Brandon Phillips is known for his flashy leather and radiant smile, but don’t overlook what he’s been doing at the plate this season. Phillips isn’t just having a career year; he’s on the brink of re-writing the record book.
Phillips has already set a new career-high in RBI this season with 100 in the Reds first 140 games. Prior to this year, Phillips averaged 80 RBI a year for the Reds. Phillips passed his previous career-high of 98 RBI, which he posted in 2009, in the Reds 8-3 win over the Rockies on Aug. 31st with his 17th home run of the year. Last night, Phillips became the first Reds second baseman to record 100 RBI in a season since Joe Morgan in 1976. Morgan finished that season with 111 RBI and was second in the league to teammate George Foster.
Phillips sits in the top five in Major League Baseball in RBI with just 22 games remaining. He leads all second basemen in RBI, with Yankees Robinson Cano being the next closest at 91 RBI. Phillips has already surpassed Cano’s last season total of 94 RBI, which led all second basemen in 2012.
The only National League player leading Phillips in RBI currently is Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Phillips trails Goldschmidt by just four RBI. If Phillips were to pass Goldschmidt, fans would be witnessing a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in nearly 90 years.
Second basemen are rarely their team’s leader in RBI, much less the entire league. In fact, the last time a second baseman led his league in RBI was former Reds second baseman Brett Boone in 2001 with the Mariners.
The achievement is even more rare in the Senior Circuit.
If Phillips passes Goldschmidt he would become the first second baseman to lead the National League in RBI since Roger Hornsby in 1925.
Phillips could hold an advantage with the Reds lineup, which has scored 610 runs this season as opposed to Arizona’s 589. The Reds also have the seventh-best on-base percentage in the MLB, which could potentially translate to more opportunities for Phillips down the stretch.
So, admire what Brandon is doing in the field but also what he’s doing at the plate!