Two posts in one day?! Yeah. That just happened.
It’s the top of the 8th and the Reds are clearly looking like a team that will once again not score any runs. That will lead them to a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies. There’s no shame in that, obviously, the Phillies are a good team. However, our old friend and Brandon Phillips went and opened his mouth again before the playoffs started and because of that, we’ll put him under the microscope.
We’ll start with the good. In Game 2, Phillips led off the game with a homer. He followed that up with a single and double. Good work. His team still lost the game 7-4. But really, that one game makes him the best hitter on the Reds during their minimal playoff stay. Yipee!
(I had an awesome picture of Phillips’ head shot from MLB.com here with his hat cocked sideways proving that he is, in fact, way cooler than you are. Do you wear your hat tilted slightly to the right? No? Yeah, not as cool, then. Unfortunately, WordPress had other ideas.)
So that was the good, Brandon Phillips had three hits in three games.
What also needs to be mentioned is his part in the Reds getting no-hit in Game 1. Phillips made the final out of the game on a little dribbler in front of the plate and even attempted to throw his bat at the ball to hinder catcher Carlos Ruiz’s attempt to field it. Go ahead, find the replay. It happened. Way to go, Brandon. He went 0-4 with a strikeout in the game.
Did I mention that his team got no-hit? Man, that was hilarious.
Phillips just led off the night with a base hit off Cole Hamels but was promptly eliminated on a double play. Poor little Reds.
Also in Game 2, Phillips nearly matched his hit total (3) with errors (2). He’s got an overblown defensive reputation to start with (career dWAR of -2.5), but that’s ridiculous. (We just got a post-game slow-mo shot of a dejected Phillips in the dugout. Maybe I’m imagining it, but I think I saw tears. Sweet, sweet tears.)
So at the very beginning of this article, I mentioned that Phillips had opened his mouth again. What did he say? Here’s a small sample:
The self-proclaimed best second baseman in baseball sits in front of his locker in the Reds’ clubhouse, bat in hand and smile in place.
“You have to look at things that motivate you,” he says. “Some people look at money. Some people look at other players and say, ‘I can be better than that.’ Some guys are just stuck on themselves. I’m not stuck on myself. I just feel like I have so much potential and believe in myself that I can go out there and do anything I put my mind to. God blessed me with this talent that I don’t really know what I have, because I haven’t been in that situation to know what I have.”
Alright, let’s start with the part at the top. “The self-proclaimed best second baseman in baseball” part.
Brandon Phillips is a career .267 hitter with a career WAR of 5.1 in 9 season. For those of you not familiar with WAR, it means Wins Over Replacement. That means in 9 season, he’s caused the teams he’s been on to win 5.1 more games than the average player would have. It’s not a perfect stat, but it’s a pretty good indicator of how good a player really is.
Let’s contrast that with his counterpart from the series that just finished, Chase Utley. This season Utley missed 47 games. That will hurt a player’s WAR. He was still worth 4.4 wins this year. Phillips has earned 5.1 wins in 9 seasons. Utley had 4.4 in one injury shortened year. But hey, he’s the best second baseman in baseball! Just ask him!
Just for fun, Utley was worth 7.7 wins last year, in a full season. Yankees’ second baseman Robinson Cano was worth 6.1 wins this year. Marlins’ second baseman Dan Uggla was worth 3.7 wins (and is a horrific defensive player). Diamondbacks second baseman Kelly Johnson was worth 4.7 wins this year.
Another interesting stat to put some perspective on Phillips’ career is OPS+. This one is offensive only and neutralizes any ballpark advantage. An OPS+ of 100 is exactly league average. Anything below is under league average and above is better than average. For his career, Phillips has an OPS+ of 93. That’s not good. Utley’s sits at 129 for his career. But hey, he’s the best second baseman evar!
Now, the second part of that is the weird rambling quote. It kind of reminded me of this:
He’s not stuck on himself, but really, he’s just filled with so much potential that even Brandon Phillips doesn’t know how good Brandon Phillips can be! Maybe he’ll tap into that vast potential and become, you know…average. He can do anything he puts his mind to, you know. Except play up to his potential. He thinks. Maybe.
So anyway, that was Brandon Phillips’ playoffs in a nutshell. He wasn’t awful with the bat. He was awful with the glove. He’s the best second baseman there is.