Blog Archives

November 7, 2011

Phillips Adds Some Silver to His Gold Collection

I missed this last week, but the day after Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips won his third Gold Glove, Phillips received his first Silver Slugger.

Phillips definitely deserved the award, as he was by far the most valuable offensive second basemen in the National League in 2011. He wracked up a Wins Above Replacement value of 6. The next closest was Philadelphia Phillies’ second basemen Chase Utley at 3.9. That’s 6 games the Reds won because of Phillips’ presence. (When you add in first baseman Joey Votto’s WAR of almost 7, you can tell the right side of the infield was certainly pulling its weight.)

It was the best offensive season from Phillips in his career. Most of the major stats were above his career averages.

  • Batting Average: .300 (.272 career)
  • On-Base Percentage: .353 (.322 career)
  • Slugging: .457 (.434 career)

His home runs did not reach their peak of 30, which he got in 2007 when I think he hit cleanup for much of the year. He was never very suited for that position, and I hope that his new-found on-base percentage is more than just an aberration in a contract year. I’d love to see Phillips keep that up for the Reds. Getting on base 35% of the time is a better number than any Reds lead-off hitter I can remember for the last ever.

That it did happen for a year in which Phillips was seeking either a new contract or an extension does give me pause; however, that’s something to worry about next year. For now, we should enjoy Phillips getting his well-deserved recognition.

November 2, 2011

Phillips, Votto Win Gold Gloves

Now that the World Series is over, Major League Baseball will start announcing its regular season awards. Last night, the Gold Gloves were announced.

And the Cincinnati Reds had two recipients: Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips.

Phillips has won the award for his defense at second base three of the last four years.

“It’s a lot of hard work,” Phillips said. “The manager and the coaches respect my work.”

Phillips realizes the importance of defense.

“Defense wins games,” Phillips said. “I go out and catch the ball the best way I know how. . . The baseball field is my coliseum. I go out and entertain the fans.”

The award was Votto’s first, and was the first ever for a Reds first baseman.

“I’d like to thank the managers and coaches who selected me,” Votto said. “It always means a tremendous amount to be selected by your superiors for any award, especially for one of this magnitude. I’d also like to thank the Reds’ coaching staff for their help, with a special mention to bench coach Chris Speier.”

Both Votto and Phillips had clauses in their contracts that award them bonuses for the awards. Phillips will be $250,000 richer, while Votto gets $50,000.

Last year, the Reds had three Gold Glove winners: Brandon Phillips, Scott Rolen, and Bronson Arroyo. It could’ve been three again this year, but Jay Bruce was robbed by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier. I guess there’s always next year.

August 22, 2011

Brandon Phillips may well live forever

See? It's still in good shape.According to this story about smiles on Shine, a study of old baseball player photos showed a correlation between a big grin and longevity:

People with big grins live longer. In a study published last year, researchers pored over an old issue of the Baseball Register, analyzing photos of 230 players. They found that on average, the guys with bright, bigmouthed beams lived 4.9 years longer than the players with partial smiles, and 7 years longer than the players who showed no grin at all. We can’t credit wide smiles for long life spans, of course, but smiles reveal positive feelings, and positive feelings are linked to well-being.

It’s funny how just reading “players who showed no grin at all” brings to mind so many team photos of guys who are simply too tough to smile. I wonder if the lesson here isn’t really, “taking yourself too damn seriously shortens your life.” It would certainly lead to more aggressive driving, bar brawls, and other macho nonsense.

But, of course, there’s one dude on the current team who is always sporting a big smile, and is therefore on the fast track to longevity. Don’t give away *everything* in your Twitter contests, B-Phil; you may need to support yourself for a long time yet.

May 6, 2011

Brandon Phillips got some tricky moves

When I start up my work computer in the morning, Yahoo! instant messenger starts up too, and presents to me a list of top news stories. It’s just like scanning the morning paper, if your morning paper contains exclusively tips for becoming a millionaire by age 40 and gossip about who wore the same dress on the red carpet.

It’s like a big, fat jelly doughnut for your brain: no nutrients, but enough sugar to provide a nice little jump start.

The occasional sports blog is referenced in this list, and I was surprised yesterday to see Brandon Phillips’ smiling mug accompanying one of the stories. It was a post on Big League Stew: a Y! sports blog, which I think I’ve already linked to once before, and probably will again. It’s only fair to share the brain candy, since there’s plenty to go around.

This particular blog was all about Phillip’s between-the-legs dish on Tuesday night. I didn’t get to see it myself, being in class that night, but I could picture it in my mind:

On a slow roller hit by Houston’s Jason Bourgeois(notes) in the third inning Tuesday night, Phillips had neither the time nor the proper angle to make a conventional defensive play to retire the speedy baserunner at first base.

So, running toward home at full speed from his position at second, Phillips bent down, barehanded Bourgeois’ grounder and quickly flipped the ball between his legs — near his ankles — for the out at first base.

This is getting to be a habit. BP referenced a “better” play in San Diego in a tweet, and the Reds were posting today’s behind-the-back-while-lying-on-his-belly toss on Facebook before the game was even over.

I think I missed all three of these plays, between school and work and the stupidness of day games. Hopefully he’ll keep it up, though, so I can catch some of this awesomeness in the near future.

April 11, 2011

Bird’s Eye View of Brandon Phillips

This must be how god sees Brandon Phillips get tagged out at the plate.
This must be how god sees Brandon Phillips get tagged out at the plate.