For all of his antics and outspoken controversy, Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is quietly putting together one of the better careers at the position, now ranking 35th all-time in games (1405) among second basemen who have played at least 90 percent of their games at the position.
Phillips trails only Robinson Cano among active second basemen in games and is tops all-time in modern Reds’ history in games started at second. Phillips has averaged 150 games over the past eight years for the Reds and is just 21 hits short of 1,500 for his career. His 1,390 hits for the Reds rank him 12th all-time among Reds’ hit leaders.
With a highlight reel in the field that will not only outlive his playing days, but will likely outlive Phillips himself, he could eventually be regarded as one of the greatest at his position if he’s able to continue to play at the level he’s playing for several more years.
But for the 2014 season, the biggest news surrounding Phillips may be the most recent — he’s back hitting cleanup. Tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates will mark just the seventh time that Phillips has batted cleanup this year. In his previous six starts as the cleanup hitter, Phillips has knocked in seven runs.
Overall in his career, Phillips has primarily been a cleanup hitter, making 600 starts hitting fourth; he has hit 1-3 in the order for a combined 532 starts. With Phillips back where he is most accustomed to hitting, he might be ready for the kind of explosive production he showed last year (103 RBIs) and that could be the catalyst the Reds need to contend once again in the NL Central.