MLB Team News & Rumors: Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Phillies

Our expert from,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.

Philadelphia Phillies Team Projection

After 8 solid seasons with a plus offense, Philly is on a downward spiral in runs scored (610 - 12th in the NL). That was their lowest total since 1988. In addition, they finished 9th in the NL in HR's (140). Their 2013 pitching staff also allowed 220 more runs than their 2011 playoff team, which led to them finishing 14th in the NL in ERA (4.32). Their only loss in the offseason was the retirement of P Roy Halladay. Philly only signed one player that will be in their starting lineup - OF Marlon Byrd. On the pitching side, the Phillies signed P Roberto Hernandez, P Chad Gaudin, and P Brad Lincoln. Their offense has 3 star players (Howard, Rollins, and Utley) on the downside of their career, mixed with a couple of young, upside bats (Asche and Brown). If the stars align, Philly may squeeze one more good offensive year out of this team. They still have 2 front line starters in P Cliff Lee and P Cole Hamels, but they are below average at the back end of their rotation. P Jonathan Papelbon returns as closer, but Philly doesn't have a deep bullpen. This team could break down quickly, especially if the Phillies decide to be a seller at the trade deadline.

1. OF Ben Revere

Ben Revere fantasy baseball

Without steals, Revere was just about worthless over his first 109 at bats in 2013 (.229 with 11 runs, 5 RBI, and 6 SB's). His lack of success led to him losing some at bats. Over his last 214 at bats, Ben hit .332 with 26 runs, 12 RBI's, and 16 SB's. He was actually better against lefties (.370). Revere's K rate (10.7%) is very low, but it was higher than his last 2 seasons. His walk rate (4.8%) has declined in every season in the majors. Ben still hasn't hit a HR in 1,304 major league at bats and has the weakest AVH rating (1.156) in the game. Not surprisingly, he is an extreme GB hitter (65.7% for his career). Last year, he broke his right foot in mid July (needed surgery). This ended up costing him the rest of the season. Overall, Revere is a pure Judy hitter with a weak walk rate. His skill set isn't ideal to bat lead off unless he hits .330 or above, which is possible. I'm really curious how close his 2014 final value will be to Billy Hamilton. Ben has 50 SB upside with a chance at a solid batting average. His runs will probably never be elite, as he won't get on base enough and can't drive himself in. Pure speed players are tough pieces to build a winning fantasy baseball team, especially in the outfield.

2. SS Jimmy Rollins

Jimmy Rollins fantasy baseball

Rollins is a player that could have been a juicer. He has never had a high HR/FB rate (only 3 years over 10%), but his power dropped off the table in 2013 (lowest HR/FB rate of his career {3.1}). In the past, he has delivered solid HR's from short, but his success was helped by plus at bats and a solid FB rate. His K rate (14.0%) has declined over the last 3 seasons, while his walk rate (8.9) has been above his average over the last 4 years. Jimmy struggled against both RH (.252) and LH (.252) pitching, and came up empty way too many times over the last 3 months of the year (.240 with 2 HR's and 11 RBI in 288 at bats). Rollins only hit 2 HR's in his last 390 at bats. Last year, he battled a bruised hip and another minor hip issue. Jimmy also seemed to have a rub with Ryne Sandberg. Overall, he has a long resume of success and maybe he just wasn't healthy. The drop in his AVH (1.384) suggests there might be more to the story. Tough swing in 2014 as his name may hold some of his draft value. Five seasons of a weak batting average is the writing on the wall and the drop in power is the nail in the coffin. It's time to find the next Jimmy Rollins and he goes by the name.....

3. 2B Chase Utley

Chase Utley fantasy baseball

Utley played pretty well in 2013, other than an oblique injury that cost him about 5 weeks of the season. His K rate (14.9%) was the highest it has been since 2009 and his walk rate (8.5%) was his lowest since 2007. Chase hit well against righties (.302) and still had some power (6 HR's in 151 at bats) against LH pitching. Overall, his skill set looked to be intact (other than a slight decline in speed). He has been working hard in the offseason to stay healthy. The Phillies saw enough from him to give him a 5-year, $75 million contract last summer, but only $25 million is guaranteed over the next 2 years if his knee issue re-emerges. Utley is a solid major league bat. He still has power and was a very good run producer in 2013 (18%). Furthermore, his low RBI total was more due to short chances and missed games. He has some risk for sure, but it should be built into his draft value. Utley should have a positive batting average with 20+ HR's and double digit steals.

4. 1B Ryan Howard

Ryan Howard fantasy baseball

Howard has missed more than a season of games over the last 2 years. Last year, he wasn't great in his 80 games (11 HR's and 43 RBI), but he wasn't terrible either. His K rate (30.0%) has been more of a negative over the past 2 seasons. Also, he had the lowest walk rate (7.3%) of his career in 2013. He developed a left knee issue on May 19th and tried to play through it, but it ended up being a meniscus tear that required surgery in July. His approach at the plate was brutal in April and May (10 walks in 185 at bats - 5.0% walk rate), which was totally out of character for him. His walk rate (11.4%) fell back in line in June. Last year, he had absolutely no value against LH pitching (39 K's in 81 at bats with only 3 walks - .173). Overall, Howard has a long resume of success hitting HR's in the majors. His struggles over the last 2 years have been due to injuries. Ryan has been working hard to get back in shape during the offseason. I expect another plus HR season and his draft value is low enough where he will be this year's Chris Davis at 1st base. Over a six period, he averaged 44 HR's with 131 RBI. I know the talent around him has declined, but his power is still elite.

5. OF Marlon Byrd

Marlon Byrd fantasy baseball

It's interesting to see that Byrd had his best season in the majors at age 35 after he was suspended for performance enhancing drugs in 2012. His success in 2013 led to him getting the biggest contract of his career with the Phillies. Byrd has only hit 20 HR's one other time during his career (2009 - 20 HR's). His K rate (24.9%) was a career high and it doesn't support his success in batting average. Additionally, his walk rate (5.4%) has been weak over the last 4 seasons. Marlon hit very well against LH pitching (.344 with 8 HR's and 31 RBI in 163 at bats - .583 SLG %). He played his best after the All Star break (.314 with 9 HR's and 37 RBI) and mashed on the road (.325 with 15 HR's and 52 RBI). He also hit 5 HR's or more in 4 straight months between May and August. Last year, he changed his swing path, which led to the highest HR/FB rate (16.4%) of his career for a full season. His results from last season will drive his value in the 2014 draft season. His batting average has some downside risk due his higher K rate, even with a .280 career average. In a way, Byrd has always underachieved his skill set, especially in the power department. He showed batting practice power that never translated to success in games. I don't trust him if I have to pay full price, but I respect him enough to take a swing on him if he is discounted. I see .265 with 18 HR's and 75 RBI for what it is worth.

6. OF Domonic Brown

Domonic Brown fantasy baseball

Brown had an electric 19 game stretch between May 20th and June 8th where he hit .397 with 18 runs, 12 HR's, 25 RBI's, and 5 SB's over 73 at bats. Over the first 3 months of the year, he hit .274 with 21 HR's, 57 RBI, and 8 SB's. His walk rate (7.4%) was shorter than his minor league resume (10.5%), which was due to his approach in May (no walks in 109 at bats with 21 K's). He showed patience in April and May, so he isn't just another free swinger with batting average risk. His K rate (18.0%) was about the major league average. Domonic had his most success against RH pitching (.281 with 21 HR's and 62 RBI), but he had power against lefties (.252 with 6 HR's and 21 RBI in 147 at bats). His production dropped off the table over the 2nd half of the year (.270 with 4 HR's and 16 RBI in 141 at bats) due to a concussion in late July and an Achilles injury in August. His HR/FB rate (19.3%) more than doubled from his 2 previous seasons where he had short at bats. Brown's success driving the ball was due to a change in his grip early in spring training (suggested by Wally Joyner). During his minor league career, Domonic hit .297 with 59 HR's, 285 RBI's, and 106 SB's in 1,994 at bats. He had what appeared to be a 20/20 skill set, but his growth was slow at the major league level. Many will look at his final stats and see a ho-hum 20/80 skill set. Brown showed elite upside with even more underlying speed. His failure late in the year was due to injuries and he even had a slight back issue in April. His only downside is he won't hit in an ideal part of the batting order, unless the Phillies are willing to bat 3 straight lefties. Brown is a five category player with upside across the board.

7. C Carlos Ruiz

Carlos Ruiz fantasy baseball

Ruiz started the year standing on the sidelines after getting suspended for 25 games for taking a banned substance. He was only a shell of himself when he returned. Carlos didn't hit a HR in his first 150 at bats and missed a month of the first half due to a hamstring injury. Over his last 160 at bats, he hit .281 with 5 HR's and 28 RBI's. His K rate (11.4%) remains low, but his walk rate (5.3%) has been cut in half over the last 2 years. The Phillies signed him to a 3-year, $26 million contract in November. Ruiz isn't as good as he was in 2012 (.325 with 16 HR's and 68 RBI), but he isn't as bad as he was last year. His HR/FB rate dropped from 15.1% in 2012 to 5.5% last year. He is a #2 catcher in deep leagues with 10 HR power and neutral to slightly positive average.

8. 3B Cody Asche

Cody Asche fantasy baseball

Asche didn't do anything to make a fantasy player think he was an impact player in his 162 major league at bats. His K rate (24.0%) was a negative and his walk rate (8.4%) was major league average. Furthermore, he struggled against lefties (.219 with 10 K's in 43 at bats) and made less contact as the season went on (30.2% K rate in September). Cody hit .287 during his minor league career with 29 HR's, 159 RBI's, and 22 SB's in 1,161 at bats. For a fantasy player, he may look like an attractive backend option at 3B. He has only mid teens power and will offer some speed from 3rd, but his skill set isn't high enough to keep the job all season if he comes out of the gates slowly. Overall, I think he needs time to develop. With a full season in Philly, his batting average will fall under .270 with 12 to 15 HR's and mid 60 RBI's. Asche has talent, but he isn't ready to make an impact in 2014.

9. OF Darin Ruf

Darin Ruf fantasy baseball

Ruf was a solid source of power off the bench in 2013, but he had a weak RBI rate (9%). With the signing of Marlon Byrd and a healthy Ryan Howard, he really doesn't have a very good shot at playing time. His K rate (31.1%) is a huge weakness, but he did show a willingness to take a walk (11.3%). Darin had no value against lefties (.188). This year, he will compete for the 4th outfield slot on the Phillies and provide RH power as a pinch hitter. In 2012 at AAA, Ruf hit .317 with 38 HR's and 104 RBI's. Possible insurance for Howard.

10. C Wil Nieves

He is a career .242 hitter with only 8 HR's in 1,029 major league at bats. Nieves is expected to be the backup catcher for Philly in 2014, but a strong spring from Tommy Joseph could push him out of baseball.

11. IF Freddie Galvis

He is a career .246 hitter in the minors with 21 HR's, 185 RBI, and 71 SB's in 2,228 at bats. He has no upside, even if he was able to gain regular at bats. Will start the year as the utility infielder.

12. 3B Maikel Franco

He is the biggest threat to Cody Asche for playing time at 3B. He made a huge step forward in 2013 as he dominated 2 levels in the minors (.320 with 31 HR's and 103 RBI). Franco even played better at AA (.339 with 15 HR's and 51 RBI in 277 at bats). His K rate (12.0%) was a huge plus, but he doesn't take many walks (5.2%). Prior to last year, Maikel showed more power in batting practice than in games. He has no speed. With his high contact rate, he could move quickly to the majors if Asche stumbles. Nice bench gamble in an NL only league.

13. OF John Mayberry

He has hit double digit HR's in 3 straight seasons as a part time player. His batting average has declined over the last 2 years due to a high K rate (23.4%). Last year, he hit .240 against LH pitching with 5 HR's and 13 RBI's. He'll start the year as the 4th outfielder and provide RH power off the bench.


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