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Top Texas prospect Cole Phillips ready for MLB career despite UCL injury

Top Texas prospect Cole Phillips ready for MLB career despite UCL injury
Cole Phillips will likely hear his name called in the 2022 MLB Draft. (Credit: Allison Poole)

BOERNE, Texas (BVM) — Battling through injuries is challenging for any athlete. But for one of baseball’s top prospects, it’s something that is entirely new. Boerne’s Cole Phillips is taking the challenge head-on and preparing for the next step in his baseball career. 

Nearly two months ago, the coveted pitching prospect elected to have UCL surgery. Phillips suffered the injury in the third inning of a district game that happened to be on senior night.

“My season was going really well,” Phillips said. “My body was healthy, and I was performing well. I was pitching a perfect game and I go out there in the third inning, and it happened in one pitch. I knew something was severely wrong; I had never felt anything like that. I kind of had an idea of what happened.”

Although Phillips knew he most likely tore his UCL, he wanted to get the next batter out. With three straight sliders, Phillips did just that. He went on to tell his coaches what had happened, and he ended up removing himself from the game. But that wasn’t the hardest part of what he was going through.

“I was just devastated knowing my senior season was ending,” Phillips said. “And I was done playing with these guys that I had to play with for the past six, seven years. That’s the part that hit me the most.”

For something like this to happen to a promising athlete can be seen as unfair by many. But Phillips didn’t see it that way. 

“I gave myself a day to feel bummed about it,” Phillips said. “After that, there was a new mentality of, ‘Let’s attack this head-on and move forward in the right direction.’”

Everybody he knows wants to lend a helping hand to his recovery. However, only one person can truly make this recovery happen the best. That’s Phillips and his love for baseball. But that love for baseball wasn’t always like what it is today. 

“There wasn’t a particular moment that solidified that feeling for me,” Phillips said. “I was more of a multi-sport athlete growing up and more of a quarterback actually. It was [a position] I would play because I had a good arm…but as I got older, it became more apparent I might have a future in baseball.”

With the first pop of the glove and the atmosphere of a baseball field, the love of the game quickly took over his heart.

Cole Phillips had a 0.88 ERA and 97 strikeouts over 63.2 innings pitched during his junior campgain. (Credit: Allison Poole)

“When I knew I had talent, I started focusing more time there,” Phillips said. “And everything shifted from football to baseball around eighth grade. I really fell in love with the game and found a passion for the game, and I knew that’s where my future would be.”

As time progressed, Phillips’ skill as a pitcher improved. It improved so much that college baseball programs started following him on Twitter.

“I wasn’t talking to any of them [colleges] yet,” Phillips said. “And then going into the summer after my freshman year, going to all the showcases and events, and at the end of my freshman summer, I got my first offer.” 

That’s when the recruiting process and offers started to ramp up for Phillips. And as more offers came in, Phillips contemplated where he should continue his career. 

“I ended up committing to Baylor as a young sophomore,” Phillips said. “[I] held on to that commitment through my junior year, and about halfway through the [following] summer, I knew that there might have been some different opportunities for me.”

So, as one could imagine, a lot of tough decisions had to be made. It didn’t come easily for Phillips, but he wanted to control his own future. 

“A lot of thought went into it in regards to pitching development, college baseball atmosphere and what felt like a better fit for me,” Phillips said. “I wanted to be super confident in the program I went to. I had all those thoughts, and I didn’t want to have any regrets, so I ended up decommitting from Baylor this past summer.”

With his recruitment reopened, Philips visited instate programs Texas A&M and Texas. He also visited LSU, Arkansas and was talking to other DI programs too. But Phillips narrowed his decision down to Arkansas and decided to commit to the Razorbacks.

“That was something that went into it,” Phillips said, talking about continuing to play baseball in Texas. “It was intriguing because it was closer, in my home state and I love living in Texas. But the final thought for me was my goal is to be a major league pitcher and a very successful one. And the thought was what program will help me get to the point. 

“I felt like Arkansas had the best resources [to do so].”

Along with his commitment to Arkansas, Phillips finds himself at No. 58 on the MLB’s 2022 prospects list. And will likely be hearing his name called in the MLB Draft in July.

“Right now, whether it’s college or pro ball, I’ll be doing the same thing for a year [rehab],” Phillips said. “I’m just doing a lot of PT, trying to get healthy and kickstart that to wherever I end up going.”

There are many tough decisions for Phillips and his family to make. But whatever comes to fruition, one better believe when he takes the mound, he’ll be ready to give it his all. 

“Whether it is college or pro ball I’m going to climb the ranks fast and will be a major league pitcher here in the next few years,” Phillips said. “Once I’m in the major leagues my goal is to be the best.”

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