The Reds wanted to improve their defense in the offseason and I believe it has been their defense that has kept them so close in the race; well, their defense, Joey Votto’s hitting, and Johnny Cueto’s pitching, in my opinion.

Bill James’s subscriber website has posted a column by writer John Dewan listing the top individual defenders thus far in 2009. Dewan is the author of The Fielding Bible series of books where the new defensive statistics are being unveiled.

Anyway, by cumulative runs saved, Brandon Phillips is listed tied for ninth with eight runs saved thus far. He does trail two other second basemen, Aaron Hill of the Blue Jays and Ian Kinsler of the Rangers, who are scored as saving 13 and 12 runs each, respectively. Jay Bruce is tied for 14th by saving 7 runs. Only three outfielders rank above him, Matt Holiday, Colby Rasmus, and Michael Bourn. The rankings are not by position, but overall for all players.

Kind of nice to see for a young player.