Angels Prospect Interview: P.J. Phillips

When you look back on your first season in professional ball, how do you think you did?

P.J. Phillips: I thought I did pretty good. I started out the season really good but towards the end I got a little tired. Overall, I think I did pretty good for my first year.

You had quite a few strikeouts last year. . .

P.J. Phillips: I struck out too many times in my first pro season.

I just need to take my time, take better swings and look at better pitches, be more selective at the plate. I was kind of a free swinger my first year – I was swinging at everything.

I was so anxious to get a hit that I just need to calm down at the plate and that will help me out.

Was that just a case of your swing getting longer than you wanted and it taking simply too much time to get it through the zone or was it adjusting to the wood bats?

P.J. Phillips: That has happened. My swing has gotten real long – it felt so good and then I was trying to hit the long ball and it got a little long. I have since shortened back up.

I have used wood since the ninth grade in high school. I am used to it.

Has speed taken on a new importance in your game. You have swiped ten bags this year.

P.J. Phillips: I can be a power hitter, a hit for average hitter or a stolen base guy. I am just trying to work on all aspects of the game to become a complete player. I will take it anywhere.

Well, what changed that has you more aggressive on the basepaths this season?

P.J. Phillips: I wasn't really using my speed my first year because I didn't really know the fundamentals on stealing bases. I was just waiting for the pitcher to pick up his heel and running. But during the Instructional League, my outfield coach (Bobby) Mitchell, he taught us a fundamental way to steal bases and that has really helped me out.

You have worked at shortstop, second base and third base this season. Do you have a preference?

P.J. Phillips: Shortstop is my favorite position and what I am most comfortable with because I played it since I was little.

Playing second and third is not that bad. I practiced there and was getting adjusted to third when they had me playing there. I will play any position – shortstop is my main position right now.

Obviously, you know some of the best prospects in the system are shortstops. Does that concern you?

P.J. Phillips: I have been looking ahead of me. Brandon Wood, Sean Rodriguez, Erick Aybar – I have thought about sticking to third base, trying to move myself up the Angels organization faster at third.

How has your brother Brandon been able to help you in your goal of reaching the majors?

P.J. Phillips: He helped me when I was in high school. He told me how everything was going to be – how to start off and have a good season and not to try to hard, play your game, and things are going to work out. He has really helped me with all aspects of the game.

I talk to him a lot. After every game he will call me and ask me how I did. I tell him and he says, ‘just keep on doing it.'

Is he the guy that gives the best advice when you really need it?

P.J. Phillips: My dad. He has stayed on me all through my life and still is to this day.

What is your mentality as you finish out this season?

P.J. Phillips: Just go out there with a different approach and try to relax, picking out better pitches to hit. My hitting coach told me I was too aggressive. I am so aggressive and that makes you free swing. He was telling me just to relax more, see better pitches and take better swings at good pitches. That should help me out.

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