Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quick: Who's the Best Fielding NL Second Baseman of All Time?

Baseball fans might be inclined to name people like Joe Morgan, Jackie Robinson, Rogers Hornsby, Ryne Sandberg, or Napoleon Lajoie in response to that question. All of them were great, both defensively and at the plate. Morgan and Robinson, at least, were also fantastic on the base paths, tremendous base-stealing threats.

But the best fielding National League second baseman of all time is playing the game in this era. It's Dat Dude, Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau on Tuesday, Phillips has taken over the all-time lead in fielding percentage by NL second basemen at .990 from the previous leader, Ryne Sandberg. The Hall of Famer and former Cub had a .989 career fielding percentage...

Since joining the Reds in 2006, Phillips has played 1,307 games at second base. He has committed 65 errors in 6,195 total chances.
One of the slams some fans put on BP is that he's all flash and no substance in the field. Phillips is flashy. Astoundingly so. But he's also effective. No opposing batter wants to hit balls within thirty feet of him. He's almost always sure to record another spectacular out.

That makes his record all the more amazing. Phillips often gets to balls on which other second basemen would be unable or unwilling to make plays. In a sense, he puts his fielding percentage in greater jeopardy than most players would because of his aggressive play.

I'm looking forward to the 2015 season, in which a Phillips recovered from last year's thumb injury, dazzles us again with his amazing and effective--historically amazing and effective--play at second base playing for my Cincinnati Reds.

Glad that the Reds linked to this article by Mark Sheldon on Facebook and that I spied it during a break from studying and preparation this afternoon.

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