Brandon Phillips
Brandon Phillips
37-Year-Old Second Baseman2B
Boston Red Sox
2018 Fantasy Outlook
For all his warts, Phillips is still relevant. He has the potential to contribute in all five traditional hitting categories. Phillips has batted over .280 while stealing double-digit bases and hitting double-digit homers in each of the past three seasons -- only Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Charlie Blackmon and Paul Goldschmidt can say the same. He totaled 604 plate appearances between Atlanta and Anaheim last season and only walked 21 times, and he continued to chase pitches out of the zone nearly 42 percent of the time, but even so he rarely struck out (12.1 percent). Perhaps most importantly for his 2018 outlook, Phillips' defense bounced back after he graded out as a net negative in the field in 2016, and that bodes well for his chances of seeing regular playing time again this season. Added bonus: Phillips now qualifies at third base as well as second. Of course, for any of this to matter, he needs to land with a team in free agency where he will get regular at-bats. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox in June of 2018.
Working out at first base
2BBoston Red Sox
September 8, 2018
Phillips has begun working out at first base, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports. "We're going to see how versatile we can make this guy," manager Alex Cora said.
The 37-year-old Phillips has played nearly his entire 17-year career as a second baseman and has never played first base. The Red Sox are using a tandem of Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce at first, but Moreland has slumped since the All-Star break (.183 BA, .594 OPS) while battling various injuries. Phillips made a splash in his Boston debut Wednesday, when he hit a game-winning, two-run homer in the ninth inning against Atlanta.
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Batting Stats
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .691 269 29 4 24 6 .274 .310 .381
Since 2016vs Right .750 928 129 21 102 19 .291 .322 .428
2018vs Left 1.133 6 1 1 2 0 .200 .333 .800
2018vs Right .333 3 2 0 0 0 .000 .333 .000
2017vs Left .711 128 15 2 11 3 .297 .339 .373
2017vs Right .741 476 66 11 49 8 .282 .314 .427
2016vs Left .654 135 13 1 11 3 .256 .281 .372
2016vs Right .761 449 61 10 53 11 .302 .331 .430
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
OPS at Home
Since 2016Home .779 577 77 14 65 9 .301 .324 .455
Since 2016Away .696 620 81 11 61 16 .273 .315 .381
2018Home .000 4 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
2018Away 1.933 5 3 1 2 0 .333 .600 1.333
2017Home .823 296 43 8 33 4 .320 .348 .475
2017Away .648 308 38 5 27 7 .250 .291 .358
2016Home .743 277 34 6 32 5 .286 .303 .440
2016Away .729 307 40 5 32 9 .296 .334 .394
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Stat Review
How does Brandon Phillips compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
"Dat Dude" really isn't all that anymore. Now, he did top a .290 batting average for a second straight season and again reached double digits in both home runs and stolen bases, but even so, he finished outside the top 15 fantasy second basemen. He grows more impatient at the dish with each passing season: his walk rate fell to just 3.1 percent in 2016 and his chase rate leaped to a career-high 41.7 percent. His 92 wRC+ for the season ranked 122nd among qualified hitters (out of 146), and for the first time in a long time, Phillips graded out as a net negative in the field. The Reds finally managed to deal the veteran to Atlanta, where Phillips will fortunately get the opportunity to play everyday. However, the Braves might hand the reins over to Ozzie Albies later in the seaon, which could lead to fewer opportunities for the aging second baseman. Between this and further skills regression with age could result in Phillips losing 15-team mixed-league relevance. Invest at your own risk.
Phillips arrested a steady decline in his numbers by putting together a solid 2015 campaign, hitting .294 with 12 homers, 70 RBI and a surprising 23 stolen bases. The stolen bases in particular stand out after he had stolen a combined seven the two previous seasons. It helps that he was healthy in 2015, and that he had a healthy Joey Votto on base over 40 percent of the time in front of him in the batting order. In fact, if you look closely, his 2015 numbers model what should have been a gentle decline from 2012-13, rather than the stark injury-related drop in 2014. As the Reds continue to shed their veteran players in a rebuilding effort, they'll try to deal Phillips, though he has a no-trade clause built into his deal.
The trends for Phillips are pretty ugly -- his OPS has dropped three consecutive years, dipping down to .678 last year after peaking at .810 in 2011; he stole a career-low two bases after formerly being a double-digit steal threat; and he hit only eight homers after four consecutive 18-homer seasons. A thumb injury that put him on the DL in July can only explain some of his low output, the rest can be attributed to normal decline. The good news for Phillips might not be such good news for the Reds -- he has three more years remaining on his contract, which virtually ensures that he's not going anywhere and can benefit from playing half his games at Great American Ballpark.
With the caveat that players don't improve nor decline in linear fashion, Phillips has entered the decline phase of his career. He's hitting for less power, making slightly less contact and running less frequently. And he's only got four more years left on his contract, a contract he's somehow unhappy with! What a bargain! Don't let the 103 RBI fool you - those were largely the byproduct of batting behind not one but two .400+ OBP guys, a circumstance that's unlikely to repeat in his career. We hate to bash Phillips - he's perennially been a top-10 second baseman - but don't let his reputation, his RBI count or positional scarcity persuade you to take him among the top-75 players in the draft.
For the most part, Phillips' numbers remain as steady as ever. Though his RBI and runs may fluctuate pending where in the lineup he'll hit, his power and batting average output are pretty steady. There are three small negatives - he's walking less (just 4.5% in 2012), running less frequently, albeit more successfully last year, and he's got a big home/road split (.830 home OPS, .673 road OPS). The latter factor isn't that big of a concern - he's not leaving anytime soon after signing a six-year contract extension in April. Barring injury, he'll likely remain among the top-10 fantasy second basemen for the next couple of seasons until he hits his mid-30's.
There's been little variance in Phillips' overall numbers from year-to-year with the Reds, though he's found different ways to get there in individual seasons. One note of caution from a fantasy standpoint - he's running less frequently and with worse results the last two seasons - a sharp drop in stolen bases could occur in the next year or two. At publication time, the Reds were close to working out a long-term contract extension that would keep him in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, the better to preserve his power and batting average.
Phillips is probably miscast as a leadoff hitter, given his lack of patience at the plate, but due to the utter lack of alternatives on the Reds' roster, that's where he was for much of the season. The result was that he scored 100 runs for the first time since 2007 hitting in front of Joey Votto, while driving in only 59. At the end of the day, he's better off lower in the lineup, but unless Drew Stubbs takes the leap in 2011, Phillips will probably spend another year toward the top. His overall numbers were hurt by a wrist injury that he tried to play through in September, a problem that shouldn't be present going forward.
Phillips is miscast as a middle-of-the-lineup hitter. While he has a modicum of power and drove in 98 runs last year, the latter is more of a function of his spot in the order, behind Joey Votto, than it is reflective of his abilities. He walked a career-high 44 times last year, but that was still a below-average walk rate, good for just a .329 OBP. He's more valuable in fantasy than in real life because of his speed, though his defense makes him a plus-player at second base.
Phillips regressed a little in 2008, in no small part due to a lack of patience at the plate. Some of that dropoff also occurred after the Reds traded away first Ken Griffey Jr. and then Adam Dunn - many within the Reds' organization believe that he pressed after those deals, trying to shoulder the load. Still, in fantasy terms, we're talking about a second baseman that had 21 homers and 23 steals in an injury-shortened season. Phillips broke his index finger early in September, so watch for updates on his progress in spring training.
Indians GM Mark Shapiro has done a lot of smart things, but giving up on Brandon Phillips wasn't one of them. In fairness, nobody foresaw the heights to which Phillips would rise in 2007, where he joined Alfonso Soriano as the only second basemen to have a 30-30 season. While we'd like to see him strike out less and walk more, Phillips has moved into the fantasy elite, behind only Chase Utley at second base.
There was a lot of blame to go around for the Reds' offensive collapse over the second half, but lost among them was Phillips' descent back to earth after the break, when he hit .243/.287/.416. Overall the team now has a significant OBP problem that Phillips doesn't help. Still, his defense is so good that there's no real argument for replacing him, especially if he hits for just a little bit of power. His overall numbers for the season probably represent his upside—he's not going to get much better than this.
The loser of the 2004 battle with Jhonny Peralta to decide who was going to take over for Omar Vizquel, Phillips is a former top prospect who has fallen on tough times and has nowhere to go in Cleveland. There are still some believers in his ability, which could help the Indians get some value out of him, but Phillips will have to perform on the field before most other teams will offer enough value to pry him away from what has become a bad situation.
Phillips, once one of the top 10 prospects in all of baseball, failed miserably at the plate in his chance with the big league club in 2003 and has since spent most of his time in Triple-A Buffalo. Compared to Barry Larkin, the shortstop/second baseman has a lot of confidence and is still hoping for a shot at the starting job come this spring after putting together some decent numbers at Buffalo. The Indians have tried to convert him into a second baseman since they have Jhonny Peralta in the minors and previously had Omar Vizquel locked in at the position.
Phillips was handed the starting second base job to start the season, but struggled mightily in his rookie season. To make a bad situation, Phillips reportedly whined and pouted after first being benched then demoted, and it showed in his play at Triple-A Buffalo. Don't write Phillips off just yet - plenty of rookies have gone in over their head and flopped, only to come back with a renewed commitment and purpose. He'll be on a much shorter leash in 2004, however, and a starting job isn't guaranteed, so bid cautiously.
Acquired from Montreal as part of the Bartolo Colon deal, Phillips is expected to take over the reigns at second base. Phillips may be a little overrated, because he is a free swinger (34 BB in 534 AB) who will strike out a lot (84 K). There is no denying his speed, defense or power, but may be a bottom of the order hitter that needs to learn how to manage an at-bat. 20-20 is not out of the question, but we'd like to see the increased patience that would allow him to be a potential superstar.
More Fantasy News
Blasts go-ahead homer
2BBoston Red Sox
September 5, 2018
Phillips went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, two walks and an additional two runs scored in Wednesday's win over the Braves.
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Contract purchased from minors
2BBoston Red Sox
September 4, 2018
Phillips had his contract purchased from Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday.
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Will join Red Sox on Tuesday
2BBoston Red Sox
September 3, 2018
Phillips will be called up by the Red Sox on Tuesday, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports.
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Back in action at Triple-A
2BBoston Red Sox
August 1, 2018
Phillips (hand) returned to the lineup for Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday and went 3-for-6 with a walk, a double and two RBI.
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Suffers hand contusion
2BBoston Red Sox
July 29, 2018
Phillips was diagnosed with a left hand contusion Sunday after X-rays returned negative, Brendan McGair of The Pawtucket Times reports.
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