What Can Eric Bruntlett Do For The Phillies?

Eric Bruntlett certainly wasn't the center piece of last week's deal that brought Brad Lidge to Philadelphia. So, just why did the Phillies want him included in the deal and what can he bring to the team?

In each of the past five seasons, Eric Bruntlett has played in the majors. However, in only one of those seasons - 2005 - did he spend the entire season at the Major League level. That alone should give you a bit of a hint into the type of player that Bruntlett has shown himself to be during his stint in the Houston Astros organization. He's one of those guys who is a little too good to be wasting away at the Triple-A level, but not good enough to guarantee himself a spot on a Major League roster; the type of player sometimes referred to as a Quad-A player.

The Phillies believe that he can do for them basically what Abraham Nunez did during his stint in Philadelphia. Provide them with a guy who can play a couple different positions, give good defense and possibly chip in with a key hit here or there. The biggest difference between the two is that Nunez would have gotten $2.5 million from the Phillies in 2008, while Bruntlett will be in the neighborhood of just under $1 million. For their careers, Nunez has hit .242, while Bruntlett has hit .250, although Bruntlett doesn't have a season like Nunez had in 2005 when he took over for Scott Rolen as the Cardinals third baseman and helped get the Birds to the World Series and then helped them win the series.

What Bruntlett does have, is a desire and willingness to do whatever it takes to win. Even fans in Houston noted his grittiness and players who have played with Bruntlett are quick to point out his strong work ethic and the fact that he's not quick to complain. Bruntlett also has the ability to play almost anywhere he's needed - he's played 137 games at short, 65 at second, 26 in center field, 23 in left field, 14 at third base, 7 in right field and one at first base in the majors - and can handle himself pretty well defensively wherever he plays. With the Phillies, he's most likely to see time at third base late in games as a defensive replacement, just as Nunez did. He's also going to be first up to give either Jimmy Rollins or Chase Utley a day off if they need one. Don't count him out as a defensive replacement in left field either, since the Phillies won't have Michael Bourn to fill that role, but it's likely they'll address that with someone else.

In Philadelphia, it's likely that Bruntlett will stop the shuttle back and forth between the majors and the minors; he's ticketed for a spot with the big league club as things stand now. This could well be the year that Bruntlett proves himself to be something more than that Quad-A player that he's been so far in his career.

Eric Bruntlett's Career Stats

SEASON HR RBI AVG G AB R H 2B 3B SB BB KO OBP
2003 1 4 .259 31 54 3 14 3 0 0 0 10 .255
2004 4 8 .250 45 52 14 13 2 0 4 7 13 .328
2005 4 14 .220 91 109 19 24 5 2 7 10 25 .292
2006 0 10 .277 73 119 11 33 8 0 3 13 31 .351
2007 0 14 .246 80 138 16 34 5 0 6 20 27 .346
Career 9 50 .250 320 472 63 118 23 2 20 50 96 .323

All games were played as a member of the Houston Astros.



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