I've been rather amazed by the lack of notice and caring that people have given to the glaring black hole we've had sitting in the #7 slot in our lineup nearly every game for the past month.
Coming into tonight's game, Brandon Phillips has posted an outstanding OPS of .479 for the entire month of May. That's around 50 plate appearances and Phillips has given us production not much better than what we'd expect from a pitcher. To say that's absolutely terrible is being about as nice I as can be.
Here's what Phillips has done for us on the season:
HCPA% is the percentage of all PAs that end in a hitter's count, and PCPA% is the percentage of all the PAs that end in a pitcher's count.Code:BA OBP SLG PA/BB HCPA% PCPA% Phillips .288 .325 .432 20.17 30.6% 31.4%
What do we have here? Well, based solely on the strength of seven games, an overall tolerable batting line. However, Phillips has shown absolutely zero ability to control the strike zone this season as evidenced by the fact that he's had more plate appearances in pitcher's counts than hitting counts. He's also averaging just over 20 plate appearances per every walk drawn.
Folks, that's hard to do. That's Tony Womack territory for plate discipline.
Take out those seven games where Phillips was the epitomy of a blind squirrel finding a nut, and his batting line on the season is .225/.278/.263. That's good for a .541 OPS in roughly 90 plate appearances. Again, similar to his May OPS, outside of the week where Phillips won the Player of the Week Award, his batting prowess resembles that of your ordinary decent hitting major league pitcher.
Just in case people have forgotten, here's Phillips' career major league numbers:
Phillips' career minor league rate stats are .273/.334/.415, good for a career minor league OPS of .749. Even in the minor leagues where he should be walking regularly, he only drew a walk once for every 13.5 plate appearances. His plate discipline down in the farm was nothing special, and his overall hitting production in the minor leagues was also nothing special.Code:BA OBP SLG PA/BB HCPA% PCPA% Phillips .223 .262 .335 23.32 27.6% 35.2%
I know Phillips will not turn 25 until next month, but nothing in his history suggests that he will ever be a remotely decent hitter. He's simply just a terrible hitter with about as little plate discipline as any hitter can ever possibly have. Quite frankly, I'd highly recommend the Reds move him over to shortstop to see if we can grab as much value as possible out of his glove. At least as a shortstop as a guy with the potential to save a few runs defensively, his bat becomes much more tolerable. However, even his defensive work remains up in the air; while he's put up an above average zone rating, Baseball Prospectus has already credited him with -4 fielding runs above average at second base this season.
In the batter's box, if Brandon Phillips is the answer to anything, I don't want to know the question. And sadly, don't anyone think for one second that Jerry Narron won't be tempted to bat such a prolific out-making machine as high in the order as leadoff or second. There no better way to kill potential rallies than batting an out-prone hitter immediately in front of your big boppers.
Learn the strike zone and take a walk occasionally, Brandon, it won't harm you to do so.