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View Full Version : Is not enough being made of Brandon Phillips' outstanding year?



Blitz Dorsey
09-12-2007, 10:36 AM
I'm still blown away with the year this guy is having. Approaching 30/30, playing phenomenal D, always a gamer. And I know he's getting his share of praise, but they should be doing stories on Baseball Tonight on this kid.

Phillips is the best second baseman we've had since Morgan. Wow. And as good as the Indians are, they still have a big hole at 2B. And they gave Phillips away for next to nothing.

westofyou
09-12-2007, 10:54 AM
My Favorite possibility is Phillips having more HR's and Steals than he does Walks

Currently he has 30 BB, 28 HR and 29 SB

For guys with over 25 HR and 25 SB in a season that is a rarity.


RUNS CREATED/GAME vs. the league average

WALKS YEAR BB SB HR RC/G PA
1 Alfonso Soriano 2002 23 41 39 1.68 741
2 Ivan Rodriguez 1999 24 25 35 0.72 630
T3 Joe Carter 1987 27 31 32 0.25 629

jojo
09-12-2007, 11:12 AM
I'm still blown away with the year this guy is having. Approaching 30/30, playing phenomenal D, always a gamer. And I know he's getting his share of praise, but they should be doing stories on Baseball Tonight on this kid.

Phillips is the best second baseman we've had since Morgan. Wow. And as good as the Indians are, they still have a big hole at 2B. And they gave Phillips away for next to nothing.

As nice as some of Phillips' counting stat totals are this season, he's always going to be Tonto to Chase Utley especially on a national stage. Utley plays better defense and there is some reason to wonder if Phillips' power spike is sustainable. Here are their '07 totals to date compared using BBR's neutralize tool (R/G:4.42):

Phillips: .268/.311/.457 OPS: .768
Utley: .342/.422/.572 OPS: .994

When compared to the rest of the national league or the rest of the majors, Phillips looks pretty much average offensively:

NL average for 2b: .271/.340/.419 OPS: .759
ML average for 2b: .277/.340/.417 .OPS: 758

A quick look at UZR and PMR for Brandon at second (using data from '06 thru the '07 ASB so the sample is relatively small) suggests Phillips is probably a slightly above average defender.


I'm one who tends to think Phillips is overrated by some Reds fans. He's a nice player for the Reds and represents a great value at his current salary but talk of GGs and comparisons to Joe Morgan seem inappropriate to me.

EDIT: The NL is currently a scoring environment defined by R/G=4.67; Here is BP's season adjusted for such a scoring environment in a neutral park using BBR's nuetralize tool (adjusting for R/G= 4.42 dinged Phillips unfairly relative to his peers this season):

.273/.316/.469 OPS: .785

By this standard, Phillips gets a roughly 3 RC boost and over his 571 ABs and is slightly above average offensively relative to his peers bat at second base.

I think the original conclusion still stands though.

paulrichjr
09-12-2007, 11:52 AM
I guess I must be blind because I haven't seen too many second basemen that are better or even equal to Phillips.

In the National League he ranks (for 2B)
#1 in AB
#2 in Runs behind Uggla
#2 in hits behind Sanchez by just 6 hits
10th in Doubles
4th in Triples
#2 in Home Runs behind Uggla (1 back)
#2 in RBIs behind Utley (8 back)
#1 in Total Bases
#12 in base on balls (I guess this is why some don't like him - He just doesn't walk enough)
#4 in Strikeouts - 55 better than Uggla and 20 better than Utley (I get confused on this one... Strikeouts are bad right? No wait having 55 less than Uggla is good or is it bad?)
#2 in Stolen bases behind Matsui ( 1 stolen base difference)
#3 in slugging behind Utley and Kent
#13 in average BUT 6 have less than 400 at bats while he has over 580
#16 in OBP BUT 6 of those have played less than 80 games

Defense - I know he is just average here but let's see where he stands
#1 in National League in total chances with second place 45 behind him (#3 in majors)
#1 in putouts in NL
#11 in Errors - Utley and Uggla both have more errors
#2 in Double Plays - Just 3 behind Sanchez


Average??? I wish all of our players were as average as Phillips. I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone who leads the league in putouts and total chances (by a wide margin) and is fairly low in errors can possibly be considered an average defensive second baseman.

RedsManRick
09-12-2007, 11:57 AM
The Soriano comp is interesting. He has a similar basic skill set, but with a little less raw speed and power and much better defensive ability. I still wish they'd get him out of the cleanup spot given the weak OBP, but he's definitely an asset.

No, he's not the offensive force our radio crew would have us believe, but an .800 OPS gold glove middle infielder at league minimum salary is a nice thing to have.

M2
09-12-2007, 12:02 PM
My Favorite possibility is Phillips having more HR's and Steals than he does Walks

Currently he has 30 BB, 28 HR and 29 SB

For guys with over 25 HR and 25 SB in a season that is a rarity.


RUNS CREATED/GAME vs. the league average

WALKS YEAR BB SB HR RC/G PA
1 Alfonso Soriano 2002 23 41 39 1.68 741
2 Ivan Rodriguez 1999 24 25 35 0.72 630
T3 Joe Carter 1987 27 31 32 0.25 629


That's an interesting list. Soriano, Rodriguez and Carter are arguably the three most effective walk-oblivious players to come along over the past two decades (you could include early model Sammy Sosa too, but he took way too many free passes later in his career to fit this mold). That's pretty good company to keep. Hopefully Phillips can continue to be that sort of non-standard, but dangerous player. It bodes well that he's hitting better on the road this season, which means his season isn't so much of a GAB illusion.

On a separate note, is Utley a better defender? I get to see a good bit of him when I'm on summer vacation and, boy, does he look pedestrian out there (which has always been his reputation). I know some defensive systems, though not all, rate him well, but I wonder if he's getting some sort of Nap Lajoie effect there. Obviously Utley's a superior hitter, but I suspect there's a universe of investigation to do on the fielding differences between Utley and Phillips.

Chip R
09-12-2007, 12:03 PM
The radio guys never seem to mention him. ;)

Cyclone792
09-12-2007, 12:26 PM
#12 in base on balls (I guess this is why some don't like him - He just doesn't walk enough)

You left out one of the most important stats in baseball: outs. Phillips is #5 in the NL in outs.

And that's among all NL players, not just second basemen. Two of the guys ahead of Phillips in outs - Rollins and Reyes - have 40 to 60 more plate appearances than Phillips, yet have just a handful more outs. As a result, their PA/out ratio is considerably better than Phillips'.

Not only is Phillips' lack of walks contributing to the outs, but the fact that he's also tied for 2nd in the NL with 24 GIDPs certainly isn't helping either (and he grounded into 19 double plays last season so it's not like this is a fluke). Two years ago Sean Casey grounded into 27 double plays for the season, and the fans/media rode Casey pretty hard about it. Phillips is just three double plays away from matching Casey's 2005 total, and we still have plenty of games to play.

Outs strangle an offense at its core. Outs end innings, they kill rallies in mid-innings, and they greatly limit run production. Phillips slugs very well for a second baseman - that's where his production comes from - but the high out totals are going to limit his production. If Phillips is going to actually be the premier second baseman near a level of Chase Utley, then Phillips is going to have to significantly cut down the amount of outs he makes.

KronoRed
09-12-2007, 01:13 PM
Well said Cyclone :clap:

PuffyPig
09-12-2007, 02:37 PM
As I 've said all year, Phillips is a very good player, but one of the most over rated offensive players around.

He's one guy that could probably bring us a pretty good, young, cheap, but established starter. I would consider it.

registerthis
09-12-2007, 02:49 PM
He's one guy that could probably bring us a pretty good, young, cheap, but established starter. I would consider it.

Consider it, sure.

Pull the trigger on it? Not until I know who's going to be replacing Phillips' offensive production and defensive prowess next season. He might not be the total package some might hold him out to be, but he's darn good. With Junior likely gone during this offseason, I'm not too enamored with an offense that includes Dunn, Hamilton, and a series of question marks.

flyer85
09-12-2007, 03:02 PM
Phillips is an above average 2B. Phillips is overrated by most Reds fans. Phillips should be batting 6th or lower against RHP.

Trying to imagine RHP trying to get through Hamilton/Votto/Jr/Dunn. Of course the Reds would never hit the four of them in a row, afterall, it's not fair if you don't give the starting pitcher a breather.

PuffyPig
09-12-2007, 03:12 PM
Consider it, sure.

Pull the trigger on it? Not until I know who's going to be replacing Phillips' offensive production and defensive prowess next season. He might not be the total package some might hold him out to be, but he's darn good. With Junior likely gone during this offseason, I'm not too enamored with an offense that includes Dunn, Hamilton, and a series of question marks.


He hasn't been that much better this year than Gonzalez with respect to offensive production. I would repalce him with Keppinger, if the right pitcher came along.

Sure I would hate to lose him, but I expect we will anyway, as he's going to price himself out of our market. He's still a .830 OPS guy, which is nice for a secondbaseman, but not as good as his counting stats appear.

registerthis
09-12-2007, 05:07 PM
He hasn't been that much better this year than Gonzalez with respect to offensive production. I would repalce him with Keppinger, if the right pitcher came along.

Replace him with someone who is not as good a defender and has no track record of sustained offensive success? Sorry, I'm not hitching my cart to that horse. Finally, it seems the Reds have found a player who can hold down the second base job for years to come--at relatively little expense--while producing at the plate. I would not be quick to jettison him. My prediction is a year of keppinger at second base would have Reds fans clamoring for a return of BP.

With regards to the AGon comparison, he's having the best season of his life at age 30 (w/ nearly a full runs created/game higher than his previous season high). Phillips is four years younger, cheaper, and producing more. In other words, I wouldn't put much stake in AGon's offensive skills next season, though he's been an admittedly pleasant surprise this year.

M2
09-12-2007, 05:13 PM
Jeff Keppinger's one of those guys who's pretty much guaranteed to get less interesting the more you play him. If someone wants to make an offer I couldn't refuse for Phillips, then, sure, I'd make a deal, but moving Phillips to play Keppinger wouldn't be my aim.

oneupper
09-12-2007, 05:27 PM
I would absolutely be in favor of selling high on BP if it brings in the right return.

His RC/27 is 5.1 this year, which ranks quite low among 2B. His HR total is high, but with a HR/FB of 15.9%, we would be looking at a peak power year from BP.

Substitute him with a Keppinger or similar and you may lose some D, but probably not much in terms of runs (if at all). If you can get a SP who can give you 150-180 IP at 4.50 ERA or better, the run differntial definitely favors the trade.

But can you?

paulrichjr
09-12-2007, 06:26 PM
You left out one of the most important stats in baseball: outs. Phillips is #5 in the NL in outs.

And that's among all NL players, not just second basemen. Two of the guys ahead of Phillips in outs - Rollins and Reyes - have 40 to 60 more plate appearances than Phillips, yet have just a handful more outs. As a result, their PA/out ratio is considerably better than Phillips'.

Not only is Phillips' lack of walks contributing to the outs, but the fact that he's also tied for 2nd in the NL with 24 GIDPs certainly isn't helping either (and he grounded into 19 double plays last season so it's not like this is a fluke). Two years ago Sean Casey grounded into 27 double plays for the season, and the fans/media rode Casey pretty hard about it. Phillips is just three double plays away from matching Casey's 2005 total, and we still have plenty of games to play.

Outs strangle an offense at its core. Outs end innings, they kill rallies in mid-innings, and they greatly limit run production. Phillips slugs very well for a second baseman - that's where his production comes from - but the high out totals are going to limit his production. If Phillips is going to actually be the premier second baseman near a level of Chase Utley, then Phillips is going to have to significantly cut down the amount of outs he makes.

I do not think Phillips is the greatest player in the league. I just don't think you can call him average. He is an above average 2B. He hits for power in a position that often doesn't have power. He makes the routine plays and many more at 2B. I just cannot believe that Phillips is average. A second baseman better than Little Joe? No way. A slight upgrade over Jeff Keppinger? I don't know for sure because Kepp has never proven anything.

This argument to sell high with Phillips makes little sense to me...Phillips was released last season...released! He has improved a lot this year over last and is in just his 2nd full season. I think it is possible that we could be seeing a 2B who improves slightly ver the next 5 years instead of someone who reached his "glory" in his 2nd season.

KronoRed
09-12-2007, 07:16 PM
Trying to imagine RHP trying to get through Hamilton/Votto/Jr/Dunn. Of course the Reds would never hit the four of them in a row, afterall, it's not fair if you don't give the starting pitcher a breather.

Have to live in fear of a loogy late in the game.

RedsManRick
09-12-2007, 07:24 PM
Have to live in fear of a loogy late in the game.

#1 rule of managing: Always have your excuses set up ahead of time.
- Don't pull a starter before it's nearly too late.
- Always use your "closer" if you're within 3 runs.
- R/L/R/L/R wherever possible
- Don't use your best pinch hitter in the 6th inning (runs in the 8th count for more).

God forbid you put your best lineup out there for the first 7 innings... Let them bring in that LOOGY when they're already down by 4.

Superdude
09-12-2007, 10:39 PM
Dang walks! :redface: (I don't know what this red face is trying to imply, but I honestly can't imagine a more fitting circumstance. That doesn't say much for red face.)

Patrick Bateman
09-12-2007, 10:41 PM
Jeff Keppinger's one of those guys who's pretty much guaranteed to get less interesting the more you play him. If someone wants to make an offer I couldn't refuse for Phillips, then, sure, I'd make a deal, but moving Phillips to play Keppinger wouldn't be my aim.

I think that's PP's point. If you get a massive return for Phillips, then having Keppinger start wouldn't be the worst thing to watch.

Phhhl
09-12-2007, 10:43 PM
I'm not arguing with you, but if Chase Utley is a better defensive second baseman than Phillips I am extremely surprised.


As nice as some of Phillips' counting stat totals are this season, he's always going to be Tonto to Chase Utley especially on a national stage. Utley plays better defense and there is some reason to wonder if Phillips' power spike is sustainable. Here are their '07 totals to date compared using BBR's neutralize tool (R/G:4.42):

Phillips: .268/.311/.457 OPS: .768
Utley: .342/.422/.572 OPS: .994

When compared to the rest of the national league or the rest of the majors, Phillips looks pretty much average offensively:

NL average for 2b: .271/.340/.419 OPS: .759
ML average for 2b: .277/.340/.417 .OPS: 758

A quick look at UZR and PMR for Brandon at second (using data from '06 thru the '07 ASB so the sample is relatively small) suggests Phillips is probably a slightly above average defender.


I'm one who tends to think Phillips is overrated by some Reds fans. He's a nice player for the Reds and represents a great value at his current salary but talk of GGs and comparisons to Joe Morgan seem inappropriate to me.

EDIT: The NL is currently a scoring environment defined by R/G=4.67; Here is BP's season adjusted for such a scoring environment in a neutral park using BBR's nuetralize tool (adjusting for R/G= 4.42 dinged Phillips unfairly relative to his peers this season):

.273/.316/.469 OPS: .785

By this standard, Phillips gets a roughly 3 RC boost and over his 571 ABs and is slightly above average offensively relative to his peers bat at second base.

I think the original conclusion still stands though.

redsrule2500
09-12-2007, 11:45 PM
Typical Redszone talk...player doing good, let's trade him!

Blitz Dorsey
09-13-2007, 12:42 AM
I don't need to see any stats -- Phillips is better defensively than Utley.

I can't believe there is even an argument about whether or not Phillips is "average" compared to other MLB second basemen. He is without a doubt above average and by a considerable margin. "Average" would be exactly the 15th best starting 2B in MLB and Phillips is at least top 10.

1. Utley

Then the other 9 in no particular order: Uggla, Phillips, Cano, Figgins, Kent, Roberts, Kinsler, Hudson, Sanchez.

So, you could make the argument that Phillips is actually at least top 5 looking at that list. But no question he's at least top 10, so saying he's "average" is not at all accurate.

KronoRed
09-13-2007, 01:38 AM
Typical Redszone talk...player doing good, let's trade him!

Hey..people said "no way don't trade him" about Lopez during his big 2005, we held and lost.

SteelSD
09-13-2007, 09:23 AM
I don't need to see any stats -- Phillips is better defensively than Utley.

I can't believe there is even an argument about whether or not Phillips is "average" compared to other MLB second basemen. He is without a doubt above average and by a considerable margin. "Average" would be exactly the 15th best starting 2B in MLB and Phillips is at least top 10.

1. Utley

Then the other 9 in no particular order: Uggla, Phillips, Cano, Figgins, Kent, Roberts, Kinsler, Hudson, Sanchez.

So, you could make the argument that Phillips is actually at least top 5 looking at that list. But no question he's at least top 10, so saying he's "average" is not at all accurate.

Runs Above Position:

1. Chase Utley- 39.8
2. Kelly Johnson- 21.2
3. Placido Polanco- 20.1
4. Brian Roberts- 19.7
5. Jeff Kent- 16.2
6. Ian Kinsler- 12.5
7. Orlando Hudson- 11.9
8. Dustin Pedroia- 10.7
9. Freddy Sanchez- 10.6
10. Brandon Phillips- 9.7
11. Robinson Cano- 9.3
12. Dan Uggla- 8.5
13. Rickie Weeks- 6.9

To this point in the season, Brandon Phillips has produced @10 more Runs than the MLB average Second Baseman would have given the same number of Outs produced. The problem is that only Uggla (439 Outs) has produced more at the position than Phillips (429 Outs). In comparison, Dustin Pedroia looks similar at 10.7 RAP, but he's only needed 314 Outs. Equalize for Outs, and even Rickie Weeks jumps over Phillips' RAP.

It's just the way Phillips' game plays. Unless he improves his BB rate, he projects to consistently perform in the range of slightly-below to slightly-above average going forward. There's nothing at all wrong with a proficient defensive 2B having that kind of offensive game. But we need to see it for what it is.

lollipopcurve
09-13-2007, 09:32 AM
Phillips is young -- he is very likely to improve (while some of the older guys on the list decline). That, and the fact that he kills lefties, makes him extremely valuable to the Reds, who are likely to continue trotting out a lineup that managers like to throw lefties at. Factor in his popularity with fans, and I think you have a keeper.

registerthis
09-13-2007, 09:47 AM
I'd rather keep our young, good players, thank you. (With the always-present caveat that, yes, if the Reds are bowled over by some offer for Phillips, you deal him.) I think the trade-off in talent between Phillips and Keppinger would be more severe than people like to believe. Kepp is one of those fan-favorite type players who plays hard and, for a time at least, looks to be a viable long term option. But much like guys such as Ryan Freel and Chris Stynes, his game's got more bark than bite.

Phillips isn't the be all-end all, but he's pretty dang good. And I've seen enough mediocre production at the second base position from the Reds over the years to learn to appreciate what the Reds have in Phillips--a plus offensive and defensive player who's young. Sure, his OBP could improve, and it'd be nice if he didn't come to the plate hacking at everything the pitcher throws up there, but Phillips brings a lot of positives to this team, and the idea of him solidifying the second base job for the coming seasons is refreshing (as opposed to the Pokey Reese's and D'Angelo Jimenez's of the world).

The Reds picked up Phillips for a song, and he's been shockingly good. I'd prefer the Reds hang onto those types of players, rather than simply looking to jettison them for the Next Big Thing.

SteelSD
09-13-2007, 09:52 AM
Phillips is young -- he is very likely to improve (while some of the older guys on the list decline). That, and the fact that he kills lefties, makes him extremely valuable to the Reds, who are likely to continue trotting out a lineup that managers like to throw lefties at. Factor in his popularity with fans, and I think you have a keeper.

While I'm not advocating a trade including Phillips, I think we need to be realistic about the extent of his potential improvement. I'd suggest he's pretty near maxed out his power potential. The real area of opportunity is his BB rate, but then we'd be asking a player who's never been really good at that to suddenly get really good at that. Alfonso Soriano couldn't do it. Jose Reyes hasn't really done it. Phillips? Color me skeptical.

As for the other names on the list, I consider Polanco the only real outlier (career year). Kent is old, sure. But other than those two, no one else on that list has turned 30 yet. If the D-Rays give 2B to B.J. Upton, there's another name added to the list well above Phillips.

Phillips is pretty good. And he may be popular. But he also should be eminently touchable if the right offer rolls in.

registerthis
09-13-2007, 10:09 AM
The real area of opportunity is his BB rate, but then we'd be asking a player who's never been really good at that to suddenly get really good at that.

I guess my question would be: do we want him to? If Brandon can spend the next several years hitting 30 HRs, knocking in 90, scoring 100 runs, stealing 30, OPSing in the mid-800s and playing good defense, how much does a poor walk rate hurt him?

This seems to me not all that dissimilar to the arguments made about Dunn and his Ks. That being: if Phillips adjusts his batting style to become more pitch-selective, would his power numbers suffer? Suppose he could double his walk rate--how much would his other offensive numbers be affected? You could argue "not much" because, ostensibly, he'd be laying off pitches he couldn't otherwise handle. But I think the possibility also exists that he might end up laying off pitches he *could* do something with because he's focusing on upping his BB rate. To me, it's not just a question of whether or not Phillips *could* make the necessary adjustments to walk more, it's whether he *should*. I think we're pretty much in agreement that what we're seeing with Phillips is what you get (with perhaps a slight opportunity for improvement), but I don't know that I'd be clamoring for BP to focus too much on his walk rate. If he's capable of replicating this season's numbers several more times, then that's enough for me.

westofyou
09-13-2007, 10:10 AM
I guess my question would be: do we want him to? If Brandon can spend the next several years hitting 30 HRs, knocking in 90, scoring 100 runs, stealing 30, OPSing in the mid-800s and playing good defense, how much does a poor walk rate hurt him?

Until he gets real expensive he doesn't hurt anything IMO.

Think Aaron Boone... but with talent.

lollipopcurve
09-13-2007, 10:12 AM
but then we'd be asking a player who's never been really good at that to suddenly get really good at that. Alfonso Soriano couldn't do it. Jose Reyes hasn't really done it. Phillips? Color me skeptical.

I said he's likely to improve -- was there a suggestion that he'd get "really good" at taking a walk?


If the D-Rays give 2B to B.J. Upton, there's another name added to the list well above Phillips.

Not happening.


Phillips is pretty good. And he may be popular. But he also should be eminently touchable if the right offer rolls in.

10th in the majors in runs above position = pretty good? Where does Dunn stand for all leftfielders? Does this measure take defense into account?

Sure, if the right offer comes along, you trade anybody. But if I'm Wayne Krivsky, on my Brandon Phillips winter to-do list I've got "contract extension," not "take to arbitration" and not "shop for pitching."

SteelSD
09-13-2007, 10:33 AM
I guess my question would be: do we want him to? If Brandon can spend the next several years hitting 30 HRs, knocking in 90, scoring 100 runs, stealing 30, OPSing in the mid-800s and playing good defense, how much does a poor walk rate hurt him?

This seems to me not all that dissimilar to the arguments made about Dunn and his Ks. That being: if Phillips adjusts his batting style to become more pitch-selective, would his power numbers suffer? Suppose he could double his walk rate--how much would his other offensive numbers be affected? You could argue "not much" because, ostensibly, he'd be laying off pitches he couldn't otherwise handle. But I think the possibility also exists that he might end up laying off pitches he *could* do something with because he's focusing on upping his BB rate. To me, it's not just a question of whether or not Phillips *could* make the necessary adjustments to walk more, it's whether he *should*. I think we're pretty much in agreement that what we're seeing with Phillips is what you get (with perhaps a slight opportunity for improvement), but I don't know that I'd be clamoring for BP to focus too much on his walk rate. If he's capable of replicating this season's numbers several more times, then that's enough for me.

Don't get me wrong- I'm fine with having Brandon Phillips around. I like him and I don't have a problem with his offensive game. It is what it is. It's just that he profiles like a guy who can be sold high at some point.


I said he's likely to improve -- was there a suggestion that he'd get "really good" at taking a walk?

Improving his BB rate is pretty much Phillips' only real area of opportunity unless we believe that he's got the potential to someday hit .330 or swat 40 home runs.


Not happening.

Upton to 2B might not happen. But then, B.J. Upton has played more games at 2B this season than any other D-Rays player. So, then again, it might. I'd keep him in CF, but we have to remember that the D-Rays aren't exactly the brightest team on the planet.


10th in the majors in runs above position = pretty good? Where does Dunn stand for all leftfielders? Does this measure take defense into account?

Dunn ranks fourth behind Bonds, Holliday, and Pat Burrell. And no, defense is not involved. But then, I already think Phillips is good defensively so I'm not sure what you're getting at other than you think I think Adam Dunn is a top-tier offensive player at his position (which he is) and that Brandon Phillips isn't (and he's not). Not sure what one has to do with the other though.


Sure, if the right offer comes along, you trade anybody. But if I'm Wayne Krivsky, on my Brandon Phillips winter to-do list I've got "contract extension," not "take to arbitration" and not "shop for pitching."

I think you misunderstand me. I'm not saying that Krivsky needs to "shop" Phillips. All I'm saying is that if another team comes a callin' with a desperate need at 2B and a surplus of pitching, then Krivsky should be listening.

lollipopcurve
09-13-2007, 11:35 AM
Improving his BB rate is pretty much Phillips' only real area of opportunity unless we believe that he's got the potential to someday hit .330 or swat 40 home runs.

He can improve in many areas -- since he's got most of his career ahead of him, I'd expect he'll have years where he hits more home runs or for a higher average than he will this year -- but walk rate is where he has the most room to grow, for sure. And I fully expect he'll do that.


But then, B.J. Upton has played more games at 2B this season than any other D-Rays player. So, then again, it might. I'd keep him in CF, but we have to remember that the D-Rays aren't exactly the brightest team on the planet.

Well, they moved him off 2B and into center months ago and haven't looked back, so they must know something. With Longoria on the way (and Brignac still a nice prospect), Iwamura and Harris looking solid, and former CF talents Baldelli and Dukes either chronically hurt or suspended, I don't see any scenario whereby Upton comes back to the infield.


Dunn ranks fourth behind Bonds, Holliday, and Pat Burrell. And no, defense is not involved. But then, I already think Phillips is good defensively so I'm not sure what you're getting at other than you think I think Adam Dunn is a top-tier offensive player at his position (which he is) and that Brandon Phillips isn't (and he's not). Not sure what one has to do with the other though.

My point is that if you factor in defense (not to mention baserunning), Phillips and Dunn probably reside in the same echelon relative to their positional peers. For me, that makes Brandon Phillips better than "pretty good." No problem disagreeing with you there.


I'm not saying that Krivsky needs to "shop" Phillips. All I'm saying is that if another team comes a callin' with a desperate need at 2B and a surplus of pitching, then Krivsky should be listening.

No doubt, as with any player. But, if I were Krivsky I'd be trying to get Phillips to sign on for the next 3-4 years, during his prime, buying out most of his arbitration time -- and if BP wanted some kind of no-trade clause in order to sign, I'd definitely negotiate that in.

Puffy
09-13-2007, 11:49 AM
While I'm not advocating a trade including Phillips, I think we need to be realistic about the extent of his potential improvement. I'd suggest he's pretty near maxed out his power potential. The real area of opportunity is his BB rate, but then we'd be asking a player who's never been really good at that to suddenly get really good at that. Alfonso Soriano couldn't do it. Jose Reyes hasn't really done it. Phillips? Color me skeptical.



I'm interested how you can say Reyes hasn't really done it - in 2005 (at age 22) he walked 27 times. In 2006 (age 23) he nearly doubled his total to 53. This year, at age 24, he already has 67 and projects to over 75.

His OBP went from 30 points above his BA, to 50+ over his BA, to this year where he currently has a .292 BA and a .363 OBP. Thats a significant increase each year at a very young age. He is still three years from his peak.

M2
09-13-2007, 11:50 AM
IMO, Phillips complements more patients sticks like Dunn and Hatteberg quite well. Phillips creates a completely different set of problems for an opponent and gives the Reds a more well-rounded attack. I like that. I also recognize that Keppinger-Gonzalez keystone could fall to right near the bottom of the pile in terms of production. I highly value up-the-middle talent and right now Phillips strikes me as the lone stalwart in the Reds' C-2B-SS-CF mix.

So while Phillips wouldn't be on my untouchable list (where only Aaron Harang and Jay Bruce would reside), he'd be at the top of my everyone else list.

CaiGuy
09-13-2007, 11:57 AM
I don't think that his walk totals will ever significantly increase, but I could see his average improving (right around .300), bumping his OBP up a few points. It might not ever be great, but shouldn't be abysmal.

RedsManRick
09-13-2007, 12:03 PM
The more I learn about the game, the more I value above average offensive production from plus defenders up the middle. It's simply so hard to come by relative to production on the corners, that I'm very hesitant to let it go -- particularly when it's cheap. How many players at CF/SS/2B are at least average both offensively and defensively? How much do those guys get paid? If if you consider him average at both offense and defense, that combination makes him above average in terms of overall value.

My biggest complaint is that he's miscast as a cleanup hitter, particularly against righties. Bat him 6th or 7th vs righties and 2nd vs lefties and he'd be even more productive. Just watching him, he seems to fancy himself a bit too much of a power hitter, swinging from his heels with the bases empty.

Interestingly, against lefties this year, he has 15 homers but just 8 doubles in 203 PA compared to 14 HR and 16 doubles in 435 PA against righties. Not sure what to make of that, and given the sample size it's likely meaningless, but interesting still.

I know the Soriano comp was made earlier, but another comp that comes to mind is Jacque Jones. Jones is a lefty of course, but he also has a pretty crazy split and fancies himself as a slugger. He was miscast in MN, often leading off, when his skill set suggested a solid down order hitter.

CaiGuy
09-13-2007, 12:07 PM
The more I learn about the game, the more I value above average offensive production from plus defenders up the middle. It's simply so hard to come by relative to production on the corners, that I'm very hesitant to let it go -- particularly when it's cheap. How many players at CF/SS/2B are at least average both offensively and defensively? How much do those guys get paid? If if you consider him average at both offense and defense, that combination makes him above average in terms of overall value.

My biggest complaint is that he's miscast as a cleanup hitter, particularly against righties. Bat him 6th or 7th vs righties and 2nd vs lefties and he'd be even more productive. Just watching him, he seems to fancy himself a bit too much of a power hitter.

Interestingly, against lefties this year, he has 15 homers but just 8 doubles in 203 PA compared to 14 HR and 16 doubles in 435 PA against righties. Not sure what to make of that, and given the sample size it's likely meaningless, but interesting still.

I know the Soriano comp was made earlier, but another comp that comes to mind is Jacque Jones. Jones is a lefty of course, but he also has a pretty crazy split and fancies himself as a slugger. He was miscast in MN, often leading off, when his skill set suggested a solid down order hitter.

Yeah, the hitting fourth thing bugs me too. I think he would make a great 5th hitter (where his OBP wouldn't matter as much) right behind Dunn and Griffey. Let come up with the bases clogged with good on base guys and take advantage of his contact and hits (not the other way around).

registerthis
09-13-2007, 12:08 PM
So while Phillips wouldn't be on my untouchable list (where only Aaron Harang and Jay Bruce would reside), he'd be at the top of my everyone else list.

That's my position as well.

SteelSD
09-13-2007, 12:13 PM
He can improve in many areas -- since he's got most of his career ahead of him, I'd expect he'll have years where he hits more home runs or for a higher average than he will this year -- but walk rate is where he has the most room to grow, for sure. And I fully expect he'll do that.

As long as you realize that's the most difficult thing for a hitter to do when they possess Phillips' skill set.


Well, they moved him off 2B and into center months ago and haven't looked back, so they must know something. With Longoria on the way (and Brignac still a nice prospect), Iwamura and Harris looking solid, and former CF talents Baldelli and Dukes either chronically hurt or suspended, I don't see any scenario whereby Upton comes back to the infield.

Brendan Harris has experienced a severe dropoff over the last coupld of months. You may be right about Upton never seeing 2B again, but the possibility is still there should an OF logjam force the D-Ray's hand. But I think we agree it's best to keep Upton off 2B.


My point is that if you factor in defense (not to mention baserunning), Phillips and Dunn probably reside in the same echelon relative to their positional peers. For me, that makes Brandon Phillips better than "pretty good." No problem disagreeing with you there.

Adam Dunn ranks 10th among 19 qualified MLB left fielders in Zone Rating. Phillips ranks 13th among 24 qualified second basemen. The Reds rank 27th in DER. It's not just the outfield that's causing that low ranking.

Brandon Phillips is a guy who uses a ton of Outs to produce fairly impressive volume power and speed stats for a second baseman. Defensively, he has a flair for the dramatic. He's marketable and fun to watch. But he also projects to be volatile with the bat rather than progressive in a linear fashion given his skill set. None of that means he's an undesirable player. Again, I like him. I just like him less than you do. No biggie.


No doubt, as with any player. But, if I were Krivsky I'd be trying to get Phillips to sign on for the next 3-4 years, during his prime, buying out most of his arbitration time -- and if BP wanted some kind of no-trade clause in order to sign, I'd definitely negotiate that in.

I'll have to respectfully disagree as to giving a low-IsoD hitter with so little service time any kind of NTC. Contract extension, sure. But the way he projects, a team would be well served to keep him available. Phillips is a nice to-have, but he's not untouchable nor is he irreplaceable.

Cyclone792
09-13-2007, 12:15 PM
Yeah, the hitting fourth thing bugs me too. I think he would make a great 5th hitter (where his OBP wouldn't matter as much) right behind Dunn and Griffey. Let come up with the bases clogged with good on base guys and take advantage of his contact and hits (not the other way around).

In my ideal offensive lineup, Brandon Phillips bats 6th.

You actually want solid on-base percentage batting 5th since hitters in the 5th slot leadoff more innings than every other slot except the actual leadoff hitter (5th hitters oftentimes leadoff the 2nd inning). Once down to 6th, however, the lower on-base percentage hurts an offense a bit less, and the good slugging percentage would do wonders with a bunch of higher on-base guys on base already.

In thinking what the Reds could have next season, I'd probably toy with a lineup like this ...

RF Hamilton (or 1B Votto)
3B Encarnacion
CF Bruce
LF Dunn
1B Votto (or RF Hamilton)
2B Phillips
SS Gonzalez
C Valentin/Ross

Granted, that's some outside-of-the-box thinking that the Reds will likely never utilize, but it's the type of lineup I'd love to see on a nightly basis. If Ryan Freel isn't playing (or is playing but not getting on base), then the team doesn't have a typical leadoff guy. Hamilton's been fine batting leadoff, but he does have some nice power to utilize in the middle of the lineup. Batting a guy like Votto leadoff would require a huge pair, because I doubt he'd be thought of as a leadoff hitter since he's not terribly fast. But he'll walk, and he'll get on base so it's something I'd think long and hard about.

If the above players hit like we think they should (I know, a huge IF), then that lineup could do some serious damage.

SteelSD
09-13-2007, 12:20 PM
I'm interested how you can say Reyes hasn't really done it - in 2005 (at age 22) he walked 27 times. In 2006 (age 23) he nearly doubled his total to 53. This year, at age 24, he already has 67 and projects to over 75.

His OBP went from 30 points above his BA, to 50+ over his BA, to this year where he currently has a .292 BA and a .363 OBP. Thats a significant increase each year at a very young age. He is still three years from his peak.

13 of Reyes' walks this season have been of the Intentional variety. At the minor league level, Reyes produced a BB rate of 1 BB for every 12.90 AB. So far, at the MLB level it's 1BB/14.75 AB. Removing his IBB from this year's total gives us a seasonal MLB peak BB rate of 1BB/11.22 AB.

I had a discussion with M2 about Reyes BB rate back in the day. I feel I underestimated Reyes a bit. Reyes has improved his natural BB rate a bit. However, Reyes has yet to significantly improve his walk rate. Might he considering his age? Yep. I concede that. But he hasn't done it yet.

M2
09-13-2007, 12:24 PM
Next year's lineup should be fascinating. Obviously it depends on who's here, but how much cover do they want to give Votto? For instance, he could be a tasty #2 hitter.

The group Cyclone has above offers some diverse talents (and could be really interesting if the Reds upgrade at catcher). One of the nice things about Phillips is that his thump and run approach fits in nicely with some of the more patient LH sticks on the team. It creates a lot of workable combinations.

M2
09-13-2007, 12:38 PM
13 of Reyes' walks this season have been of the Intentional variety. At the minor league level, Reyes produced a BB rate of 1 BB for every 12.90 AB. So far, at the MLB level it's 1BB/14.75 AB. Removing his IBB from this year's total gives us a seasonal MLB peak BB rate of 1BB/11.22 AB.

I had a discussion with M2 about Reyes BB rate back in the day. I feel I underestimated Reyes a bit. Reyes has improved his natural BB rate a bit. However, Reyes has yet to significantly improve his walk rate. Might he considering his age? Yep. I concede that. But he hasn't done it yet.

I figure improvement in this area is done at crawl speed. Reyes seems to be aware of the value of a BB, which is probably the key thing. Reyes' walk rate is better than Barry Larkin's at the same age. So if he follows that model, his peak BB years will probably be in his early 30s and even then he may never break the century mark. Yet 80+ BB a year with a good BA, extra base power and crazy speed nets you a pretty good player.

As for Phillips, I sort of doubt he's headed in that direction. Soriano, Pudge and Carter seem to be better comps for him. I'm fine if that's where he settles in. His key will be the .280+ BA to unlock the benefits of his power and speed.

RedsManRick
09-13-2007, 01:34 PM
I love the idea of Votto as a leadoff guy versus righties. Good approach, solid power, good enough speed and it lets us make better use of Hamilton's power.

Against a righty, I'd just stack the lefties and beat them in to submission:

Votto
Hamilton
Dunn
Bruce (Jr if not traded)
EE
Phillips
AGone
Valentin/Ross

Against the lefties, I'd go:
Freel/Hopper
Phillips
Bruce/Jr
EE
Dunn
Gonzalez
Votto
Valentin/Ross

Also, a thought on the walk rate issue. If you move forward with the basic premise that a good plate approach is one in which the batter works the count to get a pitch he can hit and then hits it, then a guy with the hand/eye of a guy like Reyes would not only lend itself to fewer walks (more hittable pitches), but asking him to refine his zone may harm him.

That is, where a guy like Dunn might have a decent sized zone in which he can crush the ball and a larger zone in which he can put the ball in play, there is extra incentive to work the count further in order to get that ball he can crush versus simply the one he can put in to play.

For a guy like Reyes, that "crush" zone might be really small, but the in play zone is larger. Thus, there are more pitches he sees that are more or less equal. There is less incentive to waiting for a better pitch, since the likelihood of getting a truly better pitch is lessened.

For Reyes, it doesn't matter whether he pushes the ball on the outside half in to the RF gap or pulls the one on his hands down the LF line. For Dunn, the ball on the outside half might be a flick in to LF for a single versus turning on the one on his hands for a 450' bomb.

Reyes might as well take a cut at the first hittable pitch he sees, where as Dunn is incentivized to wait for something less marginal until he's got 2 strikes on him. My problem with Phillips is that I think he's really more Reyes than Dunn, but doesn't realize it.

Of course, my perception could be completely wrong. I'd love to see a spray chart for BP -- especially one broken out by pitch count.

Rojo
09-13-2007, 09:28 PM
Perhaps we should shop him to a team that needs speed, right-handed power and rangier fielders.

BCubb2003
09-13-2007, 10:13 PM
Brandon Phillips has more home runs than any AL outfielder this year.

oregonred
09-14-2007, 12:02 AM
Brandon Phillips has more home runs than any AL outfielder this year.

That's unbelieveable.

RedsManRick
09-14-2007, 12:10 AM
For ALL MLB OF, Dunn leads the way with 38. Griffey is tied with Matt Holiday and Chris B. Young for 2nd place at 30. Pretty crazy.

The other guys with 30+...

ARod, 3B: 52
Fielder, 1B: 44
Pena, 1B: 39 (raise your hand if you had Carlos Pena for 40+ HR)
Howard, 1B: 38
Ortiz, 1B/DH: 31
Cabrera, 3B: 31
Pujols, 1B: 30
Braun, 3B: 30

The idea that guys who hit 30 HR and drive in 100 RBI are fairly easy to come by is simply a myth.

There are 24 guys across all of baseball with an OPS of over .900 (qualified for a batting title). There are 66 between .800 and .900. Even so, that's 3 qualified .800+ OPS guys per team. Should help give some perspective on the value of a 150+ game .900 OPS bat.

Blitz Dorsey
09-14-2007, 12:12 AM
Man, Carlos Pena has a better HGH hookup than I thought.

oregonred
09-14-2007, 12:21 AM
For ALL MLB OF, Dunn leads the way with 38. Griffey is tied with Matt Holiday and Chris B. Young for 2nd place at 30. Pretty crazy.

The other guys with 30+...

ARod, 3B: 52
Fielder, 1B: 44
Pena, 1B: 39 (raise your hand if you had Carlos Pena for 40+ HR)
Howard, 1B: 38
Ortiz, 1B/DH: 31
Cabrera, 3B: 31
Pujols, 1B: 30
Braun, 3B: 30

The idea that guys who hit 30 HR and drive in 100 RBI are fairly easy to come by is simply a myth.

There are 24 guys across all of baseball with an OPS of over .900 (qualified for a batting title). There are 66 between .800 and .900. Even so, that's 3 qualified .800+ OPS guys per team. Should help give some perspective on the value of a 150+ game .900 OPS bat.

This whole steroid focus has just killed those AL OF's HR totals the last couple of seasons :)

One would think the demand for KGJ and Dunn in the offseason should be quite high from several AL teams. Jr's contract is very manageable at this point.

Blitz Dorsey
09-14-2007, 12:29 AM
This whole steroid focus has just killed those AL OF's HR totals the last couple of seasons :)

One would think the demand for KGJ and Dunn in the offseason should be quite high from several AL teams. Jr's contract is very manageable at this point.

I hope you're right, but that sounds like wishful thinking. From everything we've heard, the market was bare for both of them this year at the deadline and what's an extra half-year of salary? I can't imagine a lot will change this offseason, but I hope I'm wrong. I'll host a party for all Old Red Guard members if we get a good starting pitcher in exchange for Griffey this offseason. I don't even have to check with my wife first because I know it's not happening.

fearofpopvol1
09-14-2007, 01:47 AM
I hope you're right, but that sounds like wishful thinking. From everything we've heard, the market was bare for both of them this year at the deadline and what's an extra half-year of salary? I can't imagine a lot will change this offseason, but I hope I'm wrong. I'll host a party for all Old Red Guard members if we get a good starting pitcher in exchange for Griffey this offseason. I don't even have to check with my wife first because I know it's not happening.

Part of it too those is the attraction of 600. Maybe even more importantly, knock on wood, Junior's first healthy season in 8ish years?

RedsManRick
09-14-2007, 09:40 AM
34 guys hit 30+ HR last year, including 14 OF. It is pretty interesting how down the numbers are. Sure, we could get another 10-12 guys this year, but that's still only about half as many as last year.

flyer85
09-14-2007, 09:47 AM
That's unbelieveable.it's the twilight of the PED era in baseball.

RedsManRick
09-14-2007, 10:41 AM
I've actually been of the opinion that the inflated numbers were not as tied to PEDs as the media would have us believe. That said, given another year or two of this level of power reduction and it'll be hard not to draw some pretty damning conclusions.

One thing that I find very interesting is that you don't see Jay Bell hitting 38 HR, Luis Gonzalez hitting 57, Javy Lopez hitting 43, Bret Boone hitting 37, etc. All the guys hitting lots of HR are actually power hitters.

Roy Tucker
09-14-2007, 10:54 AM
I'll host a party for all Old Red Guard members if we get a good starting pitcher in exchange for Griffey this offseason.

I think you should have it on top of the riverboat out in CF at GABP. *That* would be a party.

Be careful with your bets. Someone lost a first-born son in RZ once.

KronoRed
09-14-2007, 01:52 PM
it's the twilight of the PED era in baseball.

Next, the return of the juiced ball.

oregonred
09-14-2007, 01:57 PM
34 guys hit 30+ HR last year, including 14 OF. It is pretty interesting how down the numbers are. Sure, we could get another 10-12 guys this year, but that's still only about half as many as last year.

Which is why one would think that pure, untainted power guys like Dunn and KGJ would have INCREASED value in the offseason vs. say a year ago.

30+ guaranteed HR guys are now fewer and far between post steroid era (KGJ is one of a reduced pool in this group). Dunn being a guaranteed 40+ HR guy now puts him in the company of a small pool of about 5-6 guys across both leagues.

Chicks dig the longball, but one would also think a few GMs should also suddenly be digging (valuing) it a lot more than a couple years ago.

Blitz Dorsey
09-14-2007, 03:26 PM
Which is why one would think that pure, untainted power guys like Dunn and KGJ would have INCREASED value in the offseason vs. say a year ago.

30+ guaranteed HR guys are now fewer and far between post steroid era (KGJ is one of a reduced pool in this group). Dunn being a guaranteed 40+ HR guy now puts him in the company of a small pool of about 5-6 guys across both leagues.

Chicks dig the longball, but one would also think a few GMs should also suddenly be digging (valuing) it a lot more than a couple years ago.

Again, I think that's wishful thinking. The Reds had both of them on the market with no takers a couple months ago (and yeah I know Junior could have vetoed any deal). I'm not sure that much has changed, but I hope you're right.

New Fever
09-14-2007, 04:41 PM
34 guys hit 30+ HR last year, including 14 OF. It is pretty interesting how down the numbers are. Sure, we could get another 10-12 guys this year, but that's still only about half as many as last year.


Actually, 27 players project to hit 30 HR's this year, only down 7 from last year and in 2005 only 27 players hit 30 HR's. Now if the arguement was 40 HR's, then that is where you will see the drop off. In 2005, 9 players hit 40 HR's and in 2006 11 players hit 40 HR's. This year only 5 players have a legit chance of making it to 40.