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Guacarock
08-18-2011, 02:28 AM
Here's the story:

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110817&content_id=23349248&notebook_id=23349250&vkey=notebook_cin&c_id=cin

What's your take?

Is Brandon better positioned leading off for us than hitting cleanup?

Can this move put us back on a tear, like in 2010, when the Reds went 43-29 with Phillips leading off?

Is he a temporary fix or our answer to set the tables?

What's going on here, is Brandon priming the pump for his contract extension talks or stepping forward as a leader to solve a real team problem?

Did he need to step forward on his own? Could anyone in charge ask him to do so first?

Interesting development, and anything that's this interesting this late in the Dog Days is worth kicking around.

dougdirt
08-18-2011, 02:45 AM
Phillips isn't a lead off hitter. Phillips isn't a clean up hitter. Phillips is a 6th or 7th hitter.

He shouldn't bat leadoff because his OBP isn't that good.
He shouldn't bat clean up because, well, lets be honest, he isn't that good of a hitter.

The Operator
08-18-2011, 03:27 AM
Phillips isn't a lead off hitter. Phillips isn't a clean up hitter. Phillips is a 6th or 7th hitter.Agreed. He is miscast anywhere in the top and/or heart of the order. He certainly brings some things to the table but lead off and middle of the order skills aren't it.

mth123
08-18-2011, 05:04 AM
Agreed. He is miscast anywhere in the top and/or heart of the order. He certainly brings some things to the table but lead off and middle of the order skills aren't it.

This statement applies to the entire roster not named Bruce or Votto. Besides those two, Phillips, a part time catcher (Ramon), a part time OF (Heisey), a couple positionless kids getting cups of coffee (Frazier and Alonso), a bench jockey (Cairo), a departed Jonny Gomes and 3 pitchers are the only players above the relatively low standard of league average. There really isn't much that Dusty can do to fix the line-up. I criticize his line-ups as much as everyone, but he simply doesn't have the right players to fit together to create a real cohesive unit.

Once again, this curious move is on Walt.

jojo
08-18-2011, 10:48 AM
Phillips isn't a lead off hitter. Phillips isn't a clean up hitter. Phillips is a 6th or 7th hitter.

He shouldn't bat leadoff because his OBP isn't that good.
He shouldn't bat clean up because, well, lets be honest, he isn't that good of a hitter.

Yes.

osuceltic
08-18-2011, 11:28 AM
This team has a 3-hole hitter and a bunch of 6/7/8 hitters. And a 9-hole hitter when Janish plays.

They don't have a leadoff hitter. Or a 2-hole hitter. Or a cleanup hitter.

I will say that Brandon Phillips is the least of the problems. He hits wherever the team asks him to hit and offers to help when he thinks he can help. Not his fault the team couldn't fill those other spots in the lineup. Someone has to do it.

CySeymour
08-18-2011, 11:29 AM
So then with the current roster, who should be leading off?

Redsfan320
08-18-2011, 11:39 AM
So then with the current roster, who should be leading off?

Eesh... I'll go with Sapp for now, let him try to work things out.

320

RedsManRick
08-18-2011, 11:56 AM
Name BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP* SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld Bsr WAR
Joey Votto 16% 17% .207 .366 .321 .434 .528 .414 161 6.2 -2.9 5.6
Ramon Hernandez 7% 12% .176 .304 .296 .355 .472 .355 121 -1.0 -2.5 1.9
Jay Bruce 11% 23% .240 .313 .274 .351 .514 .366 129 1.2 1.4 3.4
Ryan Hanigan 12% 11% .094 .264 .249 .344 .343 .309 90 -1.0 0.8 1.2
Miguel Cairo 7% 11% .163 .275 .270 .335 .434 .329 104 7.4 1.0 1.9
Fred Lewis 10% 18% .101 .290 .247 .333 .348 .295 80 1.9 0.1 0.3
DatDudeBP 6% 12% .133 .299 .282 .329 .415 .321 98 9.9 2.5 3.4
Drew Stubbs 9% 30% .137 .343 .249 .323 .387 .324 100 -4.6 5.3 2.4
Chris Heisey 6% 25% .203 .282 .249 .307 .452 .330 104 -0.7 1.4 1.0
Edgar Renteria 8% 19% .100 .292 .245 .306 .345 .294 79 -1.3 1.5 0.6
Scott Rolen 4% 13% .155 .262 .242 .279 .397 .295 80 7.3 0.5 1.3
Paul Janish 5% 12% .052 .254 .225 .271 .277 .244 45 1.7 0.7 -0.2

Given our current lineup, if Sappelt is in the lineup, its him. Yeah, he's struggled a bit so far. But it's VERY early. I'd like to see how he handles consistent playing time. His overall game is far-and-away the best fit for the leadoff spot.

If Heisey is in LF, I'd like to see Stubbs there. If you have a guy who strikes out a lot, how do you minimize the damage? You bat him where he's not going to have guys on base as often.

At this point the only major difference bewteen Phillips and Stubbs as hitters is that BP hits singles where Stubbs takes a walk. The overall value is quite comparable. But if you're looking at the 5-7 spots, do you want a walk or a homer.

Don't get me wrong, in the long run I like Stubbs batting 6th -- a guy who can drive in some runs while manufacturing some himself. But for now...

And one other thing, why has it taken Dusty so long to move Hernandez out of the 7/8 spot? He's been the 3rd most productive hitter on the team and it hasn't really been close. If you want to split Votto and Bruce, I'd be doing it with Hernandez.

Sea Ray
08-18-2011, 12:01 PM
Phillips isn't a lead off hitter. Phillips isn't a clean up hitter. Phillips is a 6th or 7th hitter.

He shouldn't bat leadoff because his OBP isn't that good.
He shouldn't bat clean up because, well, lets be honest, he isn't that good of a hitter.

So it sounds like you don't think he's worth the $12mill for next year?

dougdirt
08-18-2011, 02:34 PM
So it sounds like you don't think he's worth the $12mill for next year?

Tough to say. I would offer him the money to keep him, even though I am not sure he will be worth it. My reasoning is this: If we overpay but still get solid overall production, I can eat a little bit of money there. But if we let him walk and can't land the right guy in free agency to replace him, we don't have anyone in the system to step in right now and take his spot and we are very likely to take a large step backwards there. Give him the money for 2012 and see how things play out on the farm or via trade for a replacement. I would NOT extend him though. Wouldn't even think about it.

RANDY IN INDY
08-18-2011, 02:38 PM
Name BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP* SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld Bsr WAR
Joey Votto 16% 17% .207 .366 .321 .434 .528 .414 161 6.2 -2.9 5.6
Ramon Hernandez 7% 12% .176 .304 .296 .355 .472 .355 121 -1.0 -2.5 1.9
Jay Bruce 11% 23% .240 .313 .274 .351 .514 .366 129 1.2 1.4 3.4
Ryan Hanigan 12% 11% .094 .264 .249 .344 .343 .309 90 -1.0 0.8 1.2
Miguel Cairo 7% 11% .163 .275 .270 .335 .434 .329 104 7.4 1.0 1.9
Fred Lewis 10% 18% .101 .290 .247 .333 .348 .295 80 1.9 0.1 0.3
DatDudeBP 6% 12% .133 .299 .282 .329 .415 .321 98 9.9 2.5 3.4
Drew Stubbs 9% 30% .137 .343 .249 .323 .387 .324 100 -4.6 5.3 2.4
Chris Heisey 6% 25% .203 .282 .249 .307 .452 .330 104 -0.7 1.4 1.0
Edgar Renteria 8% 19% .100 .292 .245 .306 .345 .294 79 -1.3 1.5 0.6
Scott Rolen 4% 13% .155 .262 .242 .279 .397 .295 80 7.3 0.5 1.3
Paul Janish 5% 12% .052 .254 .225 .271 .277 .244 45 1.7 0.7 -0.2

Given our current lineup, if Sappelt is in the lineup, its him. Yeah, he's struggled a bit so far. But it's VERY early. I'd like to see how he handles consistent playing time. His overall game is far-and-away the best fit for the leadoff spot.

If Heisey is in LF, I'd like to see Stubbs there. If you have a guy who strikes out a lot, how do you minimize the damage? You bat him where he's not going to have guys on base as often.

At this point the only major difference bewteen Phillips and Stubbs as hitters is that BP hits singles where Stubbs takes a walk. The overall value is quite comparable. But if you're looking at the 5-7 spots, do you want a walk or a homer.

Don't get me wrong, in the long run I like Stubbs batting 6th -- a guy who can drive in some runs while manufacturing some himself. But for now...

And one other thing, why has it taken Dusty so long to move Hernandez out of the 7/8 spot? He's been the 3rd most productive hitter on the team and it hasn't really been close. If you want to split Votto and Bruce, I'd be doing it with Hernandez.

Agree on all points. Great post!

IslandRed
08-18-2011, 03:18 PM
I think we can all agree the Reds aren't playing meaningful games right now, so this isn't a time where I'm going to sweat lineup optimization. Just like the important thing is to get Alonso some at-bats even if it means suffering some bad defense, we should get Sappelt some at-bats and not sweat where in the lineup they're coming.

Long term, Sappelt is better suited to lead off than Phillips, but the guy is struggling in his initial exposure to the show. It's not going to hurt him right now to take a deep breath and watch some other guy take the game's first swings.

Also agree fully that our lineup has too many right-handed 6/7 types. It won't hurt if we can reconfigure it a bit over the winter.

Kc61
08-18-2011, 04:08 PM
Sappelt isn't the long term answer at lead off. Sappelt may be the long term answer at fourth or fifth outfielder. And Heisey has a big edge over Sappelt as a back up because Heisey has MUCH more power. (Sappelt does make a lot of contact, true.)

Phillips is not an ideal lead off hitter, but it's either him or Stubbs on this team IMO.

And my hope is not that the Reds acquire a truer lead off man. To me, that's secondary. My hope is that they acquire a clean up man to hit between the two lefty sluggers.

Solidify that middle of the order and good things will happen. So I'll take:

Phillips
Cozart
Votto
LF with power
Bruce
Rolen
Stubbs
Hanigan/Mesoraco
Pitcher

-or-

Stubbs
Phillips
Votto
LF with power
Bruce
Rolen
Hanigan/Mes
Cozart
Pitcher

And when Rolen is out, Francisco, Frazier, or Cairo fills in.

I can live with either lineup for next year.

Sea Ray
08-18-2011, 04:08 PM
Tough to say. I would offer him the money to keep him, even though I am not sure he will be worth it. My reasoning is this: If we overpay but still get solid overall production, I can eat a little bit of money there. But if we let him walk and can't land the right guy in free agency to replace him, we don't have anyone in the system to step in right now and take his spot and we are very likely to take a large step backwards there. Give him the money for 2012 and see how things play out on the farm or via trade for a replacement. I would NOT extend him though. Wouldn't even think about it.

I agree with that reasoning :thumbup:

jojo
08-18-2011, 04:10 PM
Tough to say. I would offer him the money to keep him, even though I am not sure he will be worth it. My reasoning is this: If we overpay but still get solid overall production, I can eat a little bit of money there. But if we let him walk and can't land the right guy in free agency to replace him, we don't have anyone in the system to step in right now and take his spot and we are very likely to take a large step backwards there. Give him the money for 2012 and see how things play out on the farm or via trade for a replacement. I would NOT extend him though. Wouldn't even think about it.

It's probably a certainty that the Reds pick up Phillips' option. Not because of his bat.... because of his glove.

dougdirt
08-18-2011, 04:46 PM
It's probably a certainty that the Reds pick up Phillips' option. Not because of his bat.... because of his glove.

I agree completely, but that is also why I wouldn't extend him. His value comes from his glove and he is going to be on the wrong side of 30 for his entire new contract that someone is going to give him. Pick up the option for 2012 and be searching for a replacement starting yesterday.

klw
08-18-2011, 05:16 PM
His stats over the last 4 years would seem to say, stick Brandon in the 2 spot and leave him there.


2011

By Batting Order AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
Batting #1 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .200 .200 .200 .400
Batting #2 236 38 69 16 0 5 25 13 3 29 4 2 .292 .336 .424 .760
Batting #4 216 25 58 10 1 5 37 16 3 28 3 6 .269 .321 .394 .715

2010

By Batting Order AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
Batting #1 315 41 79 11 5 8 33 18 5 42 5 4 .251 .302 .394 .696
Batting #2 180 35 55 15 0 5 9 15 2 22 7 4 .306 .364 .472 .836
Batting #3 34 7 14 1 0 1 4 4 0 4 3 0 .412 .474 .529 1.003
Batting #4 88 11 21 5 0 3 10 7 0 13 1 3 .239 .295 .398 .693


Here are 2008-2010

By Batting Order AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
Batting #1 315 41 79 11 5 8 33 18 5 42 5 4 .251 .302 .394 .696
Batting #2 190 35 56 15 0 5 9 15 2 23 7 4 .295 .351 .453 .804
Batting #3 234 34 63 12 3 5 30 20 2 27 13 4 .269 .327 .410 .737
Batting #4 1012 140 274 48 9 39 159 73 9 156 38 18 .271 .322 .452 .774

http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/splits/_/id/5031/year/2010/brandon-phillips

REDREAD
08-18-2011, 05:17 PM
Phillips is probably the best option for leadoff we have.
He doesn't have the greatest OBP, but his power helps to make up for it.

If the Reds want to play Sappelt too, it really doesn't matter IMO if Sappelt bats 1 or 2.

I admire Phillips a lot. No one can accuse him of not caring.

Brutus
08-18-2011, 05:46 PM
Phillips isn't a lead off hitter. Phillips isn't a clean up hitter. Phillips is a 6th or 7th hitter.

He shouldn't bat leadoff because his OBP isn't that good.
He shouldn't bat clean up because, well, lets be honest, he isn't that good of a hitter.

He's nearly ideal for the No. 2-hole. Good contact rate, good speed. Gets on base a sufficient amount.

dougdirt
08-18-2011, 08:35 PM
He's nearly ideal for the No. 2-hole. Good contact rate, good speed. Gets on base a sufficient amount.

I don't really know. His numbers in the two spot would be ideal if he were able to repeat them there. I just don't know if he would be able to and I am not sure his overall numbers say "ideal #2 hitter".

Tom Servo
08-18-2011, 08:51 PM
I've always liked BP in the #2 spot as well.

mattfeet
08-18-2011, 10:22 PM
I admire Phillips a lot. No one can accuse him of not caring.

Agreed. No one else is stepping up...glad to see he is.

-Matt

Guacarock
08-18-2011, 11:59 PM
3 for 4 tonight with a walk on top of that. He's motivated!

Orenda
08-19-2011, 12:20 AM
I like Phillips hitting 1 or 2 better than in the middle of the lineup, 2nd wouldn't bother me because it would keep Renteria and Janish behind the run producers. I think hitting Bruce 3rd and Votto could be an option as well, Votto will protect Bruce more than Bruce or anybody else has been able to protect Votto. Also if you can find a high OBP leadoff guy to go along with Bruce 3rd with his on-base ability, Joey Votto would be looking at a lot of run producing opportunities. Just Saying

alloverjr
08-19-2011, 12:39 AM
Based on what's available right now, I don't mind Phillips leading off. I'd however bat Bruce 2nd and Votto 3rd. IMO, Votto's not getting pitched to because he has no one to protect him in the lineup, but rather because he's forever coming up with the bases empty and 2 outs. Same reason I like Bruce in the 2 spot. I hate predefined roles. The second hitter's job shouldn't be to bunt or hit behind a runner (handles the bat well!), but rather get on base for your 3 hitter who (there's that role again!) is presumably the best hitter on the team.

Now, if the Reds were somehow able to find a leadoff hitter in the offseason, I'd move Brandon down to 5th or 6th (or even 7th) depending on what 3B looks like.

Brutus
08-19-2011, 03:50 AM
I don't really know. His numbers in the two spot would be ideal if he were able to repeat them there. I just don't know if he would be able to and I am not sure his overall numbers say "ideal #2 hitter".

What about his numbers suggest a lack of being repeatable? I'd say his numbers have been remarkably consistent the last three seasons.

His OBP has been nearly identical, so too has his contact rates; his batting average nearly the same; his slugging has dropped a small bit, but for being a 2-hitter, that's not as important.

If anything, I think Phillips has been extremely consistent. I feel as if we know more about what we'll get out of him than any player on the Reds outside of Paul Janish and Joey Votto on extreme ends of the spectrum.

GAC
08-19-2011, 05:22 AM
Phillips isn't a lead off hitter. Phillips isn't a clean up hitter. Phillips is a 6th or 7th hitter.

He shouldn't bat leadoff because his OBP isn't that good.
He shouldn't bat clean up because, well, lets be honest, he isn't that good of a hitter.

This. Brandon "it felt wrong not to swing" Phillips simply does not have the plate discipline.

jojo
08-19-2011, 12:53 PM
I am not sure his overall numbers say "ideal #2 hitter".

I'm with you on this one. There is a difference between a reasonable compromise for the Reds given the context of their roster (i.e. were there better options or not) and an "ideal" option.

Here's a statistical look at Phillips compared to his peers based upon average production across batting order over his career ranked by wOBA (a great metric for summarizing the overall offensive skill set of a hitter):



Order BA OPB SLG OPS wOBA BABIP K% BB% ISO
Batting 3rd 0.283 0.362 0.475 0.836 0.364 0.307 15.9 10.4 0.192
Batting 4th 0.278 0.358 0.483 0.841 0.363 0.301 17.2 10.5 0.205
Batting 5th 0.269 0.340 0.449 0.790 0.346 0.299 17.7 9.1 0.181
Batting 6th 0.264 0.331 0.432 0.763 0.336 0.298 18.0 8.3 0.167
Batting 1st 0.275 0.340 0.406 0.746 0.335 0.309 14.5 8.1 0.131
Batting 2nd 0.275 0.336 0.412 0.748 0.334 0.307 14.6 7.7 0.136
Phillips 0.269 0.318 0.428 0.746 0.324 0.289 14.2 5.9 0.159
Batting 7th 0.257 0.320 0.404 0.724 0.321 0.292 17.8 7.8 0.147
Batting 8th 0.249 0.316 0.378 0.694 0.306 0.288 18.0 8.2 0.129
Batting 9th 0.213 0.267 0.307 0.575 0.256 0.272 23.3 6.0 0.094


This comparison suggests that over his career, Phillips best fit the profile of an average #7 hitter given his poor on base skills and low walk rate. Over 600 PAs (roughly his average number per year), he's been .5 WAR below an average major league #2 hitter (i.e. .5 WAR/season below an average #2 hitter).

mdccclxix
08-19-2011, 01:03 PM
I'm with you on this one. There is a difference between a reasonable compromise for the Reds given the context of their roster (i.e. were there better options or not) and an "ideal" option.

Here's a statistical look at Phillips compared to his peers based upon average production across batting order over his career ranked by wOBA (a great metric for summarizing the overall offensive skill set of a hitter):



Order BA OPB SLG OPS wOBA BABIP K% BB% ISO
Batting 3rd 0.283 0.362 0.475 0.836 0.364 0.307 15.9 10.4 0.192
Batting 4th 0.278 0.358 0.483 0.841 0.363 0.301 17.2 10.5 0.205
Batting 5th 0.269 0.340 0.449 0.790 0.346 0.299 17.7 9.1 0.181
Batting 6th 0.264 0.331 0.432 0.763 0.336 0.298 18.0 8.3 0.167
Batting 1st 0.275 0.340 0.406 0.746 0.335 0.309 14.5 8.1 0.131
Batting 2nd 0.275 0.336 0.412 0.748 0.334 0.307 14.6 7.7 0.136
Phillips 0.269 0.318 0.428 0.746 0.324 0.289 14.2 5.9 0.159
Batting 7th 0.257 0.320 0.404 0.724 0.321 0.292 17.8 7.8 0.147
Batting 8th 0.249 0.316 0.378 0.694 0.306 0.288 18.0 8.2 0.129
Batting 9th 0.213 0.267 0.307 0.575 0.256 0.272 23.3 6.0 0.094


This comparison suggests that over his career, Phillips best fit the profile of an average #7 hitter given his poor on base skills and low walk rate. Over 600 PAs (roughly his average number per year), he's been .5 WAR below an average major league #2 hitter (i.e. .5 WAR/season below an average #2 hitter).

Although, the last 3 years have Phillips as a .332 wOBA

klw
08-19-2011, 01:31 PM
This comparison suggests that over his career, Phillips best fit the profile of an average #7 hitter given his poor on base skills and low walk rate. Over 600 PAs (roughly his average number per year), he's been .5 WAR below an average major league #2 hitter (i.e. .5 WAR/season below an average #2 hitter).

Are you able to break this into how these numbers reflect his performance as a 2 hitter in the past? I think Phillips has stated that he has adjusted his approach when hitting 4th to try to do different things. Are his numbers as a 2 hitter any better in terms of the fit for the typical 2 hitter?

jojo
08-19-2011, 02:23 PM
Are you able to break this into how these numbers reflect his performance as a 2 hitter in the past? I think Phillips has stated that he has adjusted his approach when hitting 4th to try to do different things. Are his numbers as a 2 hitter any better in terms of the fit for the typical 2 hitter?

He basically would suffer from a simialr problem... on-base deficiency....



BA OPB SLG OPS wOBA BABIP K% BB% ISO
0.279 0.322 0.427 0.749 0.338 0.296 11.9 4.8 0.148

jojo
08-19-2011, 02:26 PM
Although, the last 3 years have Phillips as a .332 wOBA

Whether accurately reflecting his true talent or symmetrical luck, his wOBA has trended down to his career numbers over that span:

2009: wOBA=.337;
2010: wOBA=.332;
2011: wOBA=.324;

dougdirt
08-19-2011, 05:21 PM
He's nearly ideal for the No. 2-hole. Good contact rate, good speed. Gets on base a sufficient amount.

If he can maintain a .350 OBP he works as a #2 hitter, but he has only done that in the two spot in about 1/3rd of a season, spread out over several years. Everywhere else in the line up, where his samples are quite a bit larger, his OBP dips into the .320's. If he is closer to his "everywhere in the line up" self, then no, he isn't ideal for the #2 spot because he is going to post a .320-.330 OBP and probably ground into plenty of double plays because he would rather swing at a pitch 4 inches outside trying to make something happen than take it for a ball.

klw
08-21-2011, 02:00 PM
http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_08_21_cinmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=gameday

• In four games from the leadoff spot through Saturday, Brandon Phillips is 10-for-18, his three singles Saturday coming on the heels of Friday's 3-for-5 performance that included four RBIs, including a three-run home run.

"When I was hitting fourth, my No. 1 goal was to drive guys in. I wasn't worried about my average or anything -- just RBIs," Phillips said. "I'm glad they're giving me a chance to get something going for the team."

dougdirt
08-21-2011, 02:03 PM
http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_08_21_cinmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=gameday


"When I was hitting fourth, my No. 1 goal was to drive guys in. I wasn't worried about my average or anything -- just RBIs," Phillips said. "I'm glad they're giving me a chance to get something going for the team."

While that isn't the worst idea ever, it is not exactly an ideal one either. I honestly don't think players should change their approach at the plate no matter where they bat.

RedsManRick
08-21-2011, 05:36 PM
While that isn't the worst idea ever, it is not exactly an ideal one either. I honestly don't think players should change their approach at the plate no matter where they bat.

Exactly, players make much too much about having different jobs in various lineup spots. Just get on base, the rest is gravy.