StrategyFebruary 8, 2013


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30 Teams in 30 Days: Philadelphia Phillies

By R.J. White

The Phillies were kings of the NL East heading into 2012. They had just reeled off five straight division titles, starting in 2007 and winning more games in each successive year, culminating in a 102-win regular season that ultimately ended with a disappointing division-series loss. But with such an old core group of players, many wondered how long they could keep it up.

The answer was “no longer.” The Phillies were caught and passed by the younger Nationals and Braves, ending the season with just 81 wins, their lowest total since the year 2000. Thanks to big contracts doled out while things were going good, the team is forced to stick with the same aging core group of players heading into this season and hoping that health and good luck will break right for the club in 2013.

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 2013 fantasy baseball drafts.
 
Offensive Starters
 

2012 StatsAVGOBPSLGRHRRBISBPANotes
C Carlos Ruiz.325.394.5405616684421Susp
1B Ryan Howard.219.295.4232814560292 
2B Chase Utley.256.365.42948114511362 
SS Jimmy Rollins.2509.316.427102236830699 
3B Michael Young.277.312.370798672651w/TEX
LF Domonic Brown.235.316.396215260212 
CF Ben Revere.294.333.3427003240553w/MIN
RF Delmon Young.267.296.4115418740608w/DET

 
Unsettled: Corner outfielders. Domonic Brown is getting another crack at holding down a semi-regular job this season. He may as well have broke out the stencil and copied his 2011 line over to 2012, as his stats were virtually identical. If he doesn’t take a step forward, John Mayberry and/or Darin Ruf could take over and push Brown to a change-of-scenery trade. Either one of those guys may spend significant time in right field if the Delmon Young signing doesn’t work out, and that could be a nice bet to make, considering Delmon Young is playing the outfield this year.
 
Target: Carlos Ruiz. The Philly catcher got into a little trouble this offseason, earning a 25-game suspension for his use of Adderall. Fantasy owners are banking on the drug suspension leading to a severe dropoff in numbers. In fact, Ruiz is in danger of going undrafted in leagues. However, if his power doesn’t fall off a cliff, he should still be a worthy No. 1 catcher in fantasy leagues. His solid batting average will play even if he’s just hitting 8-10 HRs instead of 16. At the very least, he’s worth a $1 bid or late pick just to see if he can repeat most of last season’s top-notch performance.
 
The Rotation
 
2012 StatsW-LERAWHIPKBBIPNotes
Cole Hamels (L)17-63.051.1221652215.1 
Roy Halladay (R)11-84.491.2213236156.1 
Cliff Lee (L)6-93.161.1120728211.0 
Kyle Kendrick (R)11-123.901.2711649159.1 
John Lannan (L)9-114.301.448650148.2in AAA

 
Unsettled: John Lannan was signed to replace the traded Vance Worley in the fifth spot, but he looked mediocre against Triple-A pitching last year and could get a quick hook. That could lead to righty Tyler Cloyd pitching a significant amount of innings this season. He was 15-1 as a 25-year-old pitching in Double-A and Triple-A last year with a 2.26 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, albeit it with a low strikeout rate. That K rate has been better in the past (and was pretty good in his quick MLB audition), and he’s kept the walks down throughout his career. Keep him in mind in NL-only formats.
 
Target: Roy Halladay. You can’t go wrong with any of the team’s three aces, but you’re going to get the most value out of Halladay this year. A former No. 1 fantasy starter, Halladay is being valued as a late No. 2 in mixed-leagues this season after making just 25 starts in 2012 while dealing with shoulder problems. That broke a string of six consecutive 220-inning seasons for Halladay, who saw his walk rate jump to a merely mortal 2.1 BB/9 last season. If he gets back to being vintage Doc, his owners will have a top-ten pitcher back on their hands. He’s worth a look once the elite starters are off the table.
 
The 8th and 9th Innings
 
2012 StatsSVERAWHIPKBBIPNotes
Jonathan Papelbon (R)382.441.06921870.0 
Mike Adams (R)13.271.40451752.1w/TEX

 
Chasing Saves: Jonathan Papelbon was dominant in his first season out of Boston, posting a K/BB over 5.0 and giving owners no reason to doubt him heading into 2013. He’ll be set up by Mike Adams, formerly one of the top setup men in the game. Adams had to deal with thoracic outlet syndrome last season, which may have helped explain the dip in strikeout rate and the overall mediocrity of his numbers. The Phillies didn’t seem to have any concern about his performance, signing him to a two-year, $12-million deal this offseason. If he’s healthy, he could be dominant once again, especially if he has to fill in for Papelbon for an extended amount of time. Antonio Bastardo posted a ridiculous 14.0 K/9 last season and could be of some help in IP-limit roto leagues.
 
Final Thoughts
 
The Phillies will hope they can get full, productive seasons out of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley this season, and their fantasy prices are depressed enough that the upside each has may outweigh what owners must spend to get them. Jimmy Rollins, Ben Revere and Carlos Ruiz could also provide value depending on how your draft/auction unfolds. The three aces are worth grabbing for any team, as is closer Jonathan Papelbon and even one or two of the Phillies’ setup men. This is a team that’s likely being written off as stuck behind the Nationals and Braves, and that line of thought to lead to value across the board for many of their veterans.
 
Check back tomorrow for our look at the Washington Nationals.
 

 
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe and contributes to CBSSports.com's MLB Rumors blog. He has previously written for FanHouse, Razzball and FanDuel. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
 
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