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batsfan
10-27-2011, 09:07 AM
The Reds.com transaction page shows that on 10/26/11 "Cincinnati Reds called up RF Denis Phipps from Louisville Bats." This is obviously to prevent him from becoming a minor league free agent, but I think he could play a factor in the 2012 team!

cinreds21
10-27-2011, 10:24 AM
I would have been extremely disappointed if they didn't do that and let him walk.

lollipopcurve
10-27-2011, 11:55 AM
I am optimistic about Phipps. Even though he had pedestrian numbers for many years, the talk of a high ceiling was there from very early on. I think we could be seeing a very talented late bloomer emerge.

icehole3
10-27-2011, 12:24 PM
kind of reminds me of a young Ken Griffey Sr.

RedsManRick
10-27-2011, 01:01 PM
I posted this on the Phipps thread in the Minor League forum:

I think people are in for a shock this year with Phipps if they expect him to continue his supposed "breakout."


Season Team Age PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG HR
2006 R 20.5 238 5.4% 21.0% .124 .362 .289 .335 .413 4
2007 A 21.5 505 8.1% 19.4% .100 .282 .238 .313 .338 9
2008 A 22.5 518 6.6% 21.8% .101 .317 .255 .307 .357 7
2009 A+ 23.5 544 5.7% 20.0% .145 .281 .237 .286 .382 10
2010 A+/AA 24.5 514 8.2% 20.4% .164 .295 .247 .314 .411 12
2011 AA/AAA 25.5 511 7.8% 24.3% .181 .446 .346 .398 .527 12

One of two things happened last year -- or some combination of the two.

1) He turned in to an all-world line drive hitter the likes of which we've never seen
2) He had amazing run of good luck

In 2011...
He was 25/26 years old (July birthday) and reached AAA for the first time.
Entered the season with a career OPS on the wrong side of .700.
His BABIP jumped 150 points. That's a 50% increase. Take away a 1/3 of his hits if you want to normalize his slash stats.
He struck out more than ever, getting in to the territory where people start saying "that guy strikes out too much".
He didn't walk more, sustaining a mediocre walk rate.
His ISO increase was moderate and explained fully by the BABIP spike. His non-increase in homers helps demonstrate this. A lot of extra singles a few extra doubles/triples is a sign of balls finding holes, not a power increase.
He's got decent speed, but he's not a great baserunner.

This is an org guy who had a career year on the back of a fluke BABIP. It's a great story, but unless he's an absolute tool shed (and maybe he is...), he's not a prospect. If he is a good hitter in 2012 it will be because either he fundamentally takes a giant step forward or because he continues to get lucky.

I can see rostering him because he could have some trade value to a team that doesn't look at BABIP. But in terms of helping the Reds win baseball games, he's not a good use of a spot on the 40 man roster. As best I can tell, his upside is Darnell McDonald, a completely fungible, defensive replacement 5th OF at best.

Brutus
10-27-2011, 01:11 PM
I posted this on the Phipps thread in the Minor League forum:

I think people are in for a shock this year with Phipps if they expect him to continue his supposed "breakout."


Season Team Age PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG HR
2006 R 20.5 238 5.4% 21.0% .124 .362 .289 .335 .413 4
2007 A 21.5 505 8.1% 19.4% .100 .282 .238 .313 .338 9
2008 A 22.5 518 6.6% 21.8% .101 .317 .255 .307 .357 7
2009 A+ 23.5 544 5.7% 20.0% .145 .281 .237 .286 .382 10
2010 A+/AA 24.5 514 8.2% 20.4% .164 .295 .247 .314 .411 12
2011 AA/AAA 25.5 511 7.8% 24.3% .181 .446 .346 .398 .527 12

One of two things happened last year -- or some combination of the two.

1) He turned in to an all-world line drive hitter the likes of which we've never seen
2) He had amazing run of good luck

In 2011...
He was 25/26 years old (July birthday) and reached AAA for the first time.
Entered the season with a career OPS on the wrong side of .700.
His BABIP jumped 150 points. That's a 50% increase. Take away a 1/3 of his hits if you want to normalize his slash stats.
He struck more than ever, getting in to the territory where people start saying "that guy strikes out too much".
He didn't walk more, sustaining a mediocre walk rate.
His ISO increase was moderate and explained fully by the BABIP spike. His non-increase in homers helps demonstrate this. He's put up
He's got decent speed, but he's not a great baserunner.

This is an org guy who had a career year on the back of a fluke BABIP. It's a great story, but unless he's an absolute tool shed (and maybe he is...), he's not a prospect. If he is a good hitter in 2012 it will be because either he fundamentally takes a giant step forward or because he continues to get lucky.

I can see rostering him because he could have some trade value to a team that doesn't look at BABIP. But in terms of helping the Reds win baseball games, he's not a good use of a spot on the 40 man roster. As best I can tell, his upside is Darnell McDonald, a completely fungible 5th OF at best.

Well, for what it's worth, First Inning shows Phipps as having an incredible 33% line drive rate this year while in Louisville (though a more modest 20% in Carolina). While that's probably not remotely sustainable, it does eliminate some of the luck involved with that lofty BABIP.

I'm a skeptic, though. I tend to think this year was more an anomaly than anything.

lollipopcurve
10-27-2011, 01:24 PM
I'm a skeptic, though. I tend to think this year was more an anomaly than anything.

Depends on what you call anomalous.

Hitting .350?

Showing the ability to play in the big leagues?

Brutus
10-27-2011, 01:32 PM
Depends on what you call anomalous.

Hitting .350?

Showing the ability to play in the big leagues?

He has an aggregate batting average of less than .245 in the four seasons combined prior to this past year. So yeah... I would definitely say this year is more likely an anomaly.

lollipopcurve
10-27-2011, 01:38 PM
He has an aggregate batting average of less than .245 in the four seasons combined prior to this past year. So yeah... I would definitely say this year is more likely an anomaly.

If it rains for 5 days and then turns sunny, does that mean it will rain the next day?

The debate's about the future -- should the 40-man include Phipps? Will he be able to help the Reds someday?

RANDY IN INDY
10-27-2011, 01:39 PM
Saw him play in Indy this summer. This is just from my own perspective but his swing looks to have a lot of "loose parts," and is kinda long.

RedsManRick
10-27-2011, 02:00 PM
Well, for what it's worth, First Inning shows Phipps as having an incredible 33% line drive rate this year while in Louisville (though a more modest 20% in Carolina). While that's probably not remotely sustainable, it does eliminate some of the luck involved with that lofty BABIP.

I'm a skeptic, though. I tend to think this year was more an anomaly than anything.

Well, LD% has a decent amount of "random" fluctuation itself. That's not to say he was lucky to hit any given line drive, just lucky to have hit that many in such a short period of time.

Over the last 3 years, the highest average LD% belongs to Todd Helton at 24.9%. He's followed by Jason Bartlett (23.4), Joe Mauer (23.4) and Joey
Votto (23.4). Something tells me Phipps isn't in that club.

I'm open to the possibility of a Bautistaesque mechanics change that suddenly made things click. But considering we haven't' heard any rumblings of that nor have we seen any change in his peripherals suggests to me that it's a highly likely to be a fluke season.

Scrap Irony
10-27-2011, 03:09 PM
Meh. He still may be dealt.

I think his season was part fluke, part being old for the league, and part figuring things out. I'd deal him tomorrow for a prospect with a better pedigree and lesser production.

Brutus
10-27-2011, 03:35 PM
If it rains for 5 days and then turns sunny, does that mean it will rain the next day?

The debate's about the future -- should the 40-man include Phipps? Will he be able to help the Reds someday?

Certainly it doesn't mean it will. But if it's rained for five of the past six days, I would say the odds are better it will rain again rather than remain sunny. I'm not saying his season was an anomaly but it sure appears to be random fluctuation. If his numbers weren't so incredibly contingent upon that unsustainable BABIP, I'd give it more credence.

But look at his other peripherals: an average walk rate; slightly deflated contact rate; not an overwhelming ISO. Bottom line is his season was largely predicated on BABIP. Guys having "breakout" seasons with those kinds of indicators are typically fools gold.

lollipopcurve
10-27-2011, 03:47 PM
But look at his other peripherals: an average walk rate; slightly deflated contact rate; not an overwhelming ISO. Bottom line is his season was largely predicated on BABIP. Guys having "breakout" seasons with those kinds of indicators are typically fools gold.

I'll assume then that you'd leave him off the 40-man.

dougdirt
10-27-2011, 04:00 PM
I'll assume then that you'd leave him off the 40-man.

I would have, but I also fully get the argument for placing him there, but it has nothing at all to do with his bat. Defensively, he can help you out tomorrow and be a big difference (well, maybe not on this team if they run out Sappelt/Stubbs/Heisey/Bruce - but on most teams who aren't loaded with that kind of defense).

I don't trust his bat to be much more than marginally better than it has been in the past. As Rick has shown, he didn't make much improvements in things that would suggest something clicked with him. Walk rate, strikeout rate and power all stayed pretty close to where they have been. When something clicks, one of those things at the very least tends to improve. His didn't. His rate of singles went up.

RedsManRick
10-27-2011, 05:55 PM
If it rains for 5 days and then turns sunny, does that mean it will rain the next day?

The debate's about the future -- should the 40-man include Phipps? Will he be able to help the Reds someday?

Absolutely correct. The question is: What's the best way to forecast tomorrow's whether and, given that, what should we expect from Phipps?

The answer is something like 90% chance of thunderstorms. I wouldn't schedule a picnic.

lollipopcurve
10-27-2011, 07:35 PM
The answer is something like 90% chance of thunderstorms. I wouldn't schedule a picnic.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Phipps has talent.

Brutus
10-27-2011, 08:58 PM
I'll assume then that you'd leave him off the 40-man.

I haven't seen Phipps play, nor do I otherwise have much of an opinion on whether they should have protected him, so I'm not real strongly opposed.

I personally would leave him off based solely on the underwhelming statistical evidence, but again -- I'm not really second-guessing as much as saying I'm not terribly optimistic he's going to amount to anything.

kaldaniels
10-27-2011, 09:06 PM
Is he #40 on the list? Is he expendable without a thought should something better be available? Not too worried about this move at the present time.

RedsManRick
10-27-2011, 11:46 PM
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Phipps has talent.

There's opportunity cost. Who isn't going to be protected because Phipps has his spot? That's the real question.

cinreds21
10-28-2011, 01:20 AM
There's opportunity cost. Who isn't going to be protected because Phipps has his spot? That's the real question.

Matt Klinker?

mth123
10-28-2011, 01:25 AM
There's opportunity cost. Who isn't going to be protected because Phipps has his spot? That's the real question.

Not really anybody important. Pretty much everyone who needs protected was already on the roster. Phipps was probably the best guy left.

lollipopcurve
10-28-2011, 07:11 AM
There's opportunity cost. Who isn't going to be protected because Phipps has his spot? That's the real question.

Once they set the roster, you can point out who is more deserving. It's pretty clear you'll have Phipps as the 40th guy.

To me, it's telling they placed Phipps on the roster before any of the other guys who will eventually land there for the 1st time.

RedsManRick
10-28-2011, 11:18 AM
Once they set the roster, you can point out who is more deserving. It's pretty clear you'll have Phipps as the 40th guy.

To me, it's telling they placed Phipps on the roster before any of the other guys who will eventually land there for the 1st time.

True; I'm willing to save judgement until we have that real comparison in place.

I agree that it's telling in terms of how the Reds value the players; but I don't think that's necessarily the same thing in terms of an assessment of the guys' likelihood of helping the major league team. More about protecting guys they think they're most likely to lose in Rule V and/or to minor league FA. And a guy like Phipps who can provide good defense now is a perfect Rule V target.

lollipopcurve
10-28-2011, 11:20 AM
More about protecting guys they think they're most likely to lose in Rule V and/or to minor league FA. And a guy like Phipps who can provide good defense now is a perfect Rule V target.

No doubt.

HokieRed
10-28-2011, 05:04 PM
By my count, there are at least 10 guys I'd drop from the current 40 man before exposing Phipps. Maybe a way of saying I don't think our 40 man is so impressive as to get much attached to it. (or at least to large parts of it)

cinreds21
10-28-2011, 05:52 PM
They had to add Phipps now instead of when they add the others because he would become a free agent.

Brutus
10-28-2011, 07:45 PM
They had to add Phipps now instead of when they add the others because he would become a free agent.

Are you sure of that? I can double-check if need be, but I'm fairly certain 6-year free agency doesn't begin until after the rosters are frozen in November. So even if Phipps is no longer under contract, he's not a free agent until the filing begins after protection. Thus, it wouldn't matter if the Reds waited another week.

The only time free agency matters after the season for minor leaguers are for guys who have major league experience but are under a minor league contract; or were outrighted during the season and must be re-added to the 40-man roster by a certain date.

Phipps wouldn't have become a free agent until December, IIRC.

traderumor
10-29-2011, 02:46 PM
Interesting discussion, just like the 25th man debates, so the 40 man debates.

Quick question: the "lucky" theory, how does the significant bump in slg % that is not homer driven mesh with "luck"?

cinreds21
10-29-2011, 04:40 PM
Are you sure of that? I can double-check if need be, but I'm fairly certain 6-year free agency doesn't begin until after the rosters are frozen in November. So even if Phipps is no longer under contract, he's not a free agent until the filing begins after protection. Thus, it wouldn't matter if the Reds waited another week.

The only time free agency matters after the season for minor leaguers are for guys who have major league experience but are under a minor league contract; or were outrighted during the season and must be re-added to the 40-man roster by a certain date.

Phipps wouldn't have become a free agent until December, IIRC.


No, it's sometime in October/early November for sure.

Scrap Irony
10-29-2011, 04:53 PM
I think he's worth a spot on the 40, for sure, but I'd look to deal him to a team that thinks he's more than that.

mth123
10-29-2011, 04:59 PM
Interesting discussion, just like the 25th man debates, so the 40 man debates.

Quick question: the "lucky" theory, how does the significant bump in slg % that is not homer driven mesh with "luck"?

Every lucky single is a slugging % of 1.000 for that at bat. Since no one slugs 1.000, those lucky hits would raise the slugging % the same way they would raise a batting average. Higher BABIP = Higher Slugging %.

RedsManRick
10-29-2011, 05:05 PM
Interesting discussion, just like the 25th man debates, so the 40 man debates.

Quick question: the "lucky" theory, how does the significant bump in slg % that is not homer driven mesh with "luck"?

Most of the SLG increase is from the batting average. The bump in ISO is pretty minor, but also fits in with the idea of a few extra balls finding gaps.

Brutus
10-30-2011, 03:41 AM
No, it's sometime in October/early November for sure.

I decided to stop being lazy and look it up. It coincides with the end of the non-exclusive Major League free agency period, which is 5 days after the conclusion of the World Series.

So basically, the Reds had to either enter into a successor contract with him or place him on the 40-man roster before November 3. If they didn't, he would become a free agent on that date.