Phillies acquire speedy minor leaguer from the Royals to strengthen outfield depth

Who did the Phillies get from the Kansas City Royals to bolster their outfield depth in the organization?
Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays
Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

With the trade deadline passed over three weeks ago and the Philadelphia Phillies’ roster more or less set for the remainder of the season, the club still decided to go out and get some outfield depth. As a result, they acquired speedy outfielder Brewer Hicklen from the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations. In a subsequent move, Hicklen was assigned to the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Hicklen has spent practically his entire seven-year professional baseball career in the Royals’ minor league system, other than a six-game cameo with the big league team in 2022. This season, he has spent his entire time with the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate Omaha Storm Chasers in which he has hit .233 with a .789 OPS, 41 runs scored, 15 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 29 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 61 games played. In addition, he was occasionally among the Royals top 30 prospects in the organization at various points in time during his career, with his tremendous speed being his main playing card.

Hicklen’s most productive season came in 2022, where he accumulated 85 runs scored, 30 doubles, four triples, 28 home runs, 85 RBI and 35 stolen bases in 130 games with the Storm Chasers. So his combination of power and speed could play well if he eventually reaches the major league on a permanent basis. However, he also strikes out at a high rate (202 times in 480 at-bats last year), which is probably his main weakness that has prevented him from getting a full-time MLB gig by now.

He was eligible to be traded despite being after the trade deadline since he wasn’t a part of neither the 40-man roster nor the MLB injured list at any point in time during the 2023 season. With the acquisition of Hicklen, it gives the Phillies some extra minor league outfield depth down the stretch. However, he will serve mainly as insurance for the ballclub, as chances are he won’t be seeing any playing time with the big league club unless something catastrophic happens. Nevertheless, he can still potentially be a serviceable piece down the road for the Phillies in the near future, since his incredible speed could play well in late-inning, pinch-running duties.