Red Sox outfield prospect Phillip Sikes had a monster game in Low-A Salem’s 8-2 win over the Fredericksburg Nationals at Virginia Credit Union Stadium on Wednesday night.
Batting eighth and starting in center field, Sikes went 3-for-4 at the plate with two home runs, one double, four RBIs, three runs scored, and one walk. He also picked up an outfield assist and helped turn an inning-ending double play by gunning down top Nationals prospect Brady House at first base in the bottom of the third.
Both of Sikes’ homers were solo shots that came off two different Nationals relievers in the fourth and sixth innings. His double came in the top half of the seventh and plated an additional two runs to lift Salem to their 21st win of the year.
After getting his first full professional season off to a rough start in April (73 wRC+), Sikes — like many in Salem’s lineup — has turned things around for the better in May. Following Wednesday’s performance, the right-handed hitter has slashed .265/.351/.592 (152 wRC+) with five doubles, one triple, three home runs, nine RBIs, nine runs scored, two stolen bases, five walks, and 15 strikeouts over 14 games (57 plate appearances) this month.
Defensively, Sikes has already seen playing time at all three outfield positions this year, logging 71 2/3 innings in left, 123 innings in center, and 40 innings in right. The 6-foot-2, 190 pounder recorded his second outfield assist of the season on Wednesday.
Back on May 4, Sikes made his professional debut as a pitcher in Salem’s 24-6 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The right-hander needed just nine pitches (seven strikes) to toss a perfect ninth inning in what was his first appearance on a mound since 2019.
Sikes, 23, was selected by the Red Sox in the 18th round of last year’s draft out of Texas Christian University. The native Texan is not yet regarded by any major publication as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system, though he may be already be one of the quickest players in the organization.
According to FanGraphs, Sikes has posted a Speed Score of 8.3 this season. First developed by Bill James, Speed Score measures a player’s speed and baserunning ability on a 0 to 10 scale. Sikes’ 8.3 Speed Score, then, is quite good.
Among Carolina League hitters with at least 110 plate appearances under their belt in 2022, Sikes ranks 13th in Speed Score and 14th in isolated power (.194). Among minor-leaguers in the Red Sox organization who have made 110 or more trips to the plate, Sikes ranks fourth in Speed Score and 12th in isolated power, per FanGraphs.
Coming into play on Thursday, Sikes has multiple hits in three of his last seven games. He will look to keep things going as Salem goes for its fourth straight win beginning at 7:05 p.m. eastern time.
(Picture of Phillip Sikes via the Salem Red Sox)