You may notice that I am willfully trying to knock out the most controversial players first. First, it was Votto. Now it’s Phillips.
At the end of last season, many on Twitter (I love Twitter, but there are some interesting folk there) would tell you that BP was the MVP of the Reds. Because arebeeeye. Those people were wrong. Not only was Phillips not the MVP last year, but he had a second year of decline at an age when many second basemen fall of a cliff. Averaging the FanGraphs and BBRef WAR totals for the last three years gives us this:
2011: 5.3 WAR
2012: 3.8 WAR
2013: 2.2 WAR
That, kids, is a trend. And not a good one. However, as you are well aware, there are some mitigating factors. Phillips hurt his wrist early in the season and apparently it dogged him for the rest of the year. I was initially skeptical as he was still bad four months after he hurt it, but he went to see doctors about it during the offseason. So, I have changed my outlook on Phillips a bit. While I was initially prepared for a full collapse, I don’t think that’s most likely now. Here are my projections for Phillips.
2013 Slash Line: .261/.310/.396
2014 Projection: .265/.310/.400
2013 WAR: 2.2
2014 Best Guess WAR: 2.0
Projected Difference: -0.2 WAR
2014 Floor: 1.0 WAR
2014 Ceiling: 4.0 WAR
As you’ll see, I am not projecting a real rebound for Phillips. Rather, I think his decline pauses for a year as better health holds off the ravages of age for one more year. Phillips is going to be 33 this year, and that is not a good age for second basemen. It’s quite possible that I am wrong, but this is pretty in line with what the projection systems see, and even the FanGraphs FAN projections aren’t much more optimistic than this.
Okay, let me have it. What do you think BP is going to do this year?
Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.