Friday, February 29, 2008

Fantasy Team Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies made one of the greatest comebacks ever down the stretch last season, overtaking the Mets in the final week of the season to win the NL East crown. They will try to build on that success this year, however, their Spring Training got off to an inauspicious start when closer Brad Lidge went down with a knee injury. He will be out 3-6 weeks. Without further ado, let's take a look at the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies.

Projected Lineup

SS- Jimmy Rollins
CF- Shane Victorino
2B- Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
LF- Pat Burrell
RF- Geoff Jenkins
3b- Pedro Feliz
C- Carlos Ruiz

Starting Rotation

Ace- Brett Myers
2- Cole Hamels
3- Jamie Moyer
4- Kyle Kendrick
5- Adam Eaton

Bullpen

Closer- Brad Lidge
Setup- Tom Gordon, Ryan Madsen, J.C. Romero, Scott Mathieson, Clay Condrey

Hitters to Draft

Ranking the hitters to draft on this team was especially hard because they have 3 players who are near the top at their positions. I ranked them based on when they would be taken in the draft.

Ryan Howard, 1B - One of the best sluggers in the game, and a guy who has the potential to hit 50HR every season he plays. He was awful to start last season and STILL hit 47HR and had 136RBI. In reality with Pujols' elbow injury Howard should be taken ahead of him, but in fantasy drafts, I get the feeling he won't. Howard is definitely a first round pick, and is inline for another monster season.

Jimmy Rollins, SS - 30HR, 41SB, 94RBI, 139R, plays SS. One of the best things about Rollins is that he gets better nearly every season, and is constantly developing. Probably the second SS taken over all after Hanley Ramirez.

Chase Utley, 2B - Most rank him as the best 2B in all of baseball, and even though I don't I had to put him here because this is where he would be in a 2B popularity contest. He is a lock for a .300BA, 30HR, 100+RBI and 12SB.

Shane Victorino, CF - Speedster, will play center and can motor with the best of them. He will put up some better numbers than guys like Juan Pierre and will probably still be drafted after him, based on Pierre's past reputation.

Pat Burrell, LF - A fine power hitter who is constantly overlooked because of the media scrutiny he endures playing in Philadelphia. He had a huge second half last season proving he still has it in him. He is no longer the elite slugger he was, but he is better than a guy like Raul Ibanez, who I have seen go before him in a few drafts already.

Pitchers To Draft

Cole Hamels, SP - Young stud lefty, can win games and strike guys out. He should get plenty of run support and win about 17 games when all is said and done.

Brad Lidge, CL - He will more than likely start the season on the DL, trying to rebound from knee surgery he had early in spring training. I think at worst he misses 2-3 weeks of the season, and could still wind up with 35 saves or so. We broke the injury down more thoroughly here.

Brett Myers, SP - I am nervous about the fact that he closed all of last season and now he returns to being the ace of the Phillies' staff. I realize a season of closing might have helped him build strength, however, he got hurt last year while closing and will be leaned on to pitch 200 innings in 2008. I have him listed here because he is a solid fantasy starter and people will draft him in those middle rounds. Be weary of him breaking down at some point.

Kyle Kendrick, SP - Kendrick came up and saved the season last year for the Phil's winning 10 of the 20 games he started. Kendrick could have been a rookie fluke, but I think he will be able to post stellar numbers similar to what he did last season.

Players to Avoid

Adam Eaton, SP - Awful.

Jamie Moyer, SP - I like Jamie Moyer. Veteran, terrible stuff, tons of moxie, battles, earns every victory, but he bring little to the table in the fantasy world. Moyer's High ERA, high WHIP and lack of Ks should take him off your draft board. He is no longer in his prime; don't let his name fool you.

Geoff Jenkins, RF - He is like the Nicholas Cage of baseball. He keeps on sucking and keeps finding work like he is an elite player.

Sleepers

Carlos Ruiz, C - A catcher with a little speed and a bit of pop played his way into a starting role last season, and never let go. He is my second favorite sleeper catcher (after my boy J.R. Towles on Houston), and I think given a full season he will put up numbers at about a 12/12 clip with 70RBI. The stolen bases is an added bonus and outside of the top 3-4 catchers, the batting average is on par with what every other catcher will do.

Pedro Feliz, 3B - Not a whole lot was made of the Feliz signing, but I think it was a very good move that strengthens an already formidable Phillies lineup. Last season while playing on one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, in one of the worst hitter's parks in baseball Feliz managed 20HR, and 72RBI. At .253 the batting average is nothing to write home, but we are talking about a sleeper here, not an All- Star. I personally think Feliz has the potential to hit 30HR, with 85RBI hitting for this team, in this line up, in that ball park. A fine pick for later in your draft to fill out your 3B or U hole, and put up better numbers than many others would expect.

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