Cincinnati Reds: Why Brandon Phillips Should Be an Early MVP Candidate

Tim DanielContributor IIIMay 15, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 14: Fans cheer as Brandon Phillips #4 of the Cincinnati Reds returns to the dugout after hitting a home run in the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on May 14, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds defeated the Cardinals 7-3. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Night in and night out Cincinnati, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has played on a level Reds fans have come to expect.  With his great defensive plays of bare-handed grabs, between-the-legs flips and snagging line drives out of the air, he has already made quite the highlight reel.

Now we always knew Phillips had a great defensive game with some pretty good offense, but ever since he began hitting cleanup behind Joey Votto, Brandon has been on fire.

So far this year, the game of Brandon Phillips has been a more complete style.  With a .326 batting average along with five home runs and 23 runs batted in we are really seeing Phillips do a little bit of everything.

Okay, I know we're just seven weeks into the season and we have a ways to go, but Phillips is playing great, and so far this season, he looks to be the top second baseman in the National League.

The guy has been clutch, as simple as that.  In Friday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Brandon Phillips had a huge hit in between outfielders Colby Rasmus and Matt Holliday to keep the Reds rally rolling and eventually lead to another great come-from-behind victory.

Is this Brandon Phillips the MVP, or is he going the route of giving it his all because this is a year he's up for a big contract extension? Phillips had signed a big four-year deal worth $27 million back in February 2008, and he has made it no secret he wants to stay in Cincinnati.

A great thing Brandon Phillips gives the Reds is that now the team has more than one guy who can give you a clutch hit in any game.  Very similar to another former Reds second baseman by the name of Joe Morgan.

Like I said, I know it's only been seven weeks into the season, but if Brandon Phillips continues to play the way he has been, you can't deny he deserves to have his name in the MVP race at the end of the 2011 season.

What are your thoughts?