Monday, February 25, 2008

Spring Training Fantasy News and Notes: Brandon Phillips to the 4 Hole

Brandon Phillips will be settle in the 4hole in the Cincinnati Reds lineup next season and will be counted on less to hit in the 2 and 3 spots in the lineup. Manager Dusty Baker wants to break up the devastating homerun tandem of Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn, who both bat lefty. The line up would put Griffey in the 3hole, Phillips in the 4hole and Dunn in the 5hole.

Most people don't realize it but Phillips went 30/30 last season for the Reds, and is only 26-years-old, so it's not like they are putting some veteran castoff like Rich Aurilia or Scott Hatteburg in the cleanup spot again. Phillips hit .288AVG. with 94RBI and 107R. He should be able to not only duplicate these numbers, but build on them. He said some advise he got from Griffey Jr. really helped him last season.

"Griffey told me, 'Don't limit yourself because you don't know how good you are,"' Phillips said. "Honestly, I didn't know I was capable of doing things like that. I know I can play this game. I never doubted myself. My goal was to be 20-20. I didn't think I would exceed my goal by that much. I knew I could hit 30 homers, I knew I was capable, but I didn't think I was going to do it last year."

Griffey Jr. giving him this advise is a bit ironic, because some of Phillips' success next season will depend on Griffey staying healthy and in the lineup on a consistent basis. Look for Phillips to have another fine season, with perhaps less steals. A 30/25 100-100 season should be a near lock for Phillips', who I have ranked as the top 2B in baseball.

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