Position Review: Second Was Second


In continuing BRM’s positional review, we come to second base. And with that, the spotlight is on one Brandon Phillips, aka DatDudeBP. Phillips pulled the starting assignment in 148 of the Reds 162 games for 2011, so out focus will be primarily on BP.

Name G PA H HR R RBI SB BABIP AVG OBP SLG
Brandon Phillips 150 675 183 18 94 82 14 .322 .300 .353 .457

One thing we all know about Phillips is he showed the ability to adjust to multiple places within the batting order. He turned his season around upon approaching Dusty Baker and encouraged the Red skipper to insert BP in the leadoff slot. For Phillips, it was a gift from above.

Here’s a snapshot of what Phillips did in the three main spots he inhabited during the 2011 season.

Split G PA R H HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG BAbip
Batting 1st 39 177 30 55 7 19 7 .350 .417 .573 .393
Batting 2nd 55 255 38 69 5 25 4 .292 .336 .424 .315
Batting 4th 55 241 25 58 5 37 3 .269 .321 .394 .282
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/3/2011.

As shown here, Phillips displayed success as that leadoff guy. Those numbers aided BP to achieve career highs in batting average (.300 for the first time ever) and on-base percentage (.353). Phillips also posted an OPB over .800 for the first time since his 30-30 season of ’07 (.810).

But the one aspect that people rave about Phillips play is his two-time Gold GLove winning defense. There is conjecture that a third will arrive shortly. In comparing 2011 to the other two seasons where BP won the Gold Glove, we see…

YR FLD % Asst E PO RF/9 RF/G dWAR
2008 .990 401 7 298 5.08 4.99 -0.4
2010 .996 419 3 281 4.81 4.61 0.0
2011 .992 409 6 306 4.86 4.83 0.1

It is interesting to note that the only time Phillips has led the NL in any defensive stat was in 2010 when he did lead the league in assist for a 2B.

Image: Bo Hussey

But Phillips has made great strides in regards to his defense, a new Reds trademark (as we hear from the brass). In 2006, he committed16 errors. The most since that time was the following season (’07) where that number was halved to 8.

Of course the big to-do concerns Phillips and a oft-discussed and commented contract extension. I have made my stance known on this, so I won’t bore you with that.

No question he has vaulted himself to the status of “fan favorite” through his tweets and contests. Many Reds fans might view that by not getting a long term deal in the books would be nothing short of a PR catastrophe. Not really sure I buy into that, but I do buy into the fact that there is no one within the Reds organization that can fill BP’s shoes.

At least one we’ve seen on the field. It’s entirely possible that there is someone (Todd Frazier, Chris Valaika) that can “fill in’ until someone else within the organization can meet close to the numbers BP has posted.

The only other issue heading into 2012 will be whether to keep BP batting leadoff or try another route.

Grade: A-, the minus is for one thing…and there are some that already know why I say such, but I’ll repeat it. Keep your contract stuff out of the public.

So, here’s where we’re at so far in this process…

Position Grade
First Base A-
Second Base A-

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Tags: 2011 Reds 2011 Season Baseball Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds MLB