For the past number of years, Brandon Phillips has teetered between elite and second tier second baseman, which to me puts him in the elite category due to his consistency. Being able to consistently bi the 3-7 range at second base as Phillips has been over the majority of his career makes him a big target on draft day. While he no longer possesses 30 home run power, he has hit exactly 18 home runs in each of the past three years while stealing 16, 14, and 15 bases respectively.
Another great attribute about Phillips has been his health, which has allowed him to play no fewer than 141 games in each year since 2006, amassing over 600 plate appearances in each year aside from his first full season in which he accrued 587. His average dropped to .281 this year, which is still very respectable, and his .300 average from a year ago looks like a clear outlier compared to the rest of his career. Going forward, expecting his average to sit at around his career average of .273 seems to be reasonable, considering his age and three year average of .285. His walk rate dipping back to the 4.5% rate is a bit concerning, but not concerning enough for it to alter his value much. He will never be a big walker, but monitoring his walk rate in the early part of next year is recommended.
The age is one thing to consider with Phillips, as he will play half of next season at age 31 and the other half at age 32. Being on the wrong side of 30, his play could begin to deteriorate as may his health. The good thing is that there is not much to point to this happening next year.
Overall, he seems like a good target due to his name becoming less flashy compared to the Cano’s and Kinsler’s and his upside being capped. You know what you are getting with Phillips, which is valuable in and of itself. Taking some of the risk out of a position like second base, where overall production is usually lighter and the difference between the elite and the back end fantasy starters is large, is absolutely a positive that needs considering.
This was not a great year for Phillips and it was not a bad year. It was a Phillips year, where he contributed to every category solidly. Without one special tool, the value in having a guy like Phillips who provides consistency to your team in both his production year to year and in his ability to produce in every category has made him a great fantasy add for his entire career.