StrategyFebruary 25, 2009

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30 Teams in 30 Days: Philadelphia Phillies

By Craig Gould

Today in “30 Teams in 30 Days,” we will be looking at the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are coming off of a World Series victory and are bringing back practically the same team. The front office locked up most of the cogs that were responsible for the playoff run the team enjoyed in 2008. The only major change is the addition of Raul Ibanez to the lineup, who takes over for Pat Burrell in left field and should bring more consistency to the Phillies lineup. The only question now is if the Phillies are hungry enough to repeat.

For a closer look at the Philadelphia Phillies and the rest of the NL East, be sure to check out The Can of Corn NL East Preview Podcast.

Offensive Starters

C Carlos Ruiz.219.320.300474311320 
1B Ryan Howard.251.339.543105481461610 
2B Chase Utley.292.380.5351133310414607 
SS Jimmy Rollins.277.349.43776115947556 
3B Pedro Feliz.249.302.4024314580425 
LF Raul Ibanez.293.358.47985231102635w/Sea
CF Shane Victorino.293.352.447102145836570 
RF Jayson Werth.273.363.49873246720418 

Unsettled: Pedro Feliz. Feliz is recovering from off-season back surgery and may not be ready for Opening Day. That would leave Greg Dobbs, the major league-leader in pinch-hits last season, with the everyday job at third base. Dobbs hits right-handed pitching at a great clip (.309/.339/.507 in 2008) but struggles versus left-handed pitching. Dobbs isn’t the fielder that Feliz is, but if he comes out of the gate hot, he may force a full platoon with Feliz facing lefties and Dobbs facing righties.

Target: Jayson Werth. You can certainly target one of the Phillies three studs, but that may cost you a first round pick. Werth will provide you with a 20/20 season and some upside in runs and RBIs. It is a little unsettled where Werth will hit in the lineup; with the addition of another left-handed bat in Ibanez, Charlie Manuel may opt to hit Werth in the fifth hole between Howard and Ibanez. Manuel also has the option to hit Werth third, between Utley and Howard, or even second. In any case, Werth should provide you with 160 total runs and RBIs.

The Rotation

Cole Hamels (L)14-103.091.0819653227.1
Brett Myers (R)10-134.551.3816365190
Jamie Moyer (L)16-73.711.3312362196.2
Joe Blanton (R)9-124.691.4011166197.2
Kyle Kendrick (R)11-95.491.616857155.2

Unsettled: Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick is said to have the first shot at the fifth spot in the rotation but has a few competitors for the job. J.A. Happ, Chan Ho Park, and Phillies’ top prospect Carlos Carrasco will all have an opportunity to win the job. Carrasco will more than likely open the year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and will be called up later in the season if needed. Happ may be asked to fill a void in the bullpen for the first 50 games of the season due to left-hander J.C. Romero’s suspension, making Happ the Phillies’ second left-handed option behind Scott Eyre. Chan Ho Park pitched effectively out of the bullpen for the Dodgers last season and may be better suited there after several years of inconsistency.

Target: Cole Hamels. Hamels should be the third pitcher off the board behind Santana and Lincecum. He pitched perfectly in the playoffs for the Phillies and is looking to build off that performance. He should have finished with considerably more than 14 wins last season; look for him to finish in the 18-20 range in wins this season. Brett Myers could provide good value later in the draft, as he struggled mightily in the first half before finishing the season very strong.

The 8th and 9th Innings

Brad Lidge (R)411.951.23923569.2
Ryan Madson (R)03.051.23672382.2

Chasing Saves: Brad Lidge was remarkably consistent all season and finished the season perfect in save opportunities, going a remarkable 41-for-41. If Lidge were to get injured, the ball would be handed over to Ryan Madson. Madson really turned it on in September and during the playoffs. His fastball usually tops out around 92 MPH, but during the last two months of the season, it was routinely hitting 97 MPH. He was nearly untouchable during that time, only allowing four earned runs after August 31.

Final Thoughts

The Phillies should be able to make a push to win back-to-back World Series titles, and you should ride them to your fantasy championships as well. There is top-notch talent throughout the lineup. With good balance between speedsters like Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, and power hitters like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, you should target a few of these players if you can. Cole Hamels can anchor your rotation and Brad Lidge can solidify your bullpen. There are stars on this team, but don’t forget the mid-round contributors either. Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, and Brett Myers can also prove to be valuable assets to your fantasy teams.

Yesterday, we previewed the New York Mets. Come back tomorrow for our look at the Washington Nationals, the next team in the “30 Teams in 30 Days” series!

Craig Gould is the cafe's resident Phillies expert and die-hard fan. He has a journalism degree and also enjoys playing poker and watching the Mets choke at every opportunity. You can catch up with Craig in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Snakes Gould.
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