We’re going to run a series of these threads during the off-season, starting today with Brandon Phillips. I’d like to get the Nation’s collective wisdom regarding BP. Is Phillips overrated, underrated, or just rated? Which 2Bs are better, and what is his future with the Reds?

Tell us what you think about Phillips.

I’ll have more later, but my quick hit is that I like BP, but he’s clearly overrated. That’s not to say he isn’t good — he is — but he’s not as good as everyone seems to think he is. In that way, he’s kinda like the anti-Dunn. People love him for the things he does well, while ignoring the things he does poorly.

All in all, he’s a fairly valuable guy to have around, but not irreplaceable…as long as he’s being used correctly. And I don’t think anyone would argue that Phillips has been used correctly over the last year or two (he decidedly is not a cleanup hitter).

What do you think?

78 Responses

  1. Dave E.

    If he is your clean up hitter, your team is in trouble. If he is hitting 7th, however, your team is a contender.

    Great defense, lots of power for a 2nd basemen. Overall, a below average offensive player, but an above average 2nd basemen.

  2. Dave E.

    If he is your clean up hitter, your team is in trouble. If he is hitting 7th, however, your team is a contender.

    Great defense, lots of power for a 2nd basemen. Overall, a below average offensive player, but an above average 2nd basemen.

  3. Joseph P.

    I’d rather have Phillips than Orlando Hudson. The latter might put up better overall numbers, but not by a landslide. He’s going to command big dollars on the FA market, and is on the wrong side of 30. Phillips, on the other hand, is just 28 and at under $5 mil isn’t a drag on his team. We’ll see how the later portion of his contract pans out.

  4. dfs

    I think the above two posters got a lot of it. The bar has been raised pretty high for second basemen but Phillips isn’t a problem at the plate or in the field.

    The problem is the cincy media treats Phillips like some kind of mega star and that’s pretty clearly what he thinks of himself. He’s the only one that went on record as being critical of Hamilton. He seemed pleased and relieved when Junior left. He spent last winter talking about how he was going to be the next Joe Morgan. That kind of stuff just doesn’t sit very well.

  5. Mr. Redlegs

    People forget that Phillips has been a full-time starter just three seasons, so I’m not fully sure we’ve seen how good he could become yet. He’s still just 27 years old and I agree that he’s been used in ways that don’t best suit his talents or attitude.

    How would he perform if he wasn’t carrying the load of the middle of the order, or at times the entire offense?

    Put him in the 6-hole, leave him there, and I believe we’d see a heckuva jump in his offensive production. He’s still growing.

  6. nycredsfan

    I think he’s very overrated by Reds’ management, and probably by the city as a whole, but for the money he’s getting paid is a good guy to have around. Good defense, does nice things for the fans, good power. Would be an ideal 7 hitter. I’d be interested to know if other teams rate him too highly as well. If so, I’d trade him in a heartbeat for a good return, especially considering the 2B prospects we have coming through the system (Valaika in particular)

  7. per14

    If he’d learn to take a walk, he’d be one of the best players in the league. As it is, he’s slightly above average. He’s overrated.

  8. Dan

    I think Phillips is significantly overrated.

    He does a lot of things well — great glove, very good speed, very good power for a 2B — but his low OBP (career .308 OBP) is a VERY big problem, and no one talks about it.

    The Reds as a team had a .321 OBP this past year, and that was 13th out of 16 teams in the NL (and that was with 4 months of Dunn!). So the Reds in general need a lot more OBP up and down the lineup.

    But anyway… Phillips is a good player but significantly over-valued right now, I think.

  9. Dan

    And since I think he’s overvalued now, I have a trade idea (I posted this in another thread too):

    Brandon Phillips
    Rickie Weeks, Manny Parra

    I think Weeks is UNDER-valued in Milwaukee — they’re tired of his low batting average and too many errors, but the guy gets on base FAR better than Phillips does even with his low average.

    Weeks (majors) – .245/.352/.406
    Weeks (minors) – .289/.404/.493

    Phillips (majors) – .262/.308/.425
    Phillips (minors) – .274/.339/.418

    And then I’d give Weeks a chance to make a B.J. Upton/Eric Davis type switch and play center field. He’s a great athlete but is sloppy in the infield — just like Upton and Davis.

    Just a thought… what do you all think?

    (I’ll admit I didn’t know about Weeks’s knee injury when I came up w/ this idea… but it sounds like he had a minor procedure and should be ready for spring training… and maybe this just makes him even more under-valued!)

  10. doug

    Brandon Phillips is overrated by a whole lot of people. He is still a solid player overall though, but wasn’t one of the top 10 2B in baseball last year.

    I would certainly look to move him this offseaason, at least test the waters, because I believe we could come close to replacing him from inside the organization and soon, while acquiring good talent in return for him.

  11. The Redhead

    That is a horrible trade idead. It was dumb when you first posted it…worse now that you are still thinking that way. Why not follow it up with a trade of Votto to teh Pirates for Jack Wilson and middle relief!!

    On Phillips, I love this guy. He is the best defensive 2b in the league, and it really isn’t that close. Offensively, he still has upside. He’s young, fast, got pop…just needs to work on his eye at the plate…better plate discipline. He will be a 30/30 guy again in the next few years.

  12. The Redhead

    Speaking of dumb…I spelled “idea”, “idead”. Well, that idea should be dead, guess I mixed them!

  13. Mark in CC

    I think the Phillips of ’08 more closely resembles the player we will see from year to year rather than the 30/30 guy of the previous year.

    No doubt he was misused in the clean-up or even 3rd hole.

    I have had the opportunity to spend some tme with Brandon and I found him to be very engaging, articulate and personable. No doubt he is very confident in his own abilities. People mention negatively that he was critical of Hamilton. Obviously someone else in the organization shared at least some of the same thoughts because he is gone from the team. And, I want someone on my team that aspires to replace Joe Morgan. Good for him (joe never lacked self confidence either).

    In my book he is an asset on a team short on assets. I would keep him unless blown away with a trade offer.

  14. Dan

    Well, I don’t think my trade idea is a slam-dunk, but I don’t think it’s dumb either. Let’s see how 2009 goes.

    By the way, Redhead, while Phillips is young (27 this past June), Weeks is younger (26 this past Sept.) I think Weeks has more upside than Phillips does.

    I’ll certainly concede that Phillips is a better fielder than Weeks is at 2B, by a lot. I just wonder if Weeks is mis-cast as an infielder.

    I don’t know… it’s debatable.

  15. Dan

    As for Phillips, one other striking thing about him — he has a crazy-big platoon split for a righty.

    Brandon Phillips (career)
    vs. RHP – .249/.294/.394
    vs. LHP – .294/.343/.502

    Basically, Brandon is a solid #3 type hitter vs. LHP’s, but vs. RHP’s, he’s a #7 or #8 hitter.

  16. David

    I’m really shocked actually that people are so critical of Phillips.

    The Reds were 27th in all of MLB with a .981 FP, yet Phillips he committed only 7 errors. He has a better range factor and a better zone rating than Orlando Hudson – who has only won a Gold Glove three times.

    Offensively did he dip a bit? Yeah. He did. But how many 2B’s in the game today have 30/30 years to their credit? There is little statistical variation to suggest Phillips is better suited as a 7th hitter. Why would you want a guy who swipes bags at the back of the order anyway?

    His only downside offensively has been his inpatience.

    There are maybe two guys who put up the overall numbers (fielding and hitting) that Phillips does at 2B. I think you are all out of your mind a little bit.

  17. Dan

    We all agree that Brandon is a good player, and is VERY good at many things. I totally agree w/ that, even as I’m throwing around trade ideas.

    But I think the question is what is his ACTUAL value (in helping win games) vs. his PERCEIVED value.

    Anyone who is widely overvalued (perceived value greater than actual value) is a good candidate to trade away. Personally, I suspect this is Brandon right now.

    Anyone whose perceived value is LESS than his actual value is a good candidate to trade FOR. (This was the case w/ Brandon 3 years ago when we got him, and with Hamilton 2 years ago.)

    This is the whole thing I want to see the Reds being shrewd about — basically, buy low, sell high. That’s the only way to turn around a team like this.

    And I think Brandon is possibly a “sell high” candidate right now, and I say that even while recognizing that he’s a very good player!

  18. Dan

    Good topic here, by the way, Chad. This is a good debate. And it’s exactly what the Reds need to be thinking about — who is OVER-valued and who is UNDER-valued.

    In my opinion, recognizing that and using it to your advantage is exactly what “Moneyball” was about.

    It’s all just a baseball form of saying “buy low, sell high.”

  19. NickP

    Phillips is a league average hitter (considerably above average for 2B, though), and a great (possibly best) defender at the 4th toughest spot to fill. And he’s a great baserunner.

    He’s way way way more valuable than his salary, so we would have to be absolutely floored to trade him.

    Still think he should slide over to SS, also.

  20. Mike

    If Gonzo is not back at full strength, then Phillips should move to his natural position at short. Batting cleanup has put too much pressure on him to produce. He should bat in the 6th. or 7th. spot and hopefully work the pitching count more. A good solid ballplayer but he’s been hyped a bit too much.

  21. Mr. Redlegs

    It took 19 posts to get to the absurd idea of moving a Gold Glove-caliber 2b to a position by which he literally sucks, thus weakening two positions.

    Here’s an idea: the Rays should move Upton back to shortstop and replace Bartlett, whose offense doesn’t measure up to any foolhearted fantasy league comparison, because Upton used to play SS in the minors and some in the majors, by which he sucked less than Phillips.

    Eric Davis was drafted as a SS and if I recall correctly he made something like 35 errors his first year. The best athletes usually come into the pros as shortstops. Doesn’t mean they should stay there. Phillips is one of those people. When you are surpassed on the organizational depth chart by Jhonny Peralta, that should be your telling.

  22. Mark in CC

    I don’t think Weeks is the idea. We already have an infielder to turn into an outfielder EE. My concern with Weeks is that he was much better as a rookie than he is three years later and he has had chronic hand and wrist problems.

    We really are not the experts who determine value over or under. I am sure the baseball people have Phillip valued correctly. Lets don’t confuse marketing/promotion(or what is sold to the fans to sell tickets)value with play value.

  23. Dan

    Good point, Mark, about not confusing marketing w/ actual baseball talent evaluation, and of course I agree that we on a blog aren’t experts in valuing players…

    But still, I can’t totally buy your comment. By that argument, the Reds (and I guess all baseball organizations) have all players correctly valued and no one is over-valued or under-valued. There’s no way that’s true. We all have our biases or blind spots.

    And my gut tells me that the important people in the Reds organization over-value Brandon. That’s my impression, from afar.

    OBP (and “working the count” which is related) is about his only flaw, but it’s a serious one when it comes to creating runs. A .308 OBP (or, OK, it’s really more like .325 OBP in his three years as a Red) really isn’t very good.

  24. Bill

    I think Dan hit the nail right on the head in his over/under valued comments. Teams with limited payrolls must do this.

    I also tend to believe that he’s over-valued by this organization. I think they count PR value much too highly (see Casey, Sean) and don’t place enough value on pure baseball skills.

    He’s a good hitter for a 2B, a very good defensive 2B, but doesn’t get on base enough to hit high in the lineup, is NOT a great base runner (or base stealer), doesn’t hit often enough or with enough power to be a 3-4 guy, and has times when he loafs.

    But the local press love him…I think Chad had it right when he said that people dwell on what he does well and don’t spend much time talking about where he struggles.

  25. mhopp

    Well, if you get rid of the current management team all players will automatically be rated higher! 😛

  26. mhopp

    BTW…what did Phillips say about Hamilton? I would think the only reason he is not on this team is because of the risk of his past and he was worth a lot at the time…worth a lot more now with this past season. He’s still young too at 28 and will no doubt be better next year. BP on the other hand thinks a bit too highly of himself and needs to take lessons from Dunn and Hamilton on being patient at the plate…the man refuses to take a walk!

  27. Mark in CC

    I think part of the plate discipline argument could relate back to the spots he was placed in the batting order.

    Before he hit fourth he wasn’t great at taking a walk but he was better. And, he is beter when he goes the other way to right field. He went long spells not doing that last year. In the 4th hole it seemed he was trying to pull everything because he was trying to assume the role of power hitter. He was a better power hitter when it wasn’t expected.

    2nd would be a great spot for him if he could regain some discipline but more likely 6th or 7th.

  28. Y-City Jim

    Which set of stats belong to Phillips? Which is the better set of stats?

    BA .266 OBP .346 SLG .455 OPS+ 103

    BA .262 OBP .308 SLG .425 OPS+ 87

  29. mike

    On Phillips, I love this guy. He is the best defensive 2b in the league

    no he’s not. He’s one of the best, top 5 for sure but there are clearly at least two guys better.

    Hell even Pedroia is better defensively

    Ellis, Pedroia, Utley and then maybe Phillips. But it’s close, players like Cano, Kinsler, Johnson (Atl), and Sanchez are pretty much just as good defensively as Phillips.

    This year Phillips was out hit by MANY 2B. Ummm…17 to be exact…..

  30. doug

    Post #19,
    Phillips is a league average hitter (considerably above average for 2B, though)
    This year he was WELL below average as a hitter and even below average as a second baseman. His inability to get on base kills him. To be honest, his bat against right handed pitching sucks so bad that you could easily make an argument he shouldn’t even start against them.

    he is a great (possibly best) defender at the 4th toughest spot to fill.
    He is an above average defender at 2B, but he isn’t the best. Chase Utley is easily the best in baseball at second. Phillips is about the 5th best guy there.

    He’s way way way more valuable than his salary, so we would have to be absolutely floored to trade him.

    He is more valuable than his salary now, but he won’t be for long because he is due raises and real soon. At that point, its not likely he will be worth his salary.

  31. Dave E.


    I like the Weeks trade idea very much. I am not sure Weeks will ever be good, but it is the type of thinking that the Reds need.

    Phillips is not going anywhere, though. The Reds have to hope that he is more like the 2007 Phillips than the 2008 version, but even so the 2007 version has significant limitations. . .

  32. Mr. Redlegs

    Phillips is No. 5 2b at best? hahahahaha. You must really need those stat sheets because you have no idea what you’re looking at live, bub.

  33. mike

    This year he was WELL below average as a hitter and even below average as a second baseman. His inability to get on base kills him. To be honest, his bat against right handed pitching sucks so bad that you could easily make an argument he shouldn’t even start against them.

    this year Phillips was a disappointment
    At 27 and after 2 full years of starting I expect him to peak and be better than last year and he was worse.

    And yes he was even a below average hitter for a 2B. His defense made up for some of his offensive lackings but for example 9 2B had more Win Shares, which includes defense. That’s still not bad but I expected more.

    I don’t know how much playing on a terrible losing team, batting in the wrong spot in the batting order and the injury effected his performance but in the end he was nothing to write home about and a let down this past year.
    I hope he bounces back this coming year

    On the other hand and in comparison I was shocked at this analysis of 1B and Votto

    A serious evalutation of 1B, some of the biggest sluggers in baseball, including defense and Votto was the 5th most valuable 1B in baseball. WOW!!!!!! I see his defense questioned often and never understood why, he looks GREAT on defense to me.

    Not sure if this will show up, if not check the url above, it’s a good read but here were the top 10 1B in baseball last season

    Rank Player Off Pos Field Total
    1 Albert Pujols 89 -11 20 98
    2 Mark Teixeira 65 -12 21 74
    3 Lance Berkman 68 -11 17 74
    4 Kevin E Youkilis 54 -8 4 50
    5 Joey D Votto 38 -11 10 37
    6 Carlos Pena 44 -10 4 37
    7 Miguel Cabrera 49 -10 -7 32
    8 Adrian Gonzalez 47 -12 -4 31
    9 Carlos Delgado 40 -12 -1 27

    and the comment on Votto
    5. Joey D Votto (38 off, 0 def, 37 tot) — Geovany Soto will run away with Rookie of the Year honors, but Votto deserves to finish a close second. Although Dusty attempted to turn him into a hacker, Votto held on to his walking skills and flashed a better-than-expected glove

  34. Tom

    I’m not convinced the Brewers would trade Manny Parra straight up for Brandon Phillips.

  35. mike

    even more perspective on Phillips

    Here are top hitting 2B, looking at Runs Created Above Positional Average for the last 2(!) seasons, 2007 & 2008 combined.

    1 Chase Utley 60
    2 Placido Polanco 30
    3 Brian Roberts 25
    4 Kelly Johnson 23
    5 Jeff Kent 19
    6 Rickie Weeks 18
    7 Dustin Pedroia 17
    8 Robinson Cano 14
    9 Mark Ellis 13
    10 Ian Kinsler 11
    11 Freddy Sanchez 10
    T12 Orlando Hudson 8
    T12 Luis Castillo 8
    T12 Damion Easley 8
    T15 Dan Uggla 6
    T15 Jorge Velandia 6
    T17 Ty Wigginton 5
    T17 Aaron Hill 5
    T17 Ron Belliard 5
    20 Kaz Matsui 4
    T21 Eugenio Velez 3
    T21 Ruben Gotay 3
    T21 Tadahito Iguchi 3
    T24 Brandon Phillips 1
    T24 Mark Grudzielanek 1
    T24 Mark DeRosa 1

  36. preach

    Brandon has his limitations, but the day anyone compares him on the negative side with a modern Luis Castillo is a sad day for baseball.

    It doesn’t happen often, but I am in complete agreement with Mr. Redlegs, specifically post number 5. Phillips is still relatively cheap for what he gives you. Forget second, concentrate on areas where you are lacking bona fide MLB talent. Unless you can work a great trade (and I think Weeks would be a bad move. He’s injury prone, a weak fielder, and we need an immediate improvement on defense, not another liability). But I like that style of thinking. Perhaps there are some players miscast or stuck behind someone else who we might pick up economically.

  37. Phill

    My stance on Phillips is this…he’s good, not great but he’s good. He is obviously not a 3-4 hitter. Hopefully if the Reds pull in a big time hitter it will move him out of there to where he can be more valuable and have less pressure. I don’t understand the idea of moving him to shortstop. A lot of the idea around that thought is either giving Keppinger a starter job or to make room for the young shortstops that can’t hack it there. Which makes me wonder why if these guys have similar defensive stat lines to Phillips at short he should get moved back to where he wasn’t all that great.

    If Phillips is blocking guys wouldn’t it make sense to trade them to better the team as everyone seems to love prospects these days?

    Also, mmhopp, the Josh Hamilton thing is in reference to last year when the team was at Kings Island. Basically Phillips said he felt that certain teammates were focusing on specific things and not playing winning baseball. The two examples were Josh Hamilton’s triumphant return to baseball and Griffey’s march to 600. Then a lot of J-Ham fans decided this meant Phillips was jealous and hated everyone but himself and just wanted people to talk about him only. I don’t know the ins or outs of the clubhouse or anything like that but it seemed like a lot of the ‘behind closed doors’ hate of Hamilton and other players was more media inspired then reality.

  38. Deaner

    You’re right he’s not irreplaceable. For one, he “learned” too much from Dunn and Griffey – meaning that he does nothing but swing for the fences (no matter what the count or situation) and doesn’t hustle if the game isn’t on the line.

  39. Tom

    Dan, I’d do that trade in a heartbeat. Weeks is younger and a better hitter and Parra is a 25 year old LH starter who could step into our rotation. Phillips’ salary is reasonable in 2009 and 2010 at 4.75M and 6.75M respectively, but he becomes grossly overpaid in 2011 at 11M. I highly doubt he’ll get his 2012 club option for 12M picked up. Phillips is a good player but that’s a deal I’d do. Arroyo is definitely someone else that I’d deal due to his about to become grossly overpaid.

  40. Dan

    The more I stare at Brandon’s OBP’s, the more I really like the deal. I have no idea if Milwaukee would do it… I tend to think no actually (since Parra is young, promising, and left-handed).

    Also, besides all this, I just have a feeling that Weeks is going to put it all together soon — not super-stardom, but maybe .260/.370/.440 type stuff — and it just feels like a good “buy low” opportunity.

    Without Dunn in the lineup, we need as many more .370 OBP guys as we can get.

  41. Kevin

    Like I have said before, I think that defense is absolutely one of our biggest problems and improving on our defense is going to be big part of building a contender. I’m not going to make an argument that he’s the best in the league, but because of how important our defense is, I’d like to see him at 2B next year.

    My take on the over/undervalue thing is that he is certainly overvalued by our media and the fans, but I have to wonder if he’s really being overvalued by management across the league. I think that was definitely true in 2007 when he came of his 30/30 year, but this year his defense was really his only bright spot.

    What I would like to do with Phillips is keep him for next year, because he is undervalued in terms of his salary right now, and because having him at 2B can be an important part of building a stronger defense. I also doubt any of our 2B prospects will be ready at the start of ’09, and so he’s not blocking anyone just yet. For the sake of defense, his ’09 salary, and the fact that Valaika and Frazier and others still need a little more time in the minors, I say keep him at least through the winter.

    That being said, I do think this is a guy who should be traded in the future. I say give him at least a half season to put up some better offensive numbers (I think he had an off year), and to find out if Valaika’s really ready. I’d rather see him dealt at the deadline or after next year season, before his raises get too bad, when the prospects are ready, and he (hopefully) goes back to being overvalued in terms of management like he probably was a year ago.

  42. Kevin

    Sorry for how wordy I am, I also wanted to say that I really do agree that moving him down to the 6th or 7th spot will help his offense. I remember seeing a drastic change in his plate approach in September ’07 when he was so desperate to hit his 30th home run. I remember Mackanin mentioning how he just wanted BP to get to 30 so he’d get his plate approach back to how it should be. I feel like that impatient, nervous, swinging-for-fences plate approach carried over to this whole season with him in the 4 spot. Moving him down might take some pressure off and help with his on base skills. We’ve already got 2 guys who I think should fill the 2, 3, and 4 spots (Bruce and Votto), and hopefully this big acquisition Jocketty’s promising us will fill the last of the 3. That way Phillips can be lower in the lineup.

  43. LVW

    Phillips was 2nd in zone rating(pct of balls hit in your zone that you make a play on) and 3rd in fielding% in all of baseball.

  44. doug

    He was also 17th in innings/out of zone plays. The guy is a good defender, but he isn’t the best.

  45. Tyler W.

    I’ve checked this website out for a long time but never posted. However this is an awesome topic and I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s perspective so I guess it’s finally time to get involved.

    My question is this, does where you hit in the lineup change your mentality when you step to the plate?

    Maybe BP hitting in the clean-up spot was like Willie Mays Hays in Major League II trying to be a power hitter. I think Brandon Phillips could be a Joe Morgan type hitter if he went to the plate with the mentality of a #2 hitter and he quit trying to hit home runs altogether.

  46. brublejr

    Phillips is overrated. His defense is good and has very good power for his position. However, he has no plate discipline at all. He is an inning killer often because of swinging at the first pitch and popping it up.

    But…He is still looking toward his prime years. His numbers should be better over the course of the next 4 years. I would say though, he will never reach full potential until he understands what the stikezone is.

    I personally wouldn’t trade him, unless you get great value. He has a managable contact and is only 27 years old.

    Sidenote: I don’t think either the reds or brewers will make an impact trade within the division, so I don’t understand why it has been dicussed so much.

  47. Mike Martz

    (shakes head) I guess with Dunn gone, Phillips gets to catch all the flack now? Who gets run out of town next? 😉

  48. Mr. Redlegs

    Brandon Phillips’ defense is sensational, proving some of you are not watching him and further proving some of you don’t know what you’re seeing when you do watch. If not for stat sheets you wouldn’t know a thing about the game. Priceless, really.

  49. Bill

    Sorry Mike, have to disagree. I think this has been a very interesting and well thought out discussion from all sides, stressing his strengths and weaknesses…I’d imagine its what Chad hoped for when posting the piece.

    I just don’t see any “flack”.

  50. Dan

    Mr. Redlegs, in my opinion defense is too subtle and difficult to assess to just rely on your eyes.

    I’d rather rely on statistical measures than on my eyes and general impressions.

    Not to mention… I only see a handful of games a year.

    The numbers, taken as a whole, say that Brandon is well above-average defensively at 2B. Not the best in the league, but probably top 5 or 6, I’d say. I’ll buy that.

  51. GregD

    The only flack I see is Redlegs flacking everybody else.

  52. orangeandbrown

    Bill, I agree. Its a thoughtful conversation and pretty fact-based.

    I think the observational method of evaluating defense is tough….part of the highlight mentality. I agree with the consensus…he’s a good player, good for our team, but we can’t win with him in the prime batting slots.

  53. David

    Doug –

    You are claiming Utley is the league’s best defensive second baseman. Though Utley has a higher career ZR, Utley has a lower career FP, career RF is exact match.

    As far as Hudson – Mr. Gold Glove the past three seasons – Phillips had a better FP, ZR and RF this year and has better career numbers, save for RF.

    Moreover, looking at former Gold Glovers, Luis Castillo and Bret Boone, Castillo is comparable to most defensive statistical comparisons and Phillips is heads and shoulders above Boone.

    So to say that Phillips is 5th or so (league avg.) is crazy to me.

    Offensively, Phillips is about middle of the road offensively in most sabermetric statistics. But, he is behind only Utley and Uggla in TB, led in steals and triples.

    I can see how many could say Phillips is offensively overrated, but as a total package is what makes him so valuable.

    I have yet to hear anyone give me a proven 30/30 2B with Phillips’ defensive prowess available or coming through the ranks. I mean if you can do that, then please let me know cause I’ll become an immediate fan.

  54. Dan

    I said this above but I’ll throw it out again b/c I think it’s really important…

    This is really all about ACTUAL value vs. PERCEIVED value (in the trade market I guess).

    It’s quite possible we could see that Brandon has excellent actual value due to his power, speed, and defense… and STILL conclude that we should try to trade him (if it seems his perceived value is higher than actual).

    And on the flip side, in the trade market, we’re looking for players whose perceived value (for whatever reason) is lower than actual.

    Buy low, sell high!

    We bought low on Phillips 3 years ago and on Hamilton 2 years ago… The White Sox bought low on Carlos Quentin last year.

    The A’s sold high on guys like Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, Dan Haren, etc. and they got a TON of good prospects back.

    The Cowboys sold high on Herschel Walker and got a dynasty out of it.

    I’m just wondering if the Reds are in a position to do either of these things… and I think it’s possible that Brandon is a “sell high” candidate.

  55. The Redhead

    comment 29…you are nuts. Phillips is the best…and most people agree. Those that know baseball anyways. No one, and I said, no one, has his range, and he has a SS’s arm. He is the best.

  56. mike

    2008 best defensive 2B looking at
    Combined STATS and BIS zone ratings converted to runs to measure fielding


  57. The Redhead

    One more time…the trade idea of BP for Weeks and Para is STUPID!! I would love for you to call Jocketty about that, and get laughed off the phone.

  58. mike

    2008 best defensive 2B looking at
    Combined STATS and BIS zone ratings converted to runs to measure fielding

    21 Utley
    18 Ellis
    16 Kennedy
    12 Polanco
    9 Pedroia

    the important part, while Phillips defense is good, it’s not good enough to make up for his offensive lackings.

    that is not to say he’s bad he’s just not one of the 10 best 2B in the game. At least in 2008

    I agree mostly with this article

    I think it’s clear that
    Utley, Roberts, Polanco, Pedroia, Kinsler, Ellis, Uggla and Derosa are better overall 2B.

    Phillips is in the same group as Johnson, Weeks, and Hudson

  59. NickP

    Doug, you were wrong when your refuted all 3 of my claims.

    Start reading Tango’s blog.

  60. preach

    I’ve always been skeptical of defensive stats and ratings. Brandon is a fine defensive second baseman and is the subject of as many ESPN highlights as any other second baseman. He can flat out pick it.

  61. Flash

    BP’s biggest problem is with trying to be a home run hitter. He needs to concetrate on getting on base. I have no problem with him batting third ifhe can get his average up to .290. Just move the runers and lets 4 and five bring them in. Quit swinging for the fences.

  62. Mr. Redlegs

    The defensive ratings are a load of subjective hooey, they’ve always been a load of subjective hooey, and if a single one of you sincerely believe Ellis, Kennedy, Polanco and Pedroia are even within a mile of Phillips with the glove you simply have no reason attempting to discuss baseball intelligently. Every advance scout in MLB would laugh you off your barstool . . . and pedestal. Preach is right: Phillips can flat out pick it, go and get it, turn it and throw it.

  63. doug

    Mr Redlegs,
    I know a few of those guys who are advanced scouts so I will be asking them. That said, if defensive ratings are such a load of hooey as you say, why is it that other guys get to more baseballs hit within a measured area than Brandon Phillips does? Are you going to suggest Phillips just see’s more hard hit balls than they do? No one is suggesting Phillips isn’t one of the best defenders in baseball. We are suggesting that he isn’t the best. He is still a well above average defender.

  64. Sky Kalkman

    Mr. Redlegs — I’m quite amused that you are calling an objective measure subjective hooey and then backing up your claim by stating that scouts subjectively think Phillips is light years ahead of Ellis or Utley. They are clearly the cream of the crop objectively, and I’ve read some articles referencing scouts agreeing over the past couple years.

  65. Shawn

    Yes, the numbers are a bunch of hooey. Hitting numbers too: just because a guy bats .320 with 35 HR doesn’t mean he can hit. You should always trust the scouts.

    Now, that may not be what you meant to say, but it is what you’re saying, and it is just as foolish as the hitting stuff I just wrote. Sure, fielding analysis is still in the early stages compared to analysis of hitting. That doesn’t mean it is worthless, just still developing.

    FWIW, according to the stats on espn.com, Phillips was fourth among regular second basemen in Zone Rating, behind Ellis, Pedroia, and Utley, and middle of the pack in range factor (a number that is NOT subjective) 8th of 16 regulars ranked.

    According to mlb.com, Phillips was 6th in the majors (among second basemen) in total chances, 7th in assists, 12th in double plays, while being 7th in innings.

    Conclusion: according to the numbers, Phillips is an above-average second baseman, though not the best.

  66. Mr. Redlegs

    Some of you flat out can’t read. I didn’t say anything negative about Utley and I did not bring up offense whatsoever in criticizing the defensive zone readings.

    And zone defense hooey has been around for over 20 years and it’s highly subjective.

    The reason the defensive stat factors are a load of hooey is because they cannot properly emulate the intangibles of defense–such as your pitching staff’s tendencies (flyball, groundall, strikeout, lefty, righty), positioning for batters, having a good-great-weak double play partner, range of your other infielders, arm strength and so forth.

    I’m also willing to bet that not a single one of you has seen Ellis or Utley or Kennedy or any other 2b play more than a handful of games, live or on TV, so you’d have no idea about their defensive skills unless you read some idiotic zone rating chart.

  67. Tom

    It took 19 posts to get to the absurd idea of moving a Gold Glove-caliber 2b to a position by which he literally sucks, thus weakening two positions.

    What I find absurd is that someone who claims to watch so much baseball is incapable of seeing the way Phillips has matured as a defensive player since his days of playing SS in the minors and how his skills traslate to him being at least an average defensive SS. Let us know when you start paying attention while you are watching baseball games and then maybe we will have a reason to attempt an intelligent baseball discussion with you.

  68. doug

    Mr Redlegs,
    Zone rating easily takes into account your pitchers, because it has nothing to do with the amount of chances, it has to do with the amount of plays you make on balls that land within your area. It has nothing to do with your double play counter part. As far as positioning on different batters, if other teams didn’t position themselves and just the Reds did, you would have a point. But they do, so unless you are suggesting the Reds are just really dumb and go the wrong way, then your point on positioning isn’t too valid either.

    Now as far as arm strength goes, yeah, thats not accounted for. But let me ask you this, how many extra outs was Phillips above average arm worth? 3 all season compared to other top end guys?

  69. Shawn

    I find it odd that people who read other people talking about the numbers of baseball automatically assume those “statheads” do not watch baseball. I watch copious amounts of baseball. I do not attend as many games “live” as I would like, but that is largely a function of money and distance from venues. I don’t live in a big city, and am an hour away from even the closest minor league park. Yet I go when I can, and watch even game that is on while I am in the house. I also watch amateurs when possible, on high school and college levels.

    Most “statheads” use the numbers to inform their opinions. “Lunkheads” ignore the numbers because they don’t understand them.

  70. Mr. Redlegs

    “Let us know when you start paying attention while you are watching baseball games and then maybe we will have a reason to attempt an intelligent baseball discussion with you.”

    Let’s see: Two GMs and three managers have resisted moving Phillips from a position of strength to a position of weakness. Now why is that? because they’re all blithering idiots but your superior baseball intelligence has it all figured out?

    Nah, didn’t think so.

  71. Mr. Redlegs

    Doug, how many times did you see Phillips go into the outfield and make a play, turn and throw out a runner? How many times did you see him go up the middle, backhand, and convert the out? How many times did you see him stand like a rock at 2b and flip the DP?

    The positioning of the player next to you makes a huge difference in these ratings because these “zones” can’t account for a slow-footed 1b or a SS who can’t go to his right. The range factor doesn’t account for the player, like Ripken, who positions himself perfectly for the batter. You don’t need to be rangy if you’re in the right position, as dictated by scouting reports and by sitting in the pitcher’s and catcher’s pregame meeting.

    Besides, you compared Phillips statistically to a handful of other players. Phillips missed 22 games, most at the end of the season. So his numbers skewed low.

    But if you want to keep believing he’s an inferior 2b to Wigginton, Kennedy and an assortment of other retreads, by thine guest.

  72. Mr. Redlegs

    “‘Lunkheads’ ignore the numbers because they don’t understand them.”

    No, Lunkheads who know better ignore certain stats because they are so obviously flawed and subjective.

  73. Shawn

    “The range factor doesn’t account for the player, like Ripken, who positions himself perfectly for the batter.”
    Actually, it does. Ripken rates incredibly highly in range factor, because he got to so many balls. The actual reason for this was that he could play very deep because of his strong arm, increasing his range.

  74. Shawn

    Good defensive numbers for Phillips: he led 2B in 2008 in Baseball Prospectus’ Fielding Runs Against Average, with a 15.

    Bad (or at least not as good) fielding numbers for Phillips: he trailed Chase Utley (as did everyone else) in John Dewan’s +/- system. Utley tallied a +47, a higher number than anyone at any position in 2008.

  75. Mr. Redlegs

    “he actual reason for this was that he could play very deep because of his strong arm, increasing his range.”

    More hooey. Most shortstops naturally play deep to get angles on balls. Ripken was purely and simply in the right place at almost every time. I watched and covered Ripken for a big part of his career. He didn’t play any deeper than anyone else. Being 6-4 helped more than playing deep.

  76. Mr. Redlegs

    I think Dewan’s system is a positive step forward for defensive measures.