Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips has done his homework on Yasiel Puig. He's read the scouting reports on the Dodgers outfielder's cannon-like right arm, he's seen the stats (12 outfield assists in 164 games) and he's watched the highlights that back it all up. That's why when faced with the decision of testing Puig's cannon on Wednesday night, Phillips not only played it safe, but turned around and humbly acknowledged its strength with a bow.
A bow: The ultimate sign of respect, and perhaps the ultimate sign of fear. We're guessing in this case it was respect, although sometimes there's little difference.
Either way, that's a spot where more times than not, Philips makes the turn and attempts to advance to third. Though he's not a 25-steal guy anymore — or even 10-15 steals for that matter — Phillips still possesses decent enough speed when healthy. So far in 2014, he has been just that. It wasn't a lack of confidence in himself or his body. On this occasion, he just showed superior judgment in shutting it down.
On another night, against a different foe, it's a different mindset and a different story. It's just not to be attempted against Puig. And really, it's not because of Puig's pure arm strength, it's also his closing speed in the outfield. Watch the highlight again and marvel at how quickly Puig gets to the baseball and comes up ready to fire.
Perhaps also in the back of Phillips' mind was the sight of Yoenis Cespedes' laser beam from over 300 feet away from home plate that nailed Howie Kendrick on Tuesday night. That highlight was shown time and time again on Wednesday leading into the night games, so who would want to risk being the runner thrown out in a highlight that's shown time after time on Thursday?
The answer: Not Brandon Phillips.
Instead, he bows, and we all bow with him to the new generation of five-tool players in MLB.
BLS H/N: Cut 4
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