Compare & Contrast: A superficial glance at Second Base

Position: Second Base

2010 Innings breakdown: Brandon Phillips - 90%

                                            Chris Valaika - 5%

                                            Paul Janish - 2%

                                            Miguel Cairo - 2%

                                            Willie Bloomquist - 0%

                                            Drew Sutton - 0%

2010 Composite batting line (over 650 PA):

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

CS

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

593

91

163

30

4

17

56

14

10

43

83

.275

.330

.427

.757

BABIP

Contact Rate

Walk Rate

Batting Eye

SBO

RC/G

.296

86.1%

6.5%

0.51

15.9%

4.63

2010 Composite NL average second baseman batting line (over 650 PA):

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

CS

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

580

78

153

27

2

12

59

9

4

54

94

.265

.333

.387

.720

BABIP

Contact Rate

Walk Rate

Batting Eye

SBO

RC/G

.297

83.8%

8.3%

0.57

7.8%

4.21

2011 Contract status:

Phillips - signed through 2011, with team option for 2012

Valaika - not yet arbitration eligible

Janish - not yet arbitration eligible

Cairo - free agent

Bloomquist - free agent

Sutton - with Cleveland

Advanced minor league depth:

Chris Valaika - age 24, 738 OPS at AAA

Jake Kahaulelio - age 25, 759 OPS at AA

Jose Castro - age 23, 547 OPS at AA

Relative win increase, 2010 vs. 2009: +0

Brief summary of 2010: In his first at-bat of the season, I was wishing for a hastened end to the Brandon Phillips era.  In his last, I was cheering a Phillips' single at the top of my lungs in anticipation of the inevitable game-tying home run to come off the bat of Joey Votto (note: not all inevitabilities are truly inevitable).  Somewhere in between, there was a stretch where Phillips carried the team and a stretch where BP couldn't hit a pretentious spectator at Busch Stadium if he fell out of the press box.  One of the glorious things about baseball is that over 162 games, these "mini-seasons" are etched into our memories, but by the end of September: the cumulative numbers are generally where you thought they would be...especially for Phillips, whose OPS marks for the last three years have been remarkably consistent: 754, 776, 762

Way too early knee-jerk outlook for 2011: When you have that kind of consistency, the safe bet is to put your money on a repeat.  At some point you'll be left holding the bag, but seriously...what's one more year?  It seems clear that the 30 home run season of 2007 was an isolated blip not to be repeated.  The stolen base total fell below 20 for the first time in Phillips's tenure with the Reds, which-coupled with his approaching age 30-would cause concern if the level of his defense didn't remain so high.  He's not ready to fall off the cliff just yet, although with second basemen, the cliff sometimes shows up before the fence that protects you from falling off does.

Bottom line: He is who he is.  On a well-rounded team, it's a valuable asset, and as long as his slugging percentage stays north of .400, he's a guy you want on your team.   Hold, but have your broker on speed dial to dump shares at the first sign of trouble.  It will be too late by that point, but at least you can say you did something.

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