Sunday, February 12, 2017


Yes it is not official yet but the writing is on the wall that the Atlanta Braves will finally acquire second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Cincinnati Reds.  The two sides have talked all winter and now just a physical aimed at Phillips' previously injured hand stand in the way of the deal becoming official.  So now is a good time to once again check in on what Phillips can still bring to the fantasy baseball table with an announcement imminent.

On the surface, Phillips moving from Cincy to Atlanta is a clear downgrade in terms of the power aspect of the ballparks.  The Braves have always played in a pitching-dominant ballpark and that won't change in their new digs.  Meanwhile Reds batters have always enjoyed working in one of the better home run parks in the majors.  That alone means the 11 home runs Phillips hit last season in 584 at-bats could go even lower in Atlanta.  Even if they don't, Phillips is clearly an aging player (35 going on 36 in June) who is on the backside of his career which shows in many areas.  At one time a 20/20 stud who can crack home runs and run like the wind, Phillips is now a stripped-down older model of a hitter but still quite an effective one as the veteran has aged well.  Consider that in 2015 at the age of 34 going on 35, Phillips posted a pretty damn good year in hitting .294 with 12 home runs and 23 steals.  The 23 steals were his most since 2008 but it gave one the feeling it was a last gasp upwards in numbers before the fade came in 2016.  Well Phillips did not come close to matching those 23 steals but he still did well with 14 considering his age.  In addition, Phillips batted .291 as he continues to show a better average stick then he did earlier in his career when he usually sat in the .265-.285 range.  Yes the drop to 11 home runs is troubling but Phillips still gets his 75 runs and RBI and again he can swipe some bases as well despite his age. So all in all, Phillips is getting the job done in fantasy baseball terms.

However if you were to sum it up, Phillips is a guy you really want to try to avoid given the inevitable decline that is on the way.  Whether he falls off the statistical cliff this season or next, we can't expect Phillips to be a viable starting option much longer.  Remember he goes to a pitcher's park now and any more slip in his speed means NL-only territory.  Look for younger blood at second base this spring at the draft and salute the nice career.

2017 PROJECTION:  .284 12 HR 82 RBI 77 R 11 SB  

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