Brandon Phillips and the illusion of hindsight, by way of the one-time elite prospect.
Jurickson Profar first graced the electronic pages of Baseball Prospectus in Kevin Goldstein’s 2011 Top-101 prospect list. He checked in at 78th overall, sandwiched between Jake Odorizzi and one-time teammate Tanner Scheppers. By August of that same year, Jason Parks was listing him neck-and-neck with Manny Machado as the top shortstop prospect in the minors, extolling his five-tool talents and confidence, projecting him as a “first-division starter with All-Star appearances in his future.” We all know Profar’s story from that point on. He slotted in fourth overall by the next year’s list, and was a consensus no. 1 overall prospect on the 2013 iteration.
Why it's problematic to point out that a player isn't as good as he once was.
Brandon Phillips is declining. Around 13 years ago, his lung capacity began decreasing, and in another couple decades it will be half what it was when he was 20. He's losing neurons in his brain—up to 10,000 per day. Around the age of 30, his major organs began to lose function, and his muscles began to lose mass. His maximum attainable heart rate is dropping by a beat per year, and his capacity to pump blood is shrinking, too. The first symptoms of mild-moderate cognitive impairment often start around this time, slowing his brain's processing speed and affecting memory and attention.
The Yankees make a point of appearing to be interested in second basemen other than Robinson Cano. Also, Grant Balfour is popular.
Grant Balfour a Popular Relief Target
Teams in need of late-inning bullpen arms have no shortage of choices in this year’s free agent crop. One of the most popular in the early going appears to be Balfour, who spent the last three seasons with the Athletics and was Oakland’s closer in 2012 and 2013.
The Reds second baseman is on the big-league trade block, and a deal out of Cincinnati is likely to be bad news for his fantasy value.
“Next year” is a common refrain these days, especially amongst fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers, though in reality, they’re just now joining the vast majority of fans in looking forward instead of at the here and now. There’s been plenty of coverage of the playoffs as their happening, recaps and previews dissecting the games and the decisions made therein. There’s even been the odd offseason splash with Jose Dariel Abreu signing with the White Sox, Alexander Guerrero’s expected signing with the Dodgers (third time’s the charm), and the inspiration for today’s article: Brandon Phillips’ placement on the trade block.
While he’s not the biggest name on said block (David Price), he might be the most likely to be moved given that it won’t require a king’s ransom in prospects to acquire him and the Reds may even be willing to eat some of the contract. The issue of course is what any team acquiring Brandon Phillips would actually be receiving. It’s likely at this point you’ve read about his overall decline in offense these past two seasons. It’s also likely that you know he’s a plus with the glove and that he’s what Vin Scully would call a “big butter and egg man” (he drives runners in). One of the pleasures I get in writing for BP is that it’s also likely that you (this specific audience) also know that RBI is a context-dependent statistic and that Phillips’ high totals in that category are inflated because he gets to hit behind two of the better on-base men in the business: Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto.
The BP Prospect Team bring you advanced scouting reports for the 2013 playoffs.
Throughout the past two weeks, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus prospect team have been writing detailed reports on key players to enhance your enjoyment of the MLB playoffs. Below is every published report in a single post.
David Price turned in his third complete game in four starts to lead the Rays past the Red Sox. Tonight, Zack Greinke will try to sustain his success against Brandon Phillips.
The Wednesday Takeaway
Before the Rays' series against the Red Sox, David Pricesaid, “I want to go nine every fifth day.” Taking the ball in the third game, he did exactly that, disposing of baseball’s best offense with just 97 pitches.
Price completed the first four innings with 35 pitches and needed only 10 to close out the game’s final frame, throwing strikes from the beginning of the contest through the end. All four of his pitches proved effective, with his sinker averaging nearly 95 mph, a mark he’s been hitting consistently since returning from a six-week stint on the disabled list to nurse a triceps injury. Boston’s only run came on a Mike Napoli homer in the seventh.
Mike looks back on the team he bought in last week's Tout Wars auction, and explains how he will gauge his success.
Last Saturday, I had the privilege of participating in my fourth Tout Wars NL-only expert league auction, which was my first Tout Wars auction representing Baseball Prospectus. As always, it was an honor simply to be included among so many great fantasy players and baseball minds, and to rub elbows with experts whose work I’ve been reading for the last 15-20 years. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over sitting in a room with Ron Shandler, Lawr Michaels, and Peter Kreutzer and talking baseball with them.
For those of you that followed over me here from my old blog Roto Think Tank, the words I’m about to write already ring like a familiar mantra in your ears. For my new readers that only know me from Baseball Prospectus, my strategy in Rotisserie-style auctions is always the same: