Fantasy Baseball Team Previews – Philadelphia Phillies

Franco

The Philadelphia Phillies did exactly what we expected in 2015 as they struggled to 63 wins and the basement of the NL East. It is tough to predict a much better 2016 for them but they are still a team I am excited to watch from a fantasy purposes. There are a lot of young kids in this team and if things click it could get exciting quick in the coming years. I would bet that whilst most of this team will go either very late in drafts or un-drafted, we are talking in excited terms about at least four or five of these guy come seasons end.

They have had a great offseason by any accounts as they have fully embraced the rebuild. They traded away their closer, Ken Giles, who they really don’t need right now, to Houston for some interesting upside pieces including Vincent Velasquez and Mark Appel. They also added Jeremy Hellickson and Charlie Morton as rotation gambles with very little to lose. They replaced Giles with David Hernandez who will offer solidity if not excitement as a closer. The only baffling addition is Peter Bourjos. Given all the young outfield talent they have he will be a place holder until the kids are ready for major league exposure.

AL East

AL Central AL West NL East NL Central NL West

Baltimore

Chicago WS Houston Atlanta Chicago

Arizona

Boston

Cleveland Los Angeles A Miami Cincinnati Colorado

New York Y

Detroit

Oakland New York M Milwaukee

Los Angeles D

Tampa Bay

Kansas City Texas Philadelphia Pittsburgh

San Diego

Toronto Minnesota Seattle Washington St. Louis

San Francisco

Projected Starting Line-up

  1. Cesar Hernandez
  2. Odubel Herrera
  3. Maikel Franco
  4. Ryan Howard (vs RH), Darin Ruf (vs LH)
  5. Aaron Altherr
  6. Cameron Rupp
  7. Freddy Galvis
  8. Peter Bourjos

Maikel Franco, 3B

After a little taste in 2014, Franco burst into the major leagues with somewhat of a bang in 2015 hitting 14 homers at 0.280. At just 23 we are some distance from Franco’s peak hitting ability but there is still a lot of power potential for this young man in 2016. Franco is going to get every opportunity this season and should see plenty of AB’s. I have him projected to be a top 10 third baseman even with a little regression in batting average and a relative lack of runs and RBI thanks to the fairly terrible line-up around him. I currently have him projected for 26 homers, a 0.267 batting average and 155 combined runs and RBI. Right now he is coming at a good value as the 12th third baseman off the board outside of the top 100 picks so he is definitely a guy I am targeting in drafts.

Odubel Herrera, OF

Philadelphia took a shot on Herrera last season in the rule five draft, and he had a season which exceeded expectations. 16 steals, eight homers and a 0.297 batting average gave Philly a solid hitter who they could use as their everyday centre fielder. Herrera is still young, just 24, so there is still something left to come from the young centre fielder. I have him projected for nine homers, 19 steals and a 0.270 batting average, making him a top 50 outfielder for me. He doesn’t excel at anything but as a fifth outfielder he provides solid power and speed at a time in the draft when you normally have to prioritise one over the other. Herrera is currently going undrafted in most leagues and for that reason he is someone I am targeting late in drafts to fill those last outfield or bench spots in roto leagues.

Aaron Altherr, OF

Is Aaron Altherr a potential 20/20 guy or will his aggressive approach lead to a disasterous batting average?

Is Aaron Altherr a potential 20/20 guy or will his aggressive approach lead to a disasterous batting average?

Altherr had a cameo in 2015 with 137 AB’s in which time he hit five homers but struck out in nearly a third of his AB’s! Much like Franco and Herrera he is a young guy, just 25, who has a ton of potential and will get every opportunity in the re-building Phillies team. Altherr has no shortage of power and there is real 15-20 homer potential this season, but there will be a lot of big swing and misses and that will lead to poor batting average. However, he does also offer some excitement with his speed, having stolen six bases last season, and could be a legitimate 20 steal threat this season. If he can control his desire to mash the ball and some things break his way, he has 20/20 potential going forward. As a guy currently going undrafted in most leagues I am willing to take a late round gamble on him in the hope I get some cheap power and speed. Hernandez makes it three young guys who are virtually going undrafted who may be able to contribute in those tricky last outfield and middle infield spots at no risk with a nice potential reward.

Cesar Hernandez, 2B

After a couple of false starts to his career in 2013 & 2014 Hernandez had a break out campaign at second base in 2015. He hit 0.272 and stole an impressive 19 bases whilst playing numerous positions around the infield. He is a super-utility potential guy who could have eligibility at numerous positions during the season, whilst stealing 20-25 bases and hitting a respectable 0.270ish.

Any Other Business?

  • Ryan Howard, 1B: Name value earns him a mention here just to simply point out he is projected to be in a platoon so the usual 20-homer upside may not even be there this year. Viable only in the deepest of deep leagues.
  • Cameron Rupp, C: Nothing massively exciting here and would event get a mention if it wasn’t for the position eligibility being catcher. A low end number two catcher who could hit 10 homers but will hurt your average pretty badly

Projected Rotation

  1. Aaron Nola
  2. Jeremy Hellickson
  3. Charlie Morton
  4. Jerad Eickhoff
  5. Vincent Velasquez

Aaron Nola

Aaron Nola has the potential to be a useful streaming option this week.

Can Aaron Nola strikeout enough batters to excite fantasy owners?

Nola is an upside gamble for fantasy owner this season but I am worried how much upside there really is. Nola has only been professional for two years and he isn’t one of the guys who has elite strikeout upside. Playing on a young team with an offense that no one expects much from means he won’t get a huge amount of run support and could struggle to win more than nine or 10 games, and even that feels like it could be generous projection. However, there is no real price to pay considering he is the 67th pitcher off the board, and there will be plenty of streaming options during the season if he struggles.

Vincent Velasquez

Now this is a guy with monster upside, all around, but there are also concerns. Chiefly, the concern is innings given that he only pitched 88 combined in 2015 it will be hard to see him going much beyond 120 this year. However, those innings could easily see greater than a strikeout per innings and some decent ratios. Not someone you can really draft outside the deepest of leagues but a guy who should be on your watch list if he does start showing signs of a good run.

Charlie Morton, Jerad Eickhoff & Jeremy Hellickson

I have all of these three as replacement level pitchers in shallow leagues who will occasional be streaming options on two start weeks or when they have a favourable match-up.

Closer:

David Hernandez (Competition)

Right now Hernandez is the main man but he is almost as unsafe as it gets. He will have a decent K rate but there is a real chance he could lose the job or be traded mid-season to a set-up role if he is pitching well. Anyone getting saves should be owned in most leagues but don’t invest much in Hernandez

Next Man Up:

Numerous – Frieri, Bailey and Mujica

These are the names that stand out to me but there isn’t really a must draft back up right now and frankly it is unlikely I will be drafted one except in the deepest mixed or NL only leagues because there is no stand out option right now.

Prospect Potential

  • Jorge Alfaro, C: Alfaro’s name seems to have been on prospect lists forever and may still be a year away, but given he is a catcher he is worth monitoring. Alfaro has a ton of power, the skills to remain a catcher and potentially still decent speed if he can recover from his ankle injury. His batting average will never be great but he still figures to be a top catching option on power alone going forward. I think the Phillies will try and go as far as they can this year with Rupp & Ruiz so we may not see Alfaro until late making it impossible to draft him.
  • P. Crawford, SS: Crawford is one of the top prospects in baseball but some of that is built into his defensive ability and the fact is a lock to stick at shortstop. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t a really good player offensively as well. He dominated at high-A last season before hitting five homers and stealing seven bases in Double-A. He projects to be a guy with a decent average who can hit 10-plus homers and have a shot at 20 steals. His speed and plate discipline should mean he spends a large part of his career a top the batting order and should score plenty of runs. The Phillies have no need to rush him so Crawford is not a guy you want to be drafting for re-draft but is a late round keeper league consideration given his position.
  • Roman Quinn, SS/OF: Quinn is a guy who is going to contribute in the speed category mostly in his career, but he is a decent enough hitter that he should be able to put up decent numbers for average and runs. His path to the majors may be a little blocked by a young outfield pair of Herrera and Altherr, with Tyler Goeddel as first reserve. He figures to be a pinch runner at some point in the season with his speed and if Bourjos doesn’t work out the Phillies won’t hesitate to see what they have in Quinn.
  • Nick Williams, OF: Took massive strides forward in 2015 and will have the same initial problem that Quinn has in that the Phillies have some young outfield options they will give plenty of chances too. Williams has a good shot to bat for a decent average, despite a swing first ask questions later approach, and he has the power to be a 20+ homer guy. He could be a really good fantasy option going forward but may be behind Quinn right now in the race to lock down an outfield spot of the future.
  • Mark Appel, SP: Appel has never really lived up the hype but the Phillies are willing to take the chance that he can make his above average stuff work for him in a different environment. A change in location will remove the pressure and allow Appel to try and be the pitcher he was at Stanford. Right now he has the look of a low-end starter but with mid-rotation upside going forward. However, I think the Phillies will want to see a decent body of work before they set him loose in the majors so getting much from him this year is a long shot.
  • Jake Thompson, SP: Thompson offers the upside of decent strikeouts with the body type to work through a lot of innings. He will need to improve his secondary pitches if he is to succeed in the majors but in a year where the Phillies have nothing to lose we could see him reasonably early. Not exciting enough to draft for the potential but definitely one to keep an eye out for in the call-ups.

 

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