top prospect acquired in the 2002 Bartolo Colon trade with the Expos that also brought Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee to the Tribe, the Indians saw Phillips as the new face of their rebuilding campaign. Phillips even won the starting second base spot the following year out of Spring Training, but he could never seem to put it together and was demoted to Triple-A by the All-Star break.
In 112 games in 2003, Phillips hit just .208 with six homers.
After spending the last two seasons at Triple-A Buffalo, he was expected to compete for a utility infielder spot with the club. But veteran Ramon Vazquez, who is now hitting .125 in eight games for the Tribe, beat him out. With no options remaining on Phillips, Cleveland was forced to unceremoniously part ways with their one-time hope.
"He still has a chance to be a very good Major League player," Indians assistant general manager Chris Antonetti said at the time.
It just came sooner than they thought.
"Ability-wise, he's got it," Narron said. "To get a guy that was the best prospect in baseball a couple of years ago, it was a big move by [general manager] Wayne Krivsky."
Other nominees for this week's honor included: Houston's Morgan Ensberg (.409 batting average six HRs, 16 RBIs) and Craig Biggio (.615, three HRs, seven RBIs), Chicago's Greg Maddux (2-0, 0.60 ERA, 10 K's), Philadelphia's Ryan Howard (.412, three HRs, six RBIs), St. Louis' Albert Pujols (.316, three HRs, nine RBI) and New York's Carlos Delgado (.346, four HRs, six RBIs).
David Briggs is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less