2013 Fantasy Baseball: 2B Brandon Phillips Thriving in Cleanup Spot

By Rich Arleo
Brandon Phillips - Cincinnati Reds
Jeff Curry – USA Today Sports

When someone thinks of Cincinnati Reds 2B Brandon Phillips they don’t necessarily think of him as an RBI machine, but that’s exactly what fantasy baseball owners have seen from Phillips this season as he bats in the cleanup spot.

Phillips leads all second baseman with 19 RBI thanks to his convenient spot in the lineup sitting behind Joey Votto with Jay Bruce behind him for protection. The 31-year-old has always been a top fantasy option at his position. This year, however, those who drafted him have gotten more than they could have ever imagined. Last season Phillips had just seven RBI all of April and it took him to the middle of June to his fourth home run.

He is tied for first in the majors in RBI and leads all second baseman in home runs as well. What he hasn’t done is run as he has yet to attempt a steal all season; something fantasy owners can deal with if the power numbers keep up.

The vet is no stranger to the cleanup spot; logging more career at-bats there than any other position. This season he has come up clutch even with his typical low walk-rate. His peripherals haven’t been out of the ordinary and owners will see his average to fall back to Earth. What he should continue to see, however, are plenty of opportunities to drive in runs in this spot. He’s slugging at a rate way above his averages and it’s a pace he probably can’t keep up, even though he did homer 30 times back in 2007.

While a slow-down should be expected, Phillips is a guy who has at least 18 home runs, 14 steals, 78 runs and a .275 average the past six seasons. One of the steadier options in fantasy baseball, fantasy owners can continue to enjoy one of the hottest starts of his career for as long as it lasts and should hope he stays in the cleanup spot most of the season.

Rich Arleo is a fantasy sports expert with Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Rarleo, ‘Like’ him on Facebook and add him to your networks on Google.

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