Last year, the Philadelphia Phillies finished the regular season with the best record in baseball. After a mighty Game 5 duel between ace Roy Halladay and his Cardinal counterpart Chris Carpenter, the Phillies astonishingly found themselves watching the rest of the action from home.
They begin 2012 looking to once again be playing into October. Roy Oswalt is gone, but the rotation is still one of the best in baseball. Any of the front three would be the ace on most other staffs. Can this aging offense still keep them in the hunt against a much improved NL East?
In “30 Teams in 30 Days,” the Fantasy Baseball Cafe will preview each team in Major League Baseball on a daily basis. In addition to projecting starting lineups, rotations and closing situations, the Cafe will identify potential targets for 2012 fantasy baseball drafts.
|C Carlos Ruiz||.283||.371||.383||49||6||40||1||410|
|1B Ryan Howard||.253||.346||.488||81||33||116||1||557||Achilles|
|2B Chase Utley||.259||.344||.425||54||11||44||14||398||Knee|
|SS Jimmy Rollins||.268||.338||.399||87||16||63||30||567|
|3B Placido Polanco||.277||.335||.339||46||5||50||3||469||Hernia|
|LF John Mayberry||.273||.341||.513||37||15||49||8||267|
|CF Shane Victorino||.279||.355||.491||95||17||61||19||519|
|RF Hunter Pence||.314||.370||.502||84||22||97||8||606||w/2TM|
Unsettled: First base. Achilles surgery is no small matter, so there’s no telling how long it will take Howard to return and how the injury will affect his power. The Phillies are optimistically looking at a May return. Until that time, John Mayberry will help new addition Jim Thome with the first base duties. Chase Utley’s best years are almost certainly behind him.
Target: John Mayberry. Mayberry smacked 15 homers and swiped eight bags in half a season last year. Between the outfield and first, playing time shouldn’t be an issue. His MDP is in the .290s, so he comes cheap.
|Roy Halladay (R)||19-6||2.35||1.04||220||35||222.2|
|Cliff Lee (L)||17-8||2.40||1.03||238||42||232.2|
|Cole Hamels (L)||14-9||2.79||0.99||194||44||216.0|
|Vance Worley (R)||11-3||3.01||1.23||119||46||131.2|
|Joe Blanton (R)||1-2||5.01||1.48||35||9||41.1||Elbow|
Unsettled: Joe Blanton missed most of last season with an elbow injury. He heads into 2012 as the projected fifth starter, and allegedly his elbow is no longer bothering him. That said, the Phillies still signed journeyman Joel Pineiro as an insurance fifth starter. Neither is likely to be rosterable in mixed leagues.
Target: You can’t go wrong with any of the big three; they’re as reliable as they come. But they’re also high on everyone’s draft sheet. Keep an eye on Vance Worley. There’s a good chance many of your league-mates missed the season Worley quietly turned in after being added to the rotation last year. He was never a highly-touted prospect, so there is a reasonable chance he’ll regress this year. But he makes a good late-round target with upside.
The 8th and 9th Innings
|Jonathan Papelbon (R)||31||2.94||0.93||87||10||64.1||w/BOS|
|Antonio Bastardo (L)||8||2.64||0.93||70||26||58.0|
Chasing Saves: Jonathan Papelbon comes over from the Red Sox in the biggest deal ever signed by a relief pitcher. Expect him to be a top closer, and look for 35-plus saves with great ratios. Ryan Madson has departed to be the stopper in Cincinnati, leaving Antonio Bastardo in the setup role. He hopes to be joined by the start of the season by Jose Contreras, who is returning from a fairly serious elbow surgery. Kyle Kendrick was excellent in middle relief last year and looks to fill that spot again. This bullpen looks to be handed many leads this season and should be able to protect them as well as any.
The Phillies are not the powerhouse of fantasy stud-dom they were just a few years ago, but there are certainly players here worth your while, especially on the pitching side. Mayberry and Pence are great OF targets, and Rollins looks to be a pretty good second-tier SS. Don’t overlook Ruiz as a second catcher in two-catcher leagues. Draft cautiously when looking at Howard and Utley.
Check back tomorrow for our look at the NL East darkhorse Washington Nationals.
Jason posts regularly here at the cafe under the user name TheRock.
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