There are very few players that you can pick at the beginning of the year and basically know exactly what they are going to give you. Yes, there is always room for variation but from Day 1 you just know that, no matter what happens in between, on the last day of the season the numbers should be there.
One such player is Brandon Phillips, who simply posted what has become a standard Phillips year in 2012:
580 At Bats
.281 Batting Average (163 Hits)
18 Home Runs
15 Stolen Bases
.321 On Base Percentage
.429 Slugging Percentage
It is the third straight year that he has hit 18 HR. Since 2006 he has been between 17 and 21 in all but one year. The odd year out was his “breakout” campaign of 2007, when he hit 30 HR.
He has had the same consistency in the stolen base department, with between 14 and 16 the past three seasons. Yes, he was able to steal more bases earlier in his career (23-32 from 2006 through 2009), but at 31-years old it is safe to assume he isn’t going to get back to those days. The past three years should be what we expect, and that is just fine.
The average has also been right along the same lines. He’s had a few outlier seasons, both for the good (.300 in 2011) and for the bad (.261 in 2008). Otherwise, he has been between .275 and .288.
The real questions regarding Phillips on a yearly basis was if he was going to provide runs or RBI, as he was moved between hitting in the middle of the order and in the leadoff spot. Yes, he did spend time batting leadoff again in 2012, but that was more out of desperation. Assuming the Reds fix that problem this offseason, it is safe to assume Phillips will be a bat in the middle of the order.
That doesn’t mean he won’t score runs, but he isn’t going to reach 100. Figure he goes around 80/80, with the potential to reach 90+ RBI if he spends the entire season hitting third, fourth or fifth.
There were only 6 second baseman who hit more HR than Phillips in 2012…
There were only 8 second baseman who stole more bases than Phillips in 2012…
There were only four other second baseman who went 15/15 (though, both Jason Kipnis and Aaron Jill were close)…
The bottom line with Phillips is that we can go into the season expecting another 15/15 year, which puts him right there with the better options at his position. Don’t downgrade him due to stability, because sometimes swinging for the fences is what costs you.
What are your thoughts of Phillips? Is he a player you are going to target in 2012? Why or why not?
Make sure to check out the rest of our extremely early 2013 rankings: