Flashy second baseman Brandon Phillips isn’t having anywhere near the success with the bat in the first half of this season with the Cincinnati Reds as he had last year.
Batting just .269 with four home runs and 22 RBIs so far this year, Phillips is on a pace that will leave him well short of the 12 HRs and 74 RBIs that he had by the All-Star break last year. Phillips had more RBIs (24) at the end of April last year than his total so far this year.
Despite the drop-off on offense, Phillips should still receive more votes for selection to the Midsummer Classic than he has thus far. His current No. 4 rank among NL second basemen seems to neglect the one aspect of Phillips’ play that is peerless — his spectacular Gold Glove defense.
Phillips has committed just one error this season and is on pace to have his best defensive year in terms of fielding percentage (.996). B it’s not just Phillips’ ability to be error-free that makes him among the best fielding second basemen to ever play the game — it’s his ability to makes plays that no other player at his position can make.
The players ahead of Phillips this year in the All-Star voting — Chase Utley, Dee Gordon and Neil Walker — are all having fine seasons, but none of them are having spectacular enough seasons to warrant more votes than Phillips.
Utley is batting .318 and may actually be healthy for the whole season, but his four homers and 27 RBIs are virtually the same as Phillips’ power numbers. Gordon leads the majors in stolen bases with 34, but he’s hitting just .275 and has already committed five errors in the field.
Walker is probably the most deserving NL second basemen thus far. He is having a surge in power production with 11 long balls and 34 RBIs and has committed just one error, but even then, he’s still no Phillips.
Phillips might find himself watching the All-Star game this year because he hasn’t made a convincing case in terms of offensive numbers, but if All-Star voters were required to watch a highlight reel of Phillips’ gems in the field, it’s hard to imagine that he wouldn’t be the leader of the pack.