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lollipopcurve
06-27-2011, 09:36 AM
Can any of our great Mudcats followers give us a better understanding of what is going on with Denis Phipps?

And beyond the apparent breakout at the plate, is he a good defender in CF? How about baserunning?

Thanks for the closeup perspective!

muddie
06-27-2011, 10:22 AM
I know Phipps is spending additional time with Ryan Jackson, the Mudcats batting coach. He is a better hitter than what he was the beginning of the year. He's over his head right now and you know he will come back to earth. If he could stay in the .280-.310 range he would be what this team needs. I think he is really working to make up for the first part of the season and is a really big surprise now.
I would rate him average in the field and probably a tad below average base runner. He is not gifted with speed.

cinreds21
06-27-2011, 01:13 PM
He has a great arm (as does Felix Perez) but Phipps is more suited in right because he cannot cover as much ground as needed in center.

Edd Roush
06-27-2011, 01:40 PM
Would anyone even consider Phipps a prospect? He is 25 years old and hasn't done much outside of this recent tear. Is his ceiling a 5th outfielder on a major league team? I have never seen him play and his career stats do not look good.

cinreds21
06-27-2011, 01:50 PM
He's never put up numbers for a full season. He's showing what he can do during this big stretch, it's just which Phipps is he? This is his seventh year of pro ball. Maybe he's a late bloomer and is figuring it out right before us, but maybe not. And his ceiling right now is what you said, a fourth or fifth outfielder.

dougdirt
06-27-2011, 02:00 PM
Phipps didn't grow up playing baseball and has always been considered to be quite toolsy but pretty raw. Maybe the light just finally clicked like it does with some guys.

muddie
06-27-2011, 02:23 PM
The second half of this season should go a long way in answering the questions posed about this guy. He has set himself up nicely in the past month and it is up to him to prove he's for real at this point. Maybe we're all lucky and he is a late bloomer as has been suggested.

muddie
06-28-2011, 09:52 PM
Denis Phipps selected Southern League Hitter of the Week for June 20-26. Very well deserved.

sigep529
06-28-2011, 11:51 PM
Watched him play against the TN Smokies tonight outside of Knoxville. I had to leave in the fifth because my daughter was getting restless... But Phipps had a HR and a triple.

He came off as the second most impressive player on the field behind Grandal (HARD single off the wall in right, a 3RBI double, and a bullet right at the 3RD baseman). It was a 10-7 game when we left... so the offense might have been inflated by the arms on the mound. Both guys looked pretty good though.

muddie
07-18-2011, 08:26 PM
For the second time in four weeks Denis Phipps has been named the Southern League's hitter of the week! Neftali Soto was the hitter of the week last week so that makes three of the last four weeks the Mudcats have had the hitter of the week.

lollipopcurve
08-18-2011, 10:48 AM
Had to bump this because this guy's breakout will not quit.

Now at .361/.398/.629/1.027 in AAA.

He's still got some raw in him, but the seemless transition to AAA, plus a few scattered comments over the years about his ceiling, makes me wonder whether Phipps could be a better player long-term than Stubbs. At this point, I'd think he'd be giving the organization pause in its thinking about giving Stubbs a long-term deal.

The little video I can find of him shows a nice RH line-drive hack that generates good backspin. I'd be interested in any first-hand impressions from folks who have seen him play.

mace
08-18-2011, 11:39 AM
In terms of production, Phipps appears to be this year's Sappelt. Of course, there are significant differences. Sappelt's season was continuous. Phipps' is a result of a monstrous, protracted run after a very lackluster start. Sappelt had a history of hitting. Phipps doesn't. In the outfield, Sappelt is all speed, no arm. Phipps is adequate speed (from what I can glean) and fabulous arm. But the breakout factor is similar.

I'm not sure, though, about the Stubbs question. I'm not the biggest Stubbs fan--I think his trade value may be greater than his field value--but I'd be nervous about anointing Phipps at this stage. Tough call. On the other hand, the odds of replacing Stubbs' contribution with some combination of Sappelt, Heisey and Phipps seem pretty dang solid. Too bad they're all right-handed hitters.

lollipopcurve
08-18-2011, 11:56 AM
I'm not sure, though, about the Stubbs question. I'm not the biggest Stubbs fan--I think his trade value may be greater than his field value--but I'd be nervous about anointing Phipps at this stage. Tough call. On the other hand, the odds of replacing Stubbs' contribution with some combination of Sappelt, Heisey and Phipps seem pretty dang solid. Too bad they're all right-handed hitters.

Well put. Question becomes, if there's a solid offer out there for Stubbs (by way of pitching, preferably), do you pull the trigger? I think I would.

RedsManRick
08-18-2011, 01:33 PM
If I'm doing the math right, Phipps has a .436 BABIP across AA-AAA this year. I don't see a Sappelt like breakout here. I see a .260/.320/.400 hitter who's shown a touch more power and had a ton of luck.

The contact rate is still mediocre. BB:K ratio hasn't budged. His speed isn't' such that he's an infield single freak. Same guy, flukish results.

Sappelt's 2010 stats were mildly inflated by some good luck, but generally supported by his peripherals and his 2011 stats were in line with peripherals. Not really a good comp for Philpps.

Superdude
08-18-2011, 01:50 PM
If I'm doing the math right, Phipps has a .436 BABIP across AA-AAA this year. I don't see a Sappelt like breakout here. I see a .260/.320/.400 hitter who's shown a touch more power and had a ton of luck.

The contact rate is still mediocre. BB:K ratio hasn't budged. His speed isn't' such that he's an infield single freak. Same guy, flukish results.

Sappelt's 2010 stats were mildly inflated by some good luck, but generally supported by his peripherals and his 2011 stats were in line with peripherals. Not really a good comp for Philpps.

This. I'm not really banking on Phipps at all at this point. I'm pretty sure he doesn't have the speed for centerfield, and barring improvement, he shouldn't be getting PT over Heisey or Sappelt in left.

lollipopcurve
08-18-2011, 01:54 PM
If I'm doing the math right, Phipps has a .436 BABIP across AA-AAA this year. I don't see a Sappelt like breakout here. I see a .260/.320/.400 hitter who's shown a touch more power and had a ton of luck.

The contact rate is still mediocre. BB:K ratio hasn't budged. His speed isn't' such that he's an infield single freak. Same guy, flukish results.

Sappelt's 2010 stats were mildly inflated by some good luck, but generally supported by his peripherals and his 2011 stats were in line with peripherals. Not really a good comp for Philpps.

No doubt there's some truth to this. However, to say that Phipps is the same guy he's always been is probably far off the mark. This guy is breaking through in a significant way.

I think he's still raw, but I think he's on a trajectory here, and we don't know where it's going. Supposedly, he didn't really play baseball till he was 18. This could be a case of tremendous natural ability starting to blossom. He has had the reputation of having a high ceiling, though muted in the press since he never really put up numbers.

I think there's little doubt the high BABIP comes from him making very hard contact when he hits it. Still hoping those who have seen him a bit will chime in....

Sappelt is probably always going to be a better contact/AVG guy, a better technician with the bat. But I'm wondering if Phipps might ultimately become a guy with more lightning and EBH juice.

mace
08-18-2011, 02:06 PM
Is his line-drive rate available? That could certainly speak to the BABIP.

While appreciating the merits of BABIP, I have a hard time buying that a young player can OPS a consistent .700 over a period of years, then go off at a 1.000 clip for around 300 at-bats over the two highest levels in the minors and have it dismissed as luck. Evidently, the Reds didn't think that when they promoted him to AAA and put him in the three and four holes.

PuffyPig
08-18-2011, 02:10 PM
He's still got some raw in him, but the seemless transition to AAA, plus a few scattered comments over the years about his ceiling, makes me wonder whether Phipps could be a better player long-term than Stubbs. At this point, I'd think he'd be giving the organization pause in its thinking about giving Stubbs a long-term deal.



The Reds discision to give or not give Stubbs along term contracts rest entirely upon Stubbs sholders.

What Phipps does does not in any way figure into the equation.

Long term contracts are based upon the player and getting cost certainty. It's not like if Phipps does well, "what would we do with a long term signed Stubbs"? A long term deal would only make him more tradeable.

Superdude
08-18-2011, 02:11 PM
No doubt there's some truth to this. However, to say that Phipps is the same guy he's always been is probably far off the mark. This guy is breaking through in a significant way.

I think he's still raw, but I think he's on a trajectory here, and we don't know where it's going. Supposedly, he didn't really play baseball till he was 18. This could be a case of tremendous natural ability starting to blossom. He has had the reputation of having a high ceiling, though muted in the press since he never really put up numbers.

I think there's little doubt the high BABIP comes from him making very hard contact when he hits it. Still hoping those who have seen him a bit will chime in....

Sappelt is probably always going to be a better contact/AVG guy, a better technician with the bat. But I'm wondering if Phipps might ultimately become a guy with more lightning and EBH juice.

Good point. He's obviously improved, but the question is whether or not this is just the start of him really tapping into his tools.

dougdirt
08-18-2011, 02:30 PM
Good point. He's obviously improved, but the question is whether or not this is just the start of him really tapping into his tools.

He is tapping into his hitting tools some, but the guy still isn't a .300 hitter, much less a .350 hitter. Lots of luck going on here. He is a different guy than he was, but he hasn't turned himself into a top 15 prospect either IMO.

lollipopcurve
08-18-2011, 02:42 PM
He is tapping into his hitting tools some, but the guy still isn't a .300 hitter, much less a .350 hitter. Lots of luck going on here. He is a different guy than he was, but he hasn't turned himself into a top 15 prospect either IMO.

Doug, what have you seen from him? Does he spray the ball? Take a lot of bad swings? How many ABs do you think you've seen?

dougdirt
08-18-2011, 02:55 PM
Doug, what have you seen from him? Does he spray the ball? Take a lot of bad swings? How many ABs do you think you've seen?

I haven't seen enough of him to be honest, at least in his current 4 month tear to answer the questions. After the season is over I go back and watch a lot of video and get a much better feel on these things because I just watch the same guy over and over and over. I pick up on things better that way.

lollipopcurve
08-18-2011, 02:57 PM
I haven't seen enough of him to be honest, at least in his current 4 month tear to answer the questions. After the season is over I go back and watch a lot of video and get a much better feel on these things because I just watch the same guy over and over and over. I pick up on things better that way.

Makes sense -- thanks.

RedsManRick
08-18-2011, 03:44 PM
For those in the "he's obviously improved" camp, do we have any evidence that he's changed something in his game that supports a massive increase in his BABIP? Is he suddenly the best line drive hitter in the organization? I don't have any info either way, but his stats and peripherals are perfectly in line with what a luck-driven BABIP fluke looks like in action.

For reference, here's the percentage of his PA that ended in each of the listed events:


1B 2B 3B HR BB SO
2009 13.1% 5.9% 0.9% 1.8% 5.7% 20.0%
2010 13.2% 6.2% 0.8% 2.3% 8.2% 20.4%
2011 19.5% 7.0% 1.4% 2.7% 7.5% 24.5%

I see a consistent, gradual increase in power and a MASSIVE increase in singles. If he had turned in to one of the best line drive hitters in baseball, surely that would be reflected in bigger spikes in XBHs? I certainly see an argument that he's making better contact, but that doesn't come close to explaining the spike in singles.

For comparison, here's Sappelt:


1B 2B 3B HR BB SO
2008 16.1% 6.8% 1.8% 2.5% 7.5% 16.1%
2009 18.9% 4.0% 1.7% 1.2% 6.0% 12.5%
2010 21.5% 5.7% 2.0% 1.8% 7.4% 13.1%
2011 19.9% 4.8% 0.9% 2.1% 8.9% 11.6%

TRF
08-18-2011, 05:09 PM
For those in the "he's obviously improved" camp, do we have any evidence that he's changed something in his game that supports a massive increase in his BABIP? Is he suddenly the best line drive hitter in the organization? I don't have any info either way, but his stats and peripherals are perfectly in line with what a luck-driven BABIP fluke looks like in action.

For reference, here's the percentage of his PA that ended in each of the listed events:


1B 2B 3B HR BB SO
2009 13.1% 5.9% 0.9% 1.8% 5.7% 20.0%
2010 13.2% 6.2% 0.8% 2.3% 8.2% 20.4%
2011 19.5% 7.0% 1.4% 2.7% 7.5% 24.5%

I see a consistent, gradual increase in power and a MASSIVE increase in singles. If he had turned in to one of the best line drive hitters in baseball, surely that would be reflected in bigger spikes in XBHs? I certainly see an argument that he's making better contact, but that doesn't come close to explaining the spike in singles.

For comparison, here's Sappelt:


1B 2B 3B HR BB SO
2008 16.1% 6.8% 1.8% 2.5% 7.5% 16.1%
2009 18.9% 4.0% 1.7% 1.2% 6.0% 12.5%
2010 21.5% 5.7% 2.0% 1.8% 7.4% 13.1%
2011 19.9% 4.8% 0.9% 2.1% 8.9% 11.6%


I see a fairly strong uptick in HR% there as well as an overall better 2B%. If you discount 3B%, and I do because triples IMO are flukish to begin with, Phipps has improved in every category, every year. And while that singles jump is massive, compared to Sappelt, his doubles and HR's jump is pretty big too. He is getting hit lucky, but its hard to argue he doesn't have more pop than Sapp.

lollipopcurve
08-18-2011, 05:18 PM
“He has an eye for the ball,” Davis said. “He can take his eye off the ball and run to a spot. That’s what makes you a good center fielder. You have to be able to turn and run. Some guys can’t turn and take their eye off the ball. He can do that, and he wants the ball.”

Interesting quote from #44, Eric Davis, on Phipps' defense. What I like best is the "he wants the ball." For me, this is where Stubbs' defense falls short -- he's just not as aggressive as he could be out there.

mace
08-18-2011, 05:25 PM
I don't know, Rick. From 2009-2011, his percentage increase in singles almost precisely matches the increase in home runs. In that respect, the singles aren't disproportionate at all. The doubles, yes, are a different story. But there's still an increase. Overall, the discrepancy certainly doesn't seem as dramatic as you stated.

In the last couple days, I've seen two observers on here attest that he's hitting line drives. One said that he had a "nice line-drive stroke," I think the words were, and the other, in yesterday's game thread, said that he saw two games and Phipps hit the ball hard in both of them. That's hardly conclusive, of course. I'd still like to see his line-drive percentage. But as to your question about whether he could have suddenly become the best line-drive hitter in the organization, there seems to be a real possibility that that is indeed the case. Except, of course, for Torreyes.

That said, and as I noted before (and lollipop agreed), I'd like to see him sustain it for a lot longer before rearranging any plans in deference to him.

Superdude
08-18-2011, 05:26 PM
He is tapping into his hitting tools some, but the guy still isn't a .300 hitter, much less a .350 hitter. Lots of luck going on here. He is a different guy than he was, but he hasn't turned himself into a top 15 prospect either IMO.

That's what I was saying. He's not all that special currently, but if this season is a step towards greater improvement, then yes, he's somebody to look out for. His age isn't exactly encouraging.

lollipopcurve
08-18-2011, 05:50 PM
That's what I was saying. He's not all that special currently, but if this season is a step towards greater improvement, then yes, he's somebody to look out for. His age isn't exactly encouraging.

The age thing is kind of what makes him interesting. Per reports, he didn't really start to play much baseball until he was 18. How that happens in the DR, I have no idea. But it could certainly account for his being a late bloomer.

RedsManRick
08-19-2011, 01:04 AM
I don't know, Rick. From 2009-2011, his percentage increase in singles almost precisely matches the increase in home runs. In that respect, the singles aren't disproportionate at all. The doubles, yes, are a different story. But there's still an increase. Overall, the discrepancy certainly doesn't seem as dramatic as you stated.

In the last couple days, I've seen two observers on here attest that he's hitting line drives. One said that he had a "nice line-drive stroke," I think the words were, and the other, in yesterday's game thread, said that he saw two games and Phipps hit the ball hard in both of them. That's hardly conclusive, of course. I'd still like to see his line-drive percentage. But as to your question about whether he could have suddenly become the best line-drive hitter in the organization, there seems to be a real possibility that that is indeed the case. Except, of course, for Torreyes.

That said, and as I noted before (and lollipop agreed), I'd like to see him sustain it for a lot longer before rearranging any plans in deference to him.

I don't doubt he's improved. But he has a .430 BABIP. That is massively unsustainable regardless of how good a hitter he is right now. I may have said organization, but I might have well as said the universe. Looking at true talent, what we can reasonable expect from a guy moving forward, the highest BABIP in the majors over the last 3 years (1500 PA) is Votto at .366. Only 3 other guys are at .350+.

Even if he's suddenly a world-class line drive hitter like Votto, Wright, Upton, Choo, and Bruan (the highest BABIP guys who aren't doing it with speed), he's still 70+ points above sustainable. If he's merely a very good major league hitter, he's 100+ above sustainable. And if he's average, he's 130 points above it. And that's more than 25% of his hits which will go away when he regresses.

So again, yeah, it looks like he's improved. But he's playing way over his head and there is no denying that.

mth123
08-19-2011, 07:44 AM
I don't doubt he's improved. But he has a .430 BABIP. That is massively unsustainable regardless of how good a hitter he is right now. I may have said organization, but I might have well as said the universe. Looking at true talent, what we can reasonable expect from a guy moving forward, the highest BABIP in the majors over the last 3 years (1500 PA) is Votto at .366. Only 3 other guys are at .350+.

Even if he's suddenly a world-class line drive hitter like Votto, Wright, Upton, Choo, and Bruan (the highest BABIP guys who aren't doing it with speed), he's still 70+ points above sustainable. If he's merely a very good major league hitter, he's 100+ above sustainable. And if he's average, he's 130 points above it. And that's more than 25% of his hits which will go away when he regresses.

So again, yeah, it looks like he's improved. But he's playing way over his head and there is no denying that.

If you are right, and I think you mostly are, that would put his adjusted OPS at about .740 based on some rough math. That's a pretty different picture thst mskes his 2011 look a lot like his 2010 including a roughly .315 OBP and a roughly .425 SLG.

I wonder if he's been in demand on the trade market. Seems like a sell high candidate to me. A different GM might take advantage of that. Of course in Cincy not much will happen.

mace
08-19-2011, 11:57 AM
I don't doubt he's improved. But he has a .430 BABIP. That is massively unsustainable regardless of how good a hitter he is right now. I may have said organization, but I might have well as said the universe. Looking at true talent, what we can reasonable expect from a guy moving forward, the highest BABIP in the majors over the last 3 years (1500 PA) is Votto at .366. Only 3 other guys are at .350+.

Even if he's suddenly a world-class line drive hitter like Votto, Wright, Upton, Choo, and Bruan (the highest BABIP guys who aren't doing it with speed), he's still 70+ points above sustainable. If he's merely a very good major league hitter, he's 100+ above sustainable. And if he's average, he's 130 points above it. And that's more than 25% of his hits which will go away when he regresses.

So again, yeah, it looks like he's improved. But he's playing way over his head and there is no denying that.

I don't think anybody is saying that he has suddenly become a .370 hitter, or a .350 hitter, or even a .320 hitter. My contentions were based on your original statement: "Same guy, flukish results."

I simply have a hard time denying the possibility that something has clicked in this guy, that he's a different player than he was last year when he was hitting .228 in Carolina. Since you're now saying, "I don't doubt he's improved," it appears that we're getting pretty close to the same page.

muddie
08-19-2011, 12:15 PM
Far be it from me to suggest that it may be as simple as the guy finally found confidence in his abilities and got comfortable at the plate. I have stated prior, I know he was spending additional time with Ryan Jackson in Carolina at one point to improve his plate appearances. Maybe Jackson suggested a little something that made the difference, be it through mechanics or a change to the mental approach.

You would think some 'ace' reporter would have posed this question to him by now. I haven't seen such an interview.

lollipopcurve
08-19-2011, 12:17 PM
Far be it from me to suggest that it may be as simple as the guy finally found confidence in his abilities and got comfortable at the plate.

Muddie, did Phipps stand out to you as a hitter this year? I know you've seen him a lot.

muddie
08-19-2011, 01:51 PM
Muddie, did Phipps stand out to you as a hitter this year? I know you've seen him a lot.


Overall, no. I was not a fan at all after a few weeks into the season and made more than my fair share of comments about his inabiltiy to get it done at the plate. He nor Perez could hold down a leadoff spot to save their lives and the natural train of thought was that these two guys should be a part of the top of the lineup.

When Phipps started hitting it was like somebody just hit a switch. I would love for him to speak on the overnight change in his success. What happened? Can he put a finger on it? I was concerned that he would have some issues moving to AAA but I am very happy to see that he hasn't missed a beat.

camisadelgolf
08-19-2011, 07:15 PM
Overall, no. I was not a fan at all after a few weeks into the season and made more than my fair share of comments about his inabiltiy to get it done at the plate. He nor Perez could hold down a leadoff spot to save their lives and the natural train of thought was that these two guys should be a part of the top of the lineup.

When Phipps started hitting it was like somebody just hit a switch. I would love for him to speak on the overnight change in his success. What happened? Can he put a finger on it? I was concerned that he would have some issues moving to AAA but I am very happy to see that he hasn't missed a beat.
If you read this thread, I'm sure you'll realize that there are people who would guarantee that Phipps is now using steroids: http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=91336

Mario-Rijo
08-19-2011, 07:31 PM
Far be it from me to suggest that it may be as simple as the guy finally found confidence in his abilities and got comfortable at the plate. I have stated prior, I know he was spending additional time with Ryan Jackson in Carolina at one point to improve his plate appearances. Maybe Jackson suggested a little something that made the difference, be it through mechanics or a change to the mental approach.

You would think some 'ace' reporter would have posed this question to him by now. I haven't seen such an interview.

I think it's about time we start singing the praises of Ryan Jackson. I believe he is the same guy responsible for helping Chris Heisey and Dave Sappelt as well. Dude knows what he is doing in the hitting/teaching arena.

mth123
08-19-2011, 07:37 PM
I'm far from being a slave to the numbers and take a lot of things that the stats may tell us with a grain of salt. I certainly think that hitters have some control over their BABIP, but in Phipps case, the BABIP is just way to influential in his results and too far above what should be expected going forward. Phipps has K'd over 100 times while walking less than 35. He only has 12 HR. His numbers aren't being driven by great on base skills (evidence the low walks versus the number K's) or prodigious power. That .900+ OPS is being driven mostly from his high batting average. With the relatively large number of K's, that average just doesn't seem sustainable. As Rick noted, if his BABIP were normal at around .300, he'd lose 25% of those hits and it would drop his OPS into the low to mid 700s (in line with his 2010). If Phipps actually is capable of an unusually high BABIP (say .330), he'd still be hovering right around .800. Not bad, but as corner OF go, nothing special. With his athleticism and power arm he can have a decent career as a role player with that profile. I just don't expect anything as a major leaguer remotely close to what his 2011 OPS might suggest. If some GM is enamored with him, its time to parlay him into something with a more solid foundation.

JayBruceFan
01-13-2012, 07:24 PM
In response to the thread in the ORG, Phipps didn't pick up baseball until his late teens because he had been a basketball player throughout the majority of his younger days.

Or at least that's how I have heard the story told

oneupper
01-13-2012, 07:31 PM
Phipps' numbers from the DR Winter League (regular season, round robin underway).

AB H 2B 3B HR BB K SB .AVG OBP
101 30 8 0 2 16 20 0 .297 .403

Not bad, I'd say.

Blitz Dorsey
01-14-2012, 02:39 PM
In response to the thread in the ORG, Phipps didn't pick up baseball until his late teens because he had been a basketball player throughout the majority of his younger days.

Or at least that's how I have heard the story told

Thank you. Very informative. I started the thread in the ORG and wondered if he might have played another sport exclusively growing up. Kids in other countries usually pick one sport and specialize in said sport if they play competitively. There aren't many countries like the USA where kids will competitively play 3 sports as a kid and all the way through high school.

JayBruceFan
01-15-2012, 03:06 PM
No problem