Getting to CHS Field

Everything Comes In Threes, Shortstop Phillips Has Contract Purchased By Angels

ST. PAUL, MN January 25, 2016



ST. PAUL, MN (January 25, 2016) – For the third time in three weeks a Major League organization has tapped the St. Paul Saints roster for one of their top players.  After the Los Angeles Dodgers purchased the contract of American Association Player of the Year, catcher Vinny DiFazio, and Post-Season All-Star first baseman Angelo Songco, their I-5 rivals, the Angels, have followed suit purchasing the contract of shortstop Anthony Phillips, who set the Saints single-season record for best fielding percentage by a shortstop.


          The 25-year-old Phillips committed just 11 errors in 454 chances, a .976 fielding percentage, topping Kansas City’s Vladimir Frias, .973, as the only two shortstops with a .970 fielding percentage or better in 2015.  Phillips led the American Association in total chances and assists (307).  He finished just shy of the league’s shortstop fielding percentage record held by Ryan Khoury in 2014, who also had a .976 fielding percentage.  Phillips’ actual percentage was .97577, while Khoury was at .97609, but the league rounds the number to three decimal places and both will be in the record books with a .976 fielding percentage.  Only nine times has a shortstop had a .970 fielding percentage or better since 2009, three of them are Saints (Steve Mays, .970, in 2010 and Joey Becker, .971, in 2014).


      “Anthony is as smooth as they come,” said Saints Manager George Tsamis.  “He will do a good job with the Angels. We wish him the best of luck.”


          Offensively, Phillips hit a solid .269 with two home runs and 35 RBI in 91 games.  In 323 at bats he scored 45 runs, smacked 11 doubles, three triples, a .316 on base percentage and .341 slugging percentage.  Phillips also finished tied for third in the league in sacrifice hits with 11.  He hit the lone grand slam for the Saints on July 18 at Sioux Falls.  He also put together a 10-game hitting streak from July 15-24.  On July 4 Phillips and Dan Kaczrowski became the first duo to hit back-to-back home runs at CHS Field.


            Phillips was acquired on May 1, 2015 right before spring training, from the New Jersey Jackals for a player to be named later.  He is an interesting story signing as a free agent when he was just 16-years-old out of South Africa by the Seattle Mariners. 


          Phillip spent from 2007-2013 with the Mariners organization and one of his best seasons came in 2013 at High-A High Desert where he hit .259 with a career high nine homers and 43 RBI. 


In 2014 he played at three different levels in the Philadelphia Phillies organization: Single-A Lakewood, High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading.  Between the three stops he hit .230 with two home runs and 24 RBI.


          The 2015 season was the third time Phillips has led a league in fielding percentage.  In 2010 he led the Northwest League with a .979 fielding percentage and in 2012 he led the Midwest League with a .976 fielding percentage.  


          In 2008 and 2009 Phillips represented his country of South Africa in Olympic qualifying and the World Baseball Classic, respectively.  His father, Phillip, was the oldest man ever on an Olympic Baseball roster when he played for South Africa at the age of 44 in the 2000 Summer Olympics.


          Phillips is the fifth Saints player to have his contract purchased by a Major League organization from the 2015 season.  Rookie of the Year, reliever Mike Zouzalik had his contract purchased by the Baltimore Orioles.  DiFazio and Songco had their contracts purchased by the Dodgers.  Two players who were signed in the pre-season, but never played for the Saints, right-handed pitcher Chris Smith and left-handed pitcher Cody Wheeler, had their contracts purchased by the New York Yankees and Orioles, respectively. 


          The Saints have had a total of 119 contracts sold, 113 total players including six who had their contract sold twice.  Of the 119 contracts sold eight were sold to international teams and a total of 21 have made it to the ultimate level of baseball following their time with the Saints (Julio DePaula, who played for the Saints in 2011, made it to the Major Leagues in 2014, never pitched in a game, but does not show up on the list below because his contract wasn’t purchased directly from the Saints).


          The Saints begin the 2016 season on Thursday, May 19 at CHS Field vs. the Gary SouthShore Railcats at 7:05 p.m.