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Fan’s Take: Top Five Philadelphia Phillies in Fantasy Baseball
Philadelphia remains the place to shop for your pitching needs, but fantasy owners looking to load up on offense may no longer be able to find it in Philly. Ryan Howard, who tore his Achilies' on the last play of the 2011 Division Series, will start the season on the disabled list and injury-prone Chase Utley's production has declined rapidly. If you want to take a chance on Howard or Utley, be my guest, but I'd draft these five Phillies before both of them. Do you agree or disagree?
5. Jonathan Papelbon (RP) — There will be no shortage of save opportunities in Philly. Thus, Papelbon could make a run at 40 saves (he averaged 36 per season in Boston). Papelbon reversed a couple of troubling trends last year—he checked in with an earned run average below three and WHIP under one, all while increasing his strikeouts. The situation in Boston was turning toxic for Papelbon. With a fresh start in Philadelphia, he's a top three closer, in my mind.
4. Hunter Pence (OF) — Pence is one of the game's most reliable and underrated all-around outfielders. A career .292 hitter, he jacked exactly 25 home runs in three straight season from 2008-10. Moreover, in 54 games with the Phillies last season, Pence batted .324 with 11 homers and 35 RBI. He'll do even more damage of the course of a full season in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank. Keep in mind, Pence could end up batting cleanup in the absence of Ryan Howard. Target him late in the third or early-fourth round.
3. Cole Hamels (SP) — Hamels once had reputation for being injury prone. Forget that! The crafty lefty has been one of the most reliable pitchers in baseball over the last four years. In that span, he has averaged 12 wins per season with a 3.29 ERA and WHIP of 1.13. Plus, he's registered at least 194 strikeouts in three of those four seasons. Sure, you'd like to see him win more games, but the rest of his numbers are ace-like. Don't hesitate to draft Hamels somewhere in the fourth round.
2. Cliff Lee (SP) — Cliff Lee may be the second-best pitcher on his own team, but he easily could be the No. 1 pitcher on your fantasy team. He ranked in the top two in the National League in ERA, WHIP and SOs. Lee is an innings-eating, strikeout machine who is a near lock to win 15 games. Arguably a top five pitcher in baseball, I would expect him to be selected no later than early in the third round. In terms of value, he may be the best pitcher on your draft board. He's a head-to-head monster, too.
1. Roy Halladay (SP) — Halladay will cost you a (late) first-round pick, but he's worth it. The two-time Cy Young award winner shows no signs of slowing down at age 35. Over the last four seasons, he has averaged 19 wins with a 2.59 ERA and 213 strikeouts. Moreover, he has led the league in complete games each of the last five seasons and strikeouts-to-walks ratio each of the last four. Personally, I prefer drafting offense with my first couple of picks, but selecting Halladay is like money in the bank.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, draft projections are based on participation in a 10-team fantasy baseball league with standard 5x5 scoring.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer who roots for the New York Mets (and any team that is playing the New York Yankees). A dedicated fantasy baseball player since 1998, his games of choice growing up were Strat-O-Matic and MicroLeague Baseball. Follow Adam on Twitter: @Pegcitysports
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