The Atlanta Braves have grown accustomed to milestone celebrations.
Veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips became the third player in the past two years to tally his 2,000th career hit in a Braves uniform, reaching the milestone on Wednesday afternoon against the Philadelphia Phillies. The three-time All-Star singled off Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff in the first inning for the latest highlight in his 16-year career.
Phillips is the 12th active player to reach 2,000 career hits and already the sixth to join the club in 2017: Matt Holliday, Jose Reyes, Victor Martinez, Nick Markakis and Adrian Gonzalez accomplished the feat earlier this season.
Phillips, who was drafted by the Montreal Expos out of Redan High School in Stone Mountain, Ga., in 1999, joined his hometown team over the offseason following a decade of excellent production for the Cincinnati Reds a franchise that watched a young infielder traded for both stars (Bartolo Colon) and unassuming prospects to be named later (Jeff Stevens) blossom into one of the best second basemen ofhis generation.
On top of four Gold Gloves, Phillips tallied 1,774 of his 2,000 hits in a Reds uniform.
Since joining Cincinnati in 2006, heres where Phillips ranks among MLB second basemen ( per FanGraphs):
Still, entering a contract year with Cincinnati looking to hand more playing time to former Braves prospect Jose Peraza, the Braves were able to acquire Phillips at a bargain-basement price following a January car accident involving utility option Sean Rodriguez and his family.
The payoff for Atlantas front office was immediate.
The 36-year-old infielder bounced back from his worst season since leaving Cleveland by postinga .293/.331/.427 slash line that hovers above his career averages with 11 home runs and 10 stolen bases. After opening the season alongside Dansby Swanson at second base, the arrival of hyped rookie Ozzie Albies the prospect who relegated Phillips to placeholder status from the start meant atransition to third base earlier this month, a position he had not played since the minor leagues.
Phillips has performed admirably at the hot corner as well, setting himself up for an interesting free agency given the newfound positional versatility (if he chooses to embrace the value boost past the 2017 season). Since moving to third base, hes hit decently well while not committing a single error and breaking even in defensive runs saved.
Phillips follows in the footsteps of Markakis, another metro Atlanta product, and former Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski to collect his second grand of base knocks during Atlanta'srebuild.Markakis reached the milestone against All-Star Alex Wood and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 4.