Thursday, June 16, 2011
Brandon Phillips getting better with age
Brandon Phillips helped the Cincinnati Reds to their first playoff appearance in 15 years last season, and has them in the thick of the NL Central race this season. He’s having his best season since 2007 when he finished 22nd in the NL MVP voting.
His .281 batting average is his highest in four years and his .339 on-base percentage would be a career high. His power numbers are down though -- his .386 slugging percentage and .105 ISO are his lowest since his first full season in 2003.
His increase in batting average can be attributed in part to his BABIP, which has gone up in each of the past three seasons -- from .277 in 2008 to .295 this season. He’s striking out at easily the lowest rate of his career (9.5 AB per K, strikeouts in 9.4 percent of his PAs) even though his chase percentage (28.1) is as high as it’s ever been. His infield flyball percentage of 3.8 is also the lowest of his career, and has decreased in each of the past four seasons.
Phillips’ power “outage” can be explained with his Fangraphs batted-ball profile. His flyball percentage is the lowest of his career and his line drive percentage is the highest it’s been since his 30-HR outburst in 2007. Of the flyballs he does hit, only 6.3 percent leave the ballpark. That number has decreased in each of the past four seasons and is just 60 percent of what it was last year -- and it would be the lowest since his first full season in the majors.
One of the best second baseman in baseball, he’s won two of the past three NL Gold Glove awards at his position and offensively, he ranks in the top ten in several important categories.
After his first taste of postseason action, and as he approaches his 30th birthday, Phillips is improving parts of his game each season and is a stabilizing force in the middle of the diamond and the Reds’ lineup.
-- John Fisher and John McTigue contributed