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Thursday, December 17, 2015

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT BUST: BRANDON PHILLIPS 2B CINCINNATI REDS

We have yet to get into our 2016 fantasy baseball DRAFT BUSTS as we are still very early in the process in projecting the new season.  However some cases are more obvious than others and that leads to today's subject in the form of Cincinnati Reds veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips.  A guy who has been on a statistical decline for a few seasons prior to 2015 (including an almost complete loss of stolen bases), Phillips shocked almost all of us when he posted a vintage season by his standards a year ago.  At the age of 34, Phillips hit .294 with 12 home runs and 23 stolen bases.  The steals were downright unbelievable as Phillips swiped a total of 7 from 2013 through the 2014 season.  In addition, the .294 Phillips hit was his best mark since he hit .300 in 2011.  All at an age when especially second baseman tend to decline sharply which was a schedule Phillips was on prior to his 2015 revival.  So as we enter into 2016, let's discuss why we have Phillips down as a solid BUST candidate best avoided.

We already talked about how Phillips' 23 stolen bases seem like a vast outlier.  Consider that he had not reached the 20 mark in steals since way back in 2009 to fully grasp how out of the blue that number was.  In addition, the .294 Phillips hit was also an outlier number as he received from BABIP luck with a .315 mark in that category.  While Phillips is not going to fall off the map with his average, he is so much more .280 than anything near .294.  Combine that with the expected drop back in steals and Phillips is already going to depress in two fantasy baseball categories. 

Another area of concern is the home runs as Phillips hit just 12 last season despite operating in a major power park.  That numbers jives with the 8 Phillips hit in 2014 as he put back-to-back poor power seasons together.  Done are the days Phillips would approach 20 and even 15 is shaky at this stage of the game.  Again combining that with the drops in average and steals and you start seeing the shaky picture. 

When you put all of this together, Brandon Phillips is nothing but a declining fantasy baseball stock worth avoiding.  Sure he yielded very good value in 2015 but you don't pay for last season's statistics.  In addition, you never want to invest in guys 34 or older due to the inevitable declines and Phillips is right there in this age group.  It could get ugly this season to say the least. 

2016 PROJECTION:  .284 11 HR 74 RBI 67 R 10 SB 

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