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Brandon Phillips brings reliable bat, veteran presence to Angels at a position of need

Acquiring a solid player on an expiring contract on the cheap was the best case scenario at this point of the season.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Phillips has been a very good player throughout his career, and that’s not an understatement. Phillips has three All-Star appearances under his belt, to go with a Silver Slugger and four Gold Gloves. By BB-Ref or bWAR, Phillips has been worth greater than 3 wins six times. By Fangraphs or fWAR, he has been worth 3+ WAR four times.

Phillips, now 36, is no longer the player he once was, but his current iteration is still a very useful infielder. He carries with him a 1.6 fWAR and 1.1 bWAR this season.

Consider the following: though Phillips has never been one to draw walks, he has never been one to strike out. his highest strikeout rate in a full season came in 2007, where he struck out just 15.5% of the time. In his sixteen year career in the big leagues, Brandon Phillips struck out 100 times in a season just once.

Phillips is hitting .291/.329/.429 this season. It’s safe to say that consistency is his hallmark.

Pair that profile with strong defense, and that’s who Phillips has been throughout his career.

Brandon Phillips’ defense (2b)

Year Defensive Runs Saved UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating)
Year Defensive Runs Saved UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating)
2013 1 8.6
2014 6 8.1
2015 5 2
2016 -7 -2.1
2017 -5 -0.2

And though the defense has declined, Phillips is still a better option than the production of Kaleb Cowart and Cliff Pennington, especially in a playoff race. The aforementioned pair have combined for less than 1 fWAR and 1 bWAR.

It was a difficult decision for Phillips to come here, but the Angels sure are glad he did.