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

If you need help preparing for your fantasy baseball draft, you have come to the right place.

1. SP Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee fantasy baseball

Lee is a strike throwing machine. He has led the league in lowest walks per 9 innings four times during his career, including the last 2 years. His K rate (9.0) has been at the top of his resume during his 3 seasons with Philly. He pitches well against both RH (.239) and LH (.210) batters. Last year, he struggled in July (6.05 ERA) due to a slight neck issue. Lee allowed 2 runs or less in 19 of his 31 starts. However, his AFB (90.7) was his lowest since 2008. His #2 pitch is a cutter, followed by a plus changeup and a show me curveball. Batters only hit .210 against his 2 seam fastball, while they had the most success against his cutter (.263). Cliff has pitched over 200 innings in his last 6 seasons. He has upside in ERA, WHIP, and K's. With a healthy Philly lineup, his win total should push its' way over 15. Lee is a very good 2nd tier fantasy ace.

2. SP Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels fantasy baseball

Cole was ripped up for 13 runs and 21 base runners over 10.7 innings in his first 2 starts of the year. He uncharacteristically struggled with his command over his first 8 starts of the year (19 walks in 51.7 innings - 3.3 walk rate). He started to put it together on May 20th when he struck out 10 batters in 6 innings with no walks. After a disaster start on May 31st (6 runs and 12 base runners in 5 innings), Hamels was a much better pitcher (2.96 ERA and 1.083 WHIP with 136 K's in 144 innings). He went 1-9 over the first two months of the year with a 4.86 ERA. His final starts were almost in line with his career resume, with the exception of about 6 too many runs allowed. His command (2.0) finished in an elite area, while his K rate (8.3) was a step back from last season. He pitched better against RH batters (.243). His AFB (91.6) was stronger than his 2012 season, and his changeup continues to be one of the best in the game (followed by a solid cutter and show me curveball). Last year, he really struggled with the command of his fastball. Batters hit .304 against his four seam fastball (.266 in 2012) and .348 against his sinker (.241 in 2012). Overall, Hamels is an elite major league arm. His skill set is a step below the top arms in the game and he tends to struggle winning games (99 wins in 245 major league starts {40.4% win rate}). He has pitched over 200 innings in 5 of his last 6 seasons. Sub 3.00 ERA upside with 200 K ability.?Update: Hamels came into spring training with a sore shoulder. He is expected to be brought along slowly and there is a chance he could miss a couple of starts in the regular season. Last year, he had a problem with his shoulder over the winter, which led to a slow start. A fantasy player has to proceed with caution with Cole and his spring training news and success will be the key to his value. I would only buy him at a discount if he has no other negative news in March.

3. SP A.J. Burnett

A.J. Burnett fantasy baseball

Burnett has pitched the best ball of his career over the last 2 seasons with the Pirates, tying a career low in ERA (3.30) and set a career in K's (9.8) in 2013. While his walk rate (3.2) was a step back from 2012 (2.8), it has been high during his entire career (3.5). His success has been due to throwing the most strikes of his career (65%). A.J. was electric against RH batters (.203 with 120 K's in 375 at bats), however, his step back in command was due to his lack of success against lefties (.263 with 45 of his 67 walks). In addition, he allowed 2 runs or less in 19 of his 30 starts. Burnett did miss about a month of the season with a calf injury in June. He has had an elite GB rate (56.5%) over the last 2 years, but his AFB (92.5) was near his career low (it has been about the same over the last 3 years). He threw a high % of curveballs (35.4% - career high) as his #2 pitch, followed by a show me changeup. Batters only hit .150 vs. his curveball in 1083 pitches, .283 vs. his sinker, .322 vs. his four seam fastball, and .333 vs. his changeup. A.J. probably cost himself some money over the winter as he was contemplating retirement, which seems strange considering how much money major league baseball has been throwing around and his success last year. Burnett has a nice arm, but he only has one tough pitch to hit (curveball). If he isn't throwing strikes, his best pitch has a lot less value. He signed a 1-year, $16 million contract in February with the Phillies. His stats from the last 2 years will keep his price point high, but I see some regression.

4. SP Miguel A. Gonzalez

Miguel A. Gonzalez fantasy baseball

It's tough finding Cuba stats. The Phillies signed him to a 3-year, $12 million contract last August. Gonzalez hasn't pitched at a high competitive level in his last 2 years due to a suspension and problems with bone spurs in his right elbow. His walk rate (2.4) was solid during his career in Cuba and his K rate (9.2) had some upside. Gonzalez has a fastball that sits in the low 90's, but it can reach the mid 90's. He also throw a slow curveball, cutter, and a split-finger fastball. He doesn't locate the ball well in the strike zone and his stuff doesn't look overpowering. His low contract suggests his stuff wasn't as electric as anticipated. A possible flyer, but his value for the whole season will be tricky, especially when you consider his bulky elbow and minimum innings over the last 2 seasons. We'll have a better feel for him when we see him in live action during spring training.

5. SP Kyle Kendrick

Kyle Kendrick fantasy baseball

Kendrick is a soft tossing righty (AFB - 89.8) that held his own over his first 16 starts of the year (3.46 ERA in 108.2 innings). Over his last 14 starts of the year, he allowed 4 runs or more 9 times. Kyle had a 6.54 ERA over his last 75.3 innings with 127 base runners allowed (1.69 WHIP). RH batters hit .318 against him with a .453 SLG %. His command (2.3) was a career best, but his K rate (5.4) is a huge negative. In 2012, his strikeout rate (6.6) helped him have more success. His GB rate (49.4%) has increased in each of the last 3 years. Over the last 3 months of the year, it appeared he lost some velocity and life on his curveball and split-finger fastball. Batters hit .259 or above against every pitch he threw. His lack of success was a result of a bum shoulder, which ended his season in September. He had rotator cuff tendonitis and a possible tear, but didn't have surgery. Philly saw enough in his recovery to give him a 1-year, $7.675 million contract in January. Kendrick is a low upside pitcher with a low K rate. I hate pitchers with underlying shoulder issues. He has no value to me in 2014, other than a possible double starter if he pitches well early in the year.

6. SP Roberto Hernandez

Roberto Hernandez fantasy baseball

Roberto Hernandez is half the pitcher that Fausto Carmona was. Last year, he didn't have a great season, but there were some underlying flashes of possible upside. Hernandez is a GB pitcher (53.2%), but struggled with HR's last year (20.9% HR/FB rate). His AFB (91.5) is much less than his best season with the Indians. Last year, he threw 30% changeups, plus a solid slider. His command (2.3) was a career best with the highest K rate (6.7) of his career as well. LH batters absolutely crushed hum (.305 with 17 HR's allowed in 315 at bats - .537 SLG %). Roberto had a decent run over 7 starts from late June to early August where he allowed 3 runs or less in every game, but he was out of the rotation after two bad starts in mid August. His resume isn't pretty (4.67 ERA), but the move to the NL may help him. He is a sinker/changeup pitcher with improving command, but HR's have been his Achilles heel, even with a short FB rate (24.4%).

7. SP Chad Gaudin

Chad Gaudin fantasy baseball

Gaudin doesn't have a great major league resume (45-44 with a 4.44 ERA). Last year, the Giants gave him a chance to start in June. He allowed 2 runs or less in 9 of his 12 starts, which led to a 3.53 ERA as a starter. Chad allowed 8 of his 26 runs as a starter in his last start of the year in August, which was a result of a wrist injury (carpal tunnel syndrome). The injury ended his season. Gaudin was very good against righties (.193), but he struggled with his command vs. lefties (26:27 BB:SO ratio). Overall, his command (3.7) is still a negative. His K rate (8.2) was above his career average (7.2), while his AFB (90.8) was in line with his career average. His #2 pitch is a slider, followed by a weak changeup. Low upside pitcher with command issues and he struggles with lefties. Possible starting option, but his skill set works best in the bullpen.

8. SP Jonathan Pettibone

Jonathan Pettibone fantasy baseball

Pettibone struggled in his 18 starts in the majors. His command (3.4) was below his minor league resume (2.6) and he had a short K rate (5.9). His AFB (90.8) is just average, and he threw a high % of changeups and cutters (plus a show me slider). Jonathan is a GB pitcher (49.3%). He allowed 2 runs or less in 8 of his 18 starts, but he really only had one disaster start. His season ended in August when he developed a sore shoulder. Pettibone struggled with LH batters (.306) and had poor command. He had a career 3.45 ERA in the minors with 362 K's in 510.7 innings. He is expected to be healthy heading into spring training. He is a low upside pitcher with a weak K rate, but may be the best option to be the 5th starter in 2014.

9. CL Jonathan Papelbon

Jonathan Papelbon fantasy baseball

Papelbon has 286 career saves over the last 8 seasons (36 per year). He has only had one bad season during his career, but he has never posted plus saves in any season. His command (1.6) has been elite in 2 of the last 3 seasons, but his K rate (8.3) made a spike downward. Last year, he only converted 29 of 36 chances. Jonathan didn't dominate RH (.252) or LH (.241) batters, and pitched poorly in September (5.40 ERA and 1.80 WHIP). Papelbon no longer has an elite fastball (92.0 - career low). His 2nd best pitch is a split-finger fastball, followed an improving slider. Last year, batters hit .306 against his split-finger fastball. Philly would love to dump him, but he makes too much money. He is a proven closer with a long resume that has upside in K's if he was ever able to pitch plus innings. His skill set is declining, but he still has enough talent to get the job done. He's more steady than good and may be an overlooked arm that has a plus year in saves.

10. RP Mike Adams

Mike Adams fantasy baseball

Adams had a tough season in 2013. He had shoulder surgery in July to repair 2 tears in his right labrum and another in his rotator cuff. Mike has been throwing in the offseason with the hopes of being ready for the start of the season. His lack of health led to a spike in his walk rate (4.0) and his HR/9 rate (1.8). His AFB (89.8) has lost almost 3 MPH over the last 2 seasons. His cutter is his #1 pitch, followed by a changeup and curveball. Adams had been a very good reliever from 2008 to 2011. He only has 4 career saves with a 2.39 ERA. Overall, he has no value in any format until he proves he is 100% healthy.

11. RP Antonio Bastardo

Antonio Bastardo fantasy baseball

When I look at Bastardo's stats from last season, the thing that sticks out the most for me is his huge jump in first pitch strikes (68% - 10% gain in one season). Even more surprising was the fact that his walk rate (4.4) didn't improve. Someone that throws plus first strikes should have plus success in the majors with an elite walk rate. In addition, his K rate (9.9) was the lowest of his career. Antonio was suspended for 50 games for being connected to the Biogenesis clinic, and had an injection in his left knee late in the season. His AFB (91.7) was a career low. Bastardo throws a plus slider as his 2nd best pitch and a low grade changeup. He is a FB pitcher (50.5%). Overall, his lack of command will keep him out of the 9th inning.


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