2012 in Review: Right side of the Reds' infield (Votto, Phillips, Cairo, Frazier, Constanzo, Valdez, Harris, H-Rod)

Andy Lyons

A look at 100% of 2/3 of the DP combo.

For at least the last five years - if not from the moment the Reds' revolving door of short stops started swinging - the right side has been the strong side.

In the post-Larkin/post-Dunn era, the Reds have been flailing around for a new shorts stop and left fielder nearly every season. But ever since Joey Votto started standing beside Brandon Phillips in 2008, they've had peace of mind near the home dugout.

Assuming nothing weird happens, he final year of BP's contract in 2017 would mark their 10th season season together. That would be virtually unparalleled in Reds' history. Only a few other pairings of regular position players are in that range, all BRM'ers:

  • Bench & Concepcion: 11 seasons ('70-'80)
  • Bench & Rose: 11 seasons ('68-'78)
  • Rose & Concepcion: 10 seasons ('70-'78, '85)

** If Phillips plays 150 games in 2013, he'll vault into 2nd place on the all-time games played list for Reds' 2B.

If you throw Jay Bruce and his 2017 team option in there, that's three players completing a decade together. It's true the Reds had most of their starting lineup in place for most of the seventies. Bench, Concepcion and Rose were together for all but one season and Morgan only missed two. But they've never had three players play ten consecutive seasons together.

Of course, all that cost-certainty and continuity doesn't guarantee that Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips will stay healthy and productive forever. There was some cause for concern this season, most notably with Joey's meniscus surgery and, to a lesser extent, Brandon Phillips' hamstring injury. Votto missed time from July 16 to September 4, while Brandon Phillips played in less than 150 games for the first time since 2008.

IN the offseason, the healing can truly begin. Assuming Votto makes is back to 100%, I don't see any reason to lower the bar for these two next year.

Phillips wasn't able to replicate 2011's career-year, but he was essentially the same player he's been since 2008. Maybe even slightly better defensively than when he took over the 2B job all those seasons a go. His walk rate was lower than its been in five years, but it's too early to call it the new normal. Fully health and back in a "table-setter" role, BP is capable of returning to the walk-rates he showed as a mid-career professional.

Meanwhile, there's really nothing to add to the superlatives we've heaped on Votto without starting to sound like a maniac. It's true that his power was sapped in the second half (he slugged just .402 after returning), but Votto's fallback position is still getting on base almost every other trip to the plate.

It's difficult to be anything other than creepily enthusiastic to see Votto, at 29, fully healthy and back in the swing of things in 2013. Also, it's difficult to believe that Miguel Cairo spent 20 more innings at first base than Mike Leake pitched in 2010.

First Base

Predicted playing time (2012 preview)

Joey Votto - 98%

Miguel Cairo - 1%

Juan Francisco - <1%

Todd Frazier - <1%

2012 playing time

Joey Votto - 66% (969 innings)

Todd Frazier - 22% (318.1 innings)

Miguel Cairo - 11% (158.2 innings)

Mike Costanzo - <1% (7.0 innings)

Value

All stats are only while at 1B, except WAR.

For defense, I've tried a new approach. Taking a survey of defensive metrics (FRAA, UZR, DRS) and fan scouting report, I'm giving players one of five ratings, ranging from minus-minus to plus-plus.

Joey Votto

G GS PA wRC+ bWAR fWAR Defense
109 109 475 177 5.6 5.9 ++


Todd Frazier

G
GS
PA
wRC+
bWAR
fWAR
Defense
39
36
149
138
1.9
2.8
+


Miguel Cairo

G
GS
PA
wRC+
bWAR
fWAR
Defense
24
16
70
26
-1.4
-1.0
neutral



Second Base

All stats are only while at 2B, except WAR.

Predicted playing time (2012 preview)

Brandon Phillips - 96%

Miguel Cairo - 2%

Wilson Valdez - 2%

Chris Valaika - <1%

Playing time breakdown

Brandon Phillips - 86% (1251.0 innings)

Wilson Valdez - 7% (99 innings)

Miguel Cairo - 3% (49.1 innings)

Willie Harris - 3% (44 innings)

Henry Rodriguez <1% (9.2 innings)

Value

Brandon Phillips

G
GS
PA
wRC+
bWAR
fWAR
Defense
146
144
621
101
3.5
4.0
++


Wilson Valdez

G
GS
PA
wRC+
bWAR
fWAR
Defense
22
8
38
26
-1.8
-1.1
-


Willie Harris

G
GS
PA
wRC+
bWAR
fWAR
Defense
7
5
21
-38
-0.6
-0.4 neutral


Miguel Cairo

G
GS
PA
wRC+
bWAR
fWAR
Defense
8
4
21
-5
-1.4
-1.0
+


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