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Is Brandon Phillips a Top Tier Second Baseman?

Posted By Brian Joura On February 10, 2009 @ 12:31 am In Second Base | 4 Comments

With the uncertainty surrounding Chase Utley, some analysts have Brandon Phillips as the top second baseman in the National League and along with Ian Kinsler one of the top at the position in all of baseball. Phillips at his peak offers power, average and speed and it is no wonder why many people are bullish on him as we head to the start of Spring Training.

But the one thing to keep in mind is that Phillips has been a starter for three seasons and his 2007 season, where he posted a .288-30-94-107-32 line, is the outlier. If he can duplicate that season, then yes he is one of the top second basemen in fantasy. But what if he hits like he did in either 2006 or 2008? Here is his average line from those two seasons:

.268-19-77-73-24

Now, that is a real nice line for a second baseman. It is just beneath what you should expect from, say Dustin Pedroia or Brian Roberts, with the latter trailing Phillips’ ADP of 29 according to the latest information from Mock Draft Central.

Phillips was hurt last year by a .281 BABIP, which was about 25 points below what he posted his previous two seasons. He has seen his LD% drop from 19.2 percent in 2006 to 16.4 percent last year. Both his FB% and HR/FB rates fell by a tick, too.

In 2006, he was successful on 25 of 27 steal attempts. His percentage fell off somewhat in 2007, but he compensated by attempting 40 steals. Last year, Phillips had 23 steals but was thrown out 10 times. That is not a good trend.

The four projection systems show him basically repeating his 2008 season this year. That is a fine line for a second baseman and nothing to dismiss. Just remember that before you make him one of the top players picked at the position. If he reproduces his 2008 numbers, Phillips is a third-tier second baseman. That makes his peers Alexei Ramirez and Dan Uggla, not Kinsler and Utley.


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