ESPN.com's Buster Olney recently laid out who he thought were the key players on each qualifying playoff team. He only selected one for each and Phillips was his representative for the Redlegs. Here's what he had to say about the All-Star second basemen:
Cincinnati Reds, Brandon Phillips: The Reds have a team fully capable of success in the postseason, with a good rotation, a dominant bullpen and an outstanding defense. Their greatest inconsistency has been at the top of the lineup, and it helps that Phillips has moved into the leadoff spot now that Joey Votto is back in the No. 3 spot. Votto is not hitting for power at all these days, but if Phillips and Zack Cozart tee him up by getting on base, the Reds' production will be very different. Phillips in the leadoff spot this year: a .275 on-base percentage.
I've gone on record before in saying that I thought Drew Stubbs was the 'X-Factor' on this club, and I still hold that belief today. The reason being is that for the most part you know what you're getting from Phillips -- solid defense, a respectable average, and a little bit of pop. Stubbs, on the other hand, is hit or miss. Anything extra that he can add to the lineup is certainly a big help in Cincinnati's pursuit of winning.
But with that said, Phillips is definitely a key player on this ball club. He has shown the ability to carry the team at times, and his versatility alone makes him one of the most valuable members on the roster. For the Reds to make a serious push to the World Series, Phillips will certainly have to pull his fair share and then some.