Seemingly every season, fantasy experts debate when and if this will be the season that Brandon Phillips falls off the cliff of fantasy relevance. Furthermore, they speak of his diminishing power and speed, claiming that this is the season Phillips will finally not return on draft day investment. Well, it hasn’t happened yet.
Brandon Phillips is one of the most consistent stat sheet stuffers in fantasy baseball, and it’s even better that he’s at a position where all-around production is hard to find. Since becoming an everyday player with the Reds in 2006, Phillips has been a model of reliability and stability at the second base position. In that time, Phillips has averaged 20.3 homers and 21.2 steals per season. Put those stats up against a career .273 batting average and you have a borderline stud at a position that has very few sure things.
At age 31 and still in the tail end of his prime, Phillips has showed us what consistency looks like. He has played at least 141 games in 7 straight seasons. However, he isn’t without flaws. Phillips has failed to reach 20 steals since 2009 (25). Similarly, he has also failed to reach the 20 home run plateau since that same season (but still 18 each of the past 3 years). Phillips has never been one to have a great success rate when it comes to stealing bags, but in 2012 we saw him find success in 15 of 17 attempts in comparison to 14 steals on 23 attempts in 2011. If his success rate continues to go up as he ages, he’ll still be able to get his fair share of steals by picking his spots.
On the power front, it is probably safe to assume he will never threaten 20+ home runs again, but there is enough pop there that he remains very relevant in the fantasy universe. Phillips will continue to be a solid bet for 30 doubles, which is of great help to those of you who count XBH (extra base hits) in your leagues. Expect another rock solid season out of the veteran second baseman. Phillips is definitely not a flashy or trendy option, but one that will contribute in a variety of areas with no real downside. Phillips still has 20/20 upside, but expect something more in the 15/15 range. As far as runs and RBI are concerned, Phillips will no doubt have his fair share of both. After all, he has some talented hitters around him and with the Reds’ acquisition of Shin-Soo Choo this offseason he could literally be placed anywhere within the top 5 hitters for Cincinatti. I have no problem projecting Phillips to score at least 80 times and knock in the same amount, making him a top 5 option at his position. Draft him with confidence.
Timothy King is a new contributor to RotoAnalysis. Check out his work all season long on RotoAnalysis.com and follow him on Twitter @TKing978!
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