Position by Position Review: Second Base


Brandon Phillips, Brandon Phillips, Brandon Phillips. He has been a fixture there for years now, and although there is no Spring Training position battle ready to ensue for second base. Next offseason it could be a hot topic of discussion among Reds fans and front office members.

This offseason it was interesting that the Reds chose to extend some of their younger players and give them their first big contract as opposed to giving Phillips his second big contract as a Red.

He was very flexible in the lineup last season. He batted clean-up, first, and second. That flexibility was very valuable to Dusty Baker as he tweaked the lineups.

Here is a look at Phillips batting stats over the past three years:

Phillip body of work is impressive as he has given the Reds good power and speed every season. His number of RBI’s have fluctuated based upon where he has hit in the lineup but he was the beginning of the rebirth of the Reds franchise.

In 2010, he scored 100 runs and was an All-Star while winning his second Gold Glove award. In 2007 (not pictured), Phillips was 0ne of only two MLB players to go 30-30. That is 30 HR’s and 30 SB’s. In 2009, Phillips came just two RBI’s short of 100 while he also stole 25 bases. 20-20 seasons are the norm for Phillips.

Phillips is also tremendously valuable for his glove work. He was been the best defensive second baseman in the National League for years but he often does not get the respect that he deserves.

Phillips has committed only 27 errors over the last 4 seasons in nearly 3000 chances. Such a stat is remarkable when put into perspective. Phillips also boasts one of the best range factors (RF/9) each season. Over the past four years, his range factor has never been below 4.81. Range factor measures the range of balls that a player can catch and stop.

Next offseason, Phillips contract will expire. After this season, the Reds will be forced to decide whether they believe that they can afford to offer Phillips another contract where he earns between 10-12 million dollars per year. Luckily for the Reds, Phillips is a team guy and he loves Cincinnati.

There have been some talks that Billy Hamilton may be the 2B of the future instead of SS, but there are also other prospects who the Reds will have to analyze is Phillips is not brought back.

Can Todd Frazier or Chris Valaika hit well enough to earn the everyday 2B job in 2012? Valaika debuted well in 2010 when he got opportunities, but he is still not a proven major league player. Frazier has had up and down seasons in the minors. He finished in AAA in 2010.

Most importantly, would the Reds be able to replace Phillips’ leadership  and passion that he brings to the ballpark every day.

Phillips is also a fan favorite and someone that the Reds may have to pay.