Anthony Gareth Phillips
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 160 lb.
- High School Stellenberg High School
Anthony played for South Africa in the 2006 World Junior Championship. Scouted by Pat Kelly and Philip Biersteker, he signed with the Seattle Mariners at age 16. Phillips debuted as a pro in 2007, hitting .279/.373/.287 for the AZL Mariners, one of the best debuts by a South African player in the minors to that point. He stole 5 bases in 7 tries. He fielded .955 in 29 games at short and .969 in 14 at second base.
In the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, Anthony was South Africa's primary shortstop while brother Jonathan manned third base. Anthony Phillips hit only .154/.267/.154 in the event and was 1-for-3 stealing, but fielded .967 at short.
Phillips bounced around the Mariners system in 2008, playing for the Pulaski Mariners (.196/.292/.214 in 14 games), Everett AquaSox (.187/.289/.273 in 51 games) and High Desert Mavericks (1 for 9, 3 K). He stole 9 bases but was caught six times. He also slumped defensively, with 21 errors and a .927 fielding percentage.
Phillips was 2 for 9 with a run and a RBI in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, finishing third on the club in OPS behind Gift Ngoepe and Brett Willemburg. He hit .247/.295/.393 for Everett in 2009, fielding .964 at short. He tied for 9th in the Northwest League with 7 home runs. He was listed on the South African roster for the 2009 Baseball World Cup but did not play. In 2010, he played for Everett (.204/.321/.305 in 55 G) and the Tacoma Rainiers (1 for 4, RBI).
Anthony split 2011 between the Clinton Lumber Kings (.199/.280/.266 in 100 G) and High Desert Mavericks (.229/.400/.457 in 14 G), stealing 26 bases in 37 tries and fielding .964 at short. He tied Luis Castillo for third in the Midwest League with 14 sacrifice hits. Among Mariners farmhands, he led with 16 sacrifices (one over Brandon Bantz) and tied Kalian Sams for second in steals. He did similarly in 2012 - .214/.300/.305 for Clinton (though only 11 SB in 19 tries) and 0 for 2 with the Jackson Generals, fielding .976 at short for Clinton. His 22 sacrifice hits led M's minor leaguers (six more than Gabriel Noriega) and also led the MWL (7 over Brandon Loy). He also led MWL shortstops in fielding percentage. He was not with South Africa in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers.
Playing second as well as short for High Desert in 2013, he hit .259/.351/.400 and scored 70 runs. A free agent, he was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies for 2014. That year, he was a utility man for the Lakewood BlueClaws (1 for 6), Clearwater Threshers (.229/.322/.307 in 57 G) and Reading Fightin' Phils (.237/.324/.320 in 31 G). He moved on the independent leagues in 2015 and posted a .269/.316/.341 batting line for the St. Paul Saints, continuing to show an excellent glove, fielding .976. He led the American Association with 307 assists and tied Ryan Khoury's record for fielding percentage at short in that loop. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim purchased his contract from St. Paul in early 2016.
Phillips played for South Africa in the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in February 2016, forming a defensively superb middle infield with SS Ngoepe. He also was one of the top hitters in the event, hitting .462/.632/.538 with 6 walks, 2 steals and 7 runs in four games. He scored their only run in their first loss, against host Australia and scored two more in the finale against Australia, a 12-5 loss. He led the Sydney qualifier in OBP (.007 over former major leaguer Eric Farris), was 8th in OPS (between Moko Moanaroa and James Beresford), easily led in runs (3 more than Mitch Dening or brother Jonathan Phillips), tied Beresford and teammate Keegan Swanepoel for the most hits (6) while also leading in walks (his brother was second, two shy).
He wound up in the Colorado Rockies chain in 2017, struggling at the plate (.209/.265/.282) for the Hartford Yard Goats while fielding .980 as their main SS and handling 124 chances error-free as their backup at 2B. He bounced around in 2018, his last year as a player, with stints for the Yard Goats (5 for 20, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB in 9 G), the Albuquerque Isotopes (a strong .318/.434/.591, 9 R, 9 RBI in his last 14 games at AAA), the Saints (.242/.326/.300 in 34 G) and the Kansas City T-Bones (.300/.400/.420 in 15 G).