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Updating the Top 100; Brandon Phillips, #43

43. Brandon Phillips

Played as Red Primary Position Career Rank Peak Rank Prime Rank
2006-2011 2B 50 47 33
Percent Breakdown of Value Best Season Best player on Reds
Hit Field Pitch 2011 Never
70% 30% 0%
Awards/Honors as a Red Leading the League On the Reds Leaderboard
Gold Glove – 2008, 2010, 2011
All Star – 2010, 2011
Silver Slugger - 2011

-18th in career home runs
-26th in career RBI
-31st in career hits
-32nd in career runs scored
-33rd in career stolen bases

2011 saw Phillips put together a career-best season, setting career highs in batting average (.300), doubles (38), and on-base percentage (.353), while holding on to the Gold Glove perch at second base. From an aggregated standpoint within his Reds’ tenure, Phillips came very close to some milestones this year, standing just three hits away from 1,000, 14 RBI from 500, and 15 steals from 150. He also ended the year with a cumulative OPS+ greater than 100 for the first time. One cracks a smile at the thought of Phillips checking that one off on his to-do list.

Despite the good news on the field, the 2011-12 offseason has suggested not all is well. While the team picked up Phillips’s contract option for 2012, the presumptive contract extension has yet to materialize. While Phillips has steadily gotten better and better over his Cincy career, the track record for 30+ year old second basemen does not inspire confidence. His range in the field has been marginally better than league average lately, and his speed numbers have been declining without a corresponding pickup in power output. The end isn’t necessarily nigh, but there are warning signs afoot.

For now, however, no matter, especially as Phillips has made a career of proving critics and know-it-alls wrong. Putting the numbers aside for a moment, he’s one of the more enjoyable to watch players of my lifetime. In a perfect and just world, he’d get his desired paycheck and the team wouldn’t suffer a bit. On the basis of his 2011 season, Phillips jumps from #69 to #43, and rises one notch on the list of top second basemen in team history.

The Top 15 Second Basemen in Reds history

1 Joe Morgan
2 Bid McPhee
3 Lonny Frey
4 Miller Huggins
5 Johnny Temple
6 Brandon Phillips*
7 Ron Oester
8 Hughie Critz
9 Bret Boone
10 Dick Egan
11 Sam Bohne
12 Tommy Helms
13 Pokey Reese
14 Morrie Rath
15 Tony Cuccinello