Brandon Phillips is one of the only remaining players that was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos, so longevity is certainly a part of Phillips’ game. He certainly has been one of the more entertaining players in the game, and the Braves are hoping he can provide them with that same boost in 2017.
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Since 2006, Phillips has amazingly played in at leat 121 games per season. Fantasy owners have reaped the rewards of his success over the years, and even though he is not the 20 HR/20 SB threat that he once was, he is still solid. He ended the 2016 season with a .291/11 HR/64 RBI/14 SB/.736 OPS/34 2B in 141 games.
After being in the league as long as Phillips has, he has a substantial set of batted ball data to look at. in 2016 he posted a 21% LD, 46% GB, 32% FB, 24% Med and 27% Hard contact rates. All respectable rates compared to his career 19% LD, 47 GB%, 3% FB, 55% Med and 28% Hard contact rates.
Phillips is coming off back to back years of a .290+ AVG as well, in large part to upping his Contact rate to 82%. In most of his at-bats, the ball is getting put into play as Phillips had only 68 K and 18 BB last season. As Phillips’ power has waned some, he has transitioned well into splitting the gaps, evidenced by his 34 2B.
Phillips’ HR/SB have trended down the last few seasons, and last seasons 25 combined total amount are not what fantasy owners wanted. But, the AVG and RBI output are the areas where his fantasy value is buoyed.
The move away from Great America Ballpark may worry some, but Phillips splits were nearly identical home and away. On the road, .296/5 HR/32 RBI, and .286/6 HR/32 RBI at home. Leaving Cincinnati for the new digs in Atlanta certainly limits his power upside, but he will still flirt with 10-15 HR in 2017.
The one area that owners should be confident in is his potential RBI numbers. The Braves quietly have amassed as a pretty deep lineup and Phillips should slide into a prime RBI spot. If he can have Freddie Freeman, Matt Kemp, and Ender Inciarte in front of him, he should have no problem getting to 75-80 RBI at least.
The Reds made the deal to open up second base for Jose Peraza or Dilson Herrera to get reps at second base. They are in full rebuild mode and it makes sense to let the youngsters get the experiene. They acquired pitchers Andrew McKirahan and Carlos Portuondo from the Braves. Neither will have a fantasy impact this season.
Fantasy owners do not need to target Brandon Phillips as a top second baseman in 2017, but he is still a quality MI or UTIL selection. A potential .280/12 HR/80 RBI/15 SB line is on the table, which a great add late in drafts. Do not be afraid to select Dat Dude again in 2017.