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Thread: What to do with Brandon Phillips

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  1. #1
    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    What to do with Brandon Phillips

    Last night was a microcosm of Brandon Phillips. He works a walk and then proceeded to get picked off first base because he is lazily walking away from the bag. But he can go out and play top notch defense.

    My patience is wearing thin with BP. He used to be a great base runner. His first season with the Reds he was caught stealing 2 times all year long. This season he has 1-4 and picked off at least twice. He is being thrown out by a mile when he steals. He is hacktastic at the plate and swings for the fences too much. It has been pretty clearly stated that he is best when he hits the ball to the RC gap. Problem is he pulls off the ball too much trying to hit it 500 feet.

    If I am Dusty Phillips is sitting for tonight's game and maybe Thursday's. Mental lapses at the rate Phillips is having them is unacceptable. If I am Walt I am looking for a trading partner right away. I have a bad feeling that Phillips is going to become an expensive headache over the next few years.

  2. #2
    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    IIRC, Brandon's contract calls for $11 million in 2011 and a $12 million option for 2012 (club).

    He's a fixture. You do nothing. You live with him and try to work out the kinks. If someone calls about him, you listen. And in 2012 say hello to Mr. Frazier.
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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    The time to move him for great talent has passed, low OB, great fielder, eratic output is a nice player at a low cost, at a high cost he's a gamble, gambles get back other gambles.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    While he didn't exactly get great results, I thought his approach last night was as good as I've seen it. Short of moving Rolen or Hanigan up to 2nd, which Dusty will never do since Rolen doesn't have speed (and 3B is an "RBI spot) and Hanigan is a catcher (and thus bats 7th or 8th), I'd like to see him get an extended shot batting 2nd. It's certainly better than whoever is at SS.

    Long term, unless somebody in the minors really forces the issue, I'd like to see him stay through the end of his contract. Yes, he gets paid a lot. But as a ~3 win player, he's not overpaid. That said, I'd quietly be shopping him around and wouldn't think twice about dealing him for a good return.
    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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    My clutch is broken RichRed's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    While he didn't exactly get great results, I thought his approach last night was as good as I've seen it. Short of moving Rolen or Hanigan up to 2nd, which Dusty will never do since Rolen doesn't have speed (and 3B is an "RBI spot) and Hanigan is a catcher (and thus bats 7th or 8th), I'd like to see him get an extended shot batting 2nd. It's certainly better than whoever is at SS.
    I agree, I think his approach will improve in the 2-spot. "What to do with Brandon Phillips" though is figure a way to get his head out of his you-know-where on those occasions when he actually gets on base.

    If I'm reading baseball-reference.com correctly, Phillips has reached 1st base 19 times only to erase himself from the basepaths 6 times (3 CS and 3 pickoffs). A player with an already subpar OBP cannot afford to exacerbate things with bad baserunning, especially on an already offensively-challenged team.
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    Member redhawkfish's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    The thing that frustrates me the most about BP is that he does have some quality at bats, and he is capable of having a good approach at the plate. I am not saying never swing at the first pitch or wait until you get a strike to swing. It is the idiotic early swings at low breaking stuff out of the strike zone that baffle me. I hope he will do well in the 2 hole, because he is capable, but I worry whether he will maintain good plate discipline.
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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    Quote Originally Posted by RichRed View Post
    I agree, I think his approach will improve in the 2-spot. "What to do with Brandon Phillips" though is figure a way to get his head out of his you-know-where on those occasions when he actually gets on base.

    If I'm reading baseball-reference.com correctly, Phillips has reached 1st base 19 times only to erase himself from the basepaths 6 times (3 CS and 3 pickoffs). A player with an already subpar OBP cannot afford to exacerbate things with bad baserunning, especially on an already offensively-challenged team.
    Just going off my memory I remember two CS. Both the ball beat him to the base by a long margin. In one he pulled his hand back and actually was safe but the ump blew the ball. The other one was an attempt at 3b in which he wasn't even close.

    The reason I bring up base running is that BP used to excel at that. He used to pick and chose his spots, steal off the pitcher, and had a very high success rate. This season it seems as if he has gotten lazy (as seen by the pickoffs) and is stealing when he wants to not when the situation arises. He is making way too many outs, dumb outs, on the base paths right now.

    I hate to say it but a lot of the red flags about BP that arose during his Cleveland days are starting show themselves. With Brandon it has never been about his game, just the space in between his ears.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    Just going off my memory I remember two CS. Both the ball beat him to the base by a long margin. In one he pulled his hand back and actually was safe but the ump blew the ball. The other one was an attempt at 3b in which he wasn't even close.

    The reason I bring up base running is that BP used to excel at that. He used to pick and chose his spots, steal off the pitcher, and had a very high success rate. This season it seems as if he has gotten lazy (as seen by the pickoffs) and is stealing when he wants to not when the situation arises. He is making way too many outs, dumb outs, on the base paths right now.

    I hate to say it but a lot of the red flags about BP that arose during his Cleveland days are starting show themselves. With Brandon it has never been about his game, just the space in between his ears.
    Voto has 2 CS and he has been tossed out taking an extra base too, it's a part of any Baker managed teams fabric, they tend to be overly aggressive on the bases at times.

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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    Has anybody else noticed a decrease in his range on defense, or is it just my imagination?

    It seems that more and more grounders, albeit hard hit balls and difficult plays, are making it past Brandon -- both to his glove side and backhand side.

    IMHO, his range in 2010 is not all that much better than Cabrara's.

    Based on current OPS, here are the 8 top position players (excluding Hernandez, because the other catcher ranks #1):

    Hanigan 1.248
    Janish 1.127
    Votto 0.853
    Rolen 0.915
    Bruce 0.762
    Cabrara 0.668
    Phillips 0.641
    Gomes 0.640

    Note the absence of the two usual centerfielders, and a surplus of middle infielders. Can/should Phillips be moved to the OF? Could Janish at 2B and Phillips, say at CF, hit and field reasonably well enough to merit the makeover? It would move a gold glove infielder to the OF, but it would get one of the top 8 OPS guys into the lineup. Of course, that big a shift could best happen during spring training.

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    Member 11larkin11's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    Can we stop with the hacktastic stuff? He's obviously got a different approach this year, and is on pace for a great walk rate. If he was batting his career average, he would be OBPing about .340 right now, and thats only with a .260 average. His BABIP is .225. I he's going to be perfectly fine where he is, and continues to be underrated by a majority of people here. My only problem with him was being in the 4 hole, which if he stays out of, I'm fine with.
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    Socratic Gadfly TheNext44's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    Quote Originally Posted by 11larkin11 View Post
    Can we stop with the hacktastic stuff? He's obviously got a different approach this year, and is on pace for a great walk rate. If he was batting his career average, he would be OBPing about .340 right now, and thats only with a .260 average. His BABIP is .225. I he's going to be perfectly fine where he is, and continues to be underrated by a majority of people here. My only problem with him was being in the 4 hole, which if he stays out of, I'm fine with.
    I wonder if his new found patience at the plate (which started in spring training, so I don't think it's a fluke) is the reason why his BA is so low?

    Phillips in his career thrived on hitting the first fastball he sees. Now, it seems he is going deeper into the count, and hitting with two strikes more often, and considering he is a terrible two strike hitter, in fact, he's not even that good of a one strike hitter, I wonder if he would be better off going back to his old self?

    I have no idea if the data supports this theory, just thought I'd throw it out.
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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    Quote Originally Posted by TheNext44 View Post
    I wonder if his new found patience at the plate (which started in spring training, so I don't think it's a fluke) is the reason why his BA is so low?

    Phillips in his career thrived on hitting the first fastball he sees. Now, it seems he is going deeper into the count, and hitting with two strikes more often, and considering he is a terrible two strike hitter, in fact, he's not even that good of a one strike hitter, I wonder if he would be better off going back to his old self?

    I have no idea if the data supports this theory, just thought I'd throw it out.
    I don't think it has much relevance, but the data does support your observations about his approach.

    He has a career-best rate going this year of not swinging at pitches outside the strike zone, according to Fangraphs. Further, he's got a career-best contact percentage going and is swinging at 5% fewer pitches than any season in his career.

    He's walking 10.3% of the time thus far, which if that kept up would also be a career-high.

    Really, for as much as Jay Bruce has been a bit snake-bitten, Phillips is also suffering from the .226 BABIP as mentioned. Now, Phillips only has a 15.6% line drive rate - which definitely is not very good. His xBABIP is .268 by one formula. Essentially, he should have 2-3 more hits than he has. His average would be just shy of .250 with three additional hits added.

    So he's been a little unlucky, though it seems he's not hitting the ball hard enough for those balls to drop. If he gets back closer to about 19% line drive rate, he should be back around .270-.280 when it's all said and done.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

  13. #13
    Socratic Gadfly TheNext44's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post
    I don't think it has much relevance, but the data does support your observations about his approach.

    He has a career-best rate going this year of not swinging at pitches outside the strike zone, according to Fangraphs. Further, he's got a career-best contact percentage going and is swinging at 5% fewer pitches than any season in his career.

    He's walking 10.3% of the time thus far, which if that kept up would also be a career-high.

    Really, for as much as Jay Bruce has been a bit snake-bitten, Phillips is also suffering from the .226 BABIP as mentioned. Now, Phillips only has a 15.6% line drive rate - which definitely is not very good. His xBABIP is .268 by one formula. Essentially, he should have 2-3 more hits than he has. His average would be just shy of .250 with three additional hits added.

    So he's been a little unlucky, though it seems he's not hitting the ball hard enough for those balls to drop. If he gets back closer to about 19% line drive rate, he should be back around .270-.280 when it's all said and done.
    Thanks for the research.

    I guess my big question now is, and I don't have a clue as to the answer:

    Is Phillips' low LD% due to him taking more pitches?
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    Quote Originally Posted by TheNext44 View Post
    Thanks for the research.

    I guess my big question now is, and I don't have a clue as to the answer:

    Is Phillips' low LD% due to him taking more pitches?
    I think it has more to do with the fact that he's trying to put the screws to everything he swings at... Because he's overswinging he's missing high or low, and not making solid contact... That results in fly balls and dribblers that turn into double plays...
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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: What to do with Brandon Phillips

    Quote Originally Posted by 11larkin11 View Post
    Can we stop with the hacktastic stuff? He's obviously got a different approach this year, and is on pace for a great walk rate. If he was batting his career average, he would be OBPing about .340 right now, and thats only with a .260 average. His BABIP is .225. I he's going to be perfectly fine where he is, and continues to be underrated by a majority of people here. My only problem with him was being in the 4 hole, which if he stays out of, I'm fine with.
    Great walk rates give guys OB% above .360, guys with 9 BB in 77 ab's are hardly walk monsters, guys with walks in only 30% of the games they've played are not walk driven offensive players.

    Brandon's bat is his offense, if he finishes the season with a BB in every 12 ab's that's an improvement, if it's every 8.5 ab like his current rate then that'll be a miracle.


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