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Thread: Brandon Phillips Batting 2nd

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Brandon Phillips Batting 2nd

    A lot has been made on RedsZone over the past few years over where Brandon Phillips "best" fits in the lineup. Jerry Crasnick just posted a brief article on ESPN exploring it as well and quoting Phillips about the different approach batting 2nd requires.

    So I decided to take a look. The sample sizes aren't huge, but we do have about a season worth of data of him batting 1st, 2nd and 3rd and about 3 seasons of him batting cleanup.

    Code:
    Split		G	PA	AB	BB/PA	SO/PA	SO:BB	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	BAbip	tOPS+	PA:GIDP
    Batting 1st	150	691	631	6.4%	14.0%	2.2	.265	.325	.426	.751	.285	99	77
    Batting 2nd	182	813	749	4.8%	11.9%	2.5	.279	.322	.427	.749	.296	99	43
    Batting 3rd	123	528	484	5.3%	12.3%	2.3	.277	.323	.428	.750	.295	99	35
    Batting 4th	470	2023	1854	6.2%	13.8%	2.2	.282	.331	.454	.785	.298	108	29
    1. First and foremost, we should take the time to recognize the obvious. At the end of the day, it basically doesn't matter. Phillips is who he is and any changes we see are more or less at the margins. I think we sometimes forget to do this. A finding of "no difference" is still really interesting. It suggests that the difference in approach he takes doesn't actually seem to move the performance needle much. It may feel different to him and his thought processes may change a bit, but at the end of the day, his physical abilities are what they are.

    2. The biggest difference is that Phillips has hit for more power batting cleanup then compared to batting higher in the lineup. However, I would posit that while this may be indicative of a change in his approach due to the spot in the lineup, he's also hit cleanup more recently, in his peak, when we would expect his power output to be higher.

    3. While batting 2nd, he's been the most free swinging. Again, this could be indicative of his approach due to the spot in the lineup. But it could also be a function of a change in approach over time.

    4. GIDPs matter, sort of. While they don't show up in the adjusted OPS, his increased rate of hitting in to double plays batting cleanup likely offsets the power boost. That said, Phillips (and any hitter batting behind a high OBP guy like Votto) is more prone to hitting in to double plays when there are guys on base ahead of him and sadly, the Reds haven't been good at getting guys on base at the top of the order.

    5. To reiterate. It doesn't really matter where he hits. He is who he is. The biggest function of the lineup is the distribution of the plate appearances rather than maximizing some unique characteristic of a skill-set.
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 02-18-2013 at 12:28 PM.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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