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2013 Fantasy outlooks: Philadelphia Phillies

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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You've heard of the proverb: "Slow and steady wins the race." Well, it's seems the Philadelphia Phillies are adapting the adage: "Old and steady wins the race."

2013 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

The core of the Phillies' roster might be filled with All Stars and future Hall of Famers, but there's no denying it's an aging group. By the start of the 2013 season, the entire starting infield, including catcher Carlos Ruiz, will average 34 years in age, and two of the team's top three starters -- Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee -- are 35 and 34, respectively. Let's not forget about closer Jonathan Papelbon, who turned 32 in November.

Yet, even though the nucleus of the Phillies' lineup might be able to start swapping notes about their AARP applications, no major-league team will be taking Philadelphia lightly. Even though the Phillies missed the playoffs and didn't win the division in 2012 for the first time in six seasons, they won 80-plus games for a 12th straight season and will push the Nationals and Braves for the NL East crown in 2013.

It was interesting the Phillies chose to replace 37-year-old third baseman Placido Polanco, who is now with the Marlins, with 36-year-old Michael Young, but the veteran Young gives Philadelphia versatility around the infield. He played first base, second base, third base and shortstop last season for Texas. Although he will primarily play the hot corner, at least manager Charlie Manuel has a reliable option in case he wants to spell shortstop Jimmy Rollins, second baseman Chase Utley or first baseman Ryan Howard.

The Phillies outfield has a new look in 2013. The team gave up one of its prized pitching prospects, Trevor May, to bring in Ben Revere from Minnesota to be the team's everyday center fielder. The Phillies hope former top prospect Domonic Brown starts to live up to what was once considered immense potential, but he isn't guaranteed to start. Both corner outfield spots are in flux. Brown, Delmon Young, John Mayberry, Darin Ruf and Laynce Nix will all compete for playing time. The rookie Ruf has great potential because of his bat, but the outfield is a relatively new position for him and could be a defensive liability, which is why Philadelphia added Young to the mix in late January. The Phillies hope Young will become a regular in their outfield, but he might miss the start of the season due to offseason ankle surgery.

2013 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Jimmy Rollins SS
2. Ben Revere CF
3. Chase Utley 2B
4. Ryan Howard 1B
5. Michael Young 3B
6. Delmon Young RF
7. Domonic Brown LF
8. Erik Kratz C
Bench John Mayberry 1B/OF
Bench Laynce Nix OF
Bench Carlos Ruiz C

The rotation also has a fresh face in former Nationals' starter John Lannan. Gone are the days of Joe Blanton occupying the fifth spot and bouncing between the mound and DL, but it's not like Lannan is a major upgrade. Lannan, who spent a majority of the 2012 season in the minors, is 42-52 with a 4.01 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 134 MLB starts.

Philadelphia is two years removed from winning a franchise-record 102 regular-season games. While this year's crop of talent might not rival the 2011 squad, the Phillies will still be a formidable opponent and full of Fantasy viable players.

Bust ... Roy Halladay, starting pitcher

Fantasy owners shouldn't get the wrong idea here. We aren't saying avoid drafting Halladay. We are saying don't reach for the veteran hurler. Halladay battled shoulder problems last season and saw a drop in velocity, which were the reasons for his down year. The offseason reports have been positive, but it's not like if they were negative the Phillies would let us know, so don't buy into optimism without hard evidence. The fact, however, is that Halladay struggled in the second half last season, posting a 4.93 ERA in his final 14 starts. Fantasy owners shouldn't draft Halladay as their ace, which would be risky no matter how much you are convinced of a bounce-back season.

Impact Prospect ... Darin Ruf, outfield

The 2009 20th-round pick really didn't start to appear on the prospect scene until he slugged .506 at Class A in 2011. Now everyone seems to be getting amped about his outlook after he bashed 38 homers at Double-A last season and thrived in a brief late season stint with the Phillies. After totaling six extra-base hits (three homers) and slugging .727 in 12 games with Philadelphia, Ruf then added 10 more homers and a .575 slugging percentage in 32 winter ball games. Ruf is a bit old for a rookie (26 years old), but he has major power potential. It's just that his natural position is first base, so unless he quickly adapts to playing left field, then the Phillies could have trouble getting Ruf regular at-bats.

Buyer Beware ... Ben Revere, outfield

2013 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. Roy Halladay RHP
2. Cliff Lee LHP
3. Cole Hamels LHP
4. Kyle Kendrick RHP
5. John Lannan LHP
ALT Tyler Cloyd RHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Jonathan Papelbon RHP
2. Mike Adams RHP
3. Antonio Bastardo LHP
4. Michael Stutes RHP
5. Jeremy Horst LHP

Owners are probably overvaluing Revere's trade to Philadelphia. Revere probably deserves a slight upgrade because the Phillies have been a better team than the Twins the last few years, and he will likely be hitting in front of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Michael Young. But remember, those are aging bats getting past their prime. Don't forget Revere has no power and his RBI production is lacking. Sure, he might provide average, on-base percentage and stolen bases, but Rotisserie owners need to keep in mind he actually finished higher among outfielders in Head-to-Head than Rotisserie formats last season. We're not convinced the move to Philadelphia dramatically increases Revere's Fantasy value.

Prospects Report

It wasn't long ago the Phillies' farm system was flush with elite pitching prospects. In fact, Trevor May, Jesse Biddle, Brody Colvin and Jarred Cosart were nicknamed the Baby Aces and considered the future of the Phillies' rotation. Well, fast forward a few years and it's a different picture for the Phillies. Cosart and May have been traded, Colvin has self-destructed in the minors and Biddle might be the only player left to one day join the Phillies' rotation. Still, Biddle hasn't pitched above Class A, so don't expect him to make a Fantasy impact anytime soon. A few names seasonal league Fantasy owners might stash away are Tyler Cloyd, Jonathan Pettibone and former Dodgers' first-round pick Ethan Martin. All three players are on the 40-man roster and could be candidates to join the rotation in the event of an injury ... Catcher Carlos Ruiz, who will miss the start of the season due to a suspension, is under contract through this season. Therefore, keep tabs on catcher prospect Tommy Joseph, who was acquired in the Hunter Pence trade with San Francisco last summer. Joseph, who will likely spend most of 2013 at Triple-A, could be ticketed for major-league duty in 2014. He has good power for a catcher ... Michael Young might only be making a one-year pit stop in Philadelphia since the Phillies have some burgeoning talent at third base brewing in the minors. Cody Asche and Maikel Franco rank among the Phillies' top prospects and one of them might be ready to join the major-league roster in 2014. Franco might have the most power potential of the duo, but Asche is further along and is a more polished hitter.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Michael Hurcomb at @cbshurc . You can also send us an e- mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
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by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:56 pm ET) Angels outfielder Mike Trout said Thursday that he plans to be more aggressive early in the count this spring, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Gonna be locked and loaded on the first pitch," Trout said.

Trout made contact on the first pitch 24 times last season, hitting six singles and a double and posting a .292/.286/.333 line. He hit .287/.377/.561 in 602 at-bats overall in 2014.


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Appel made it clear that every inning counts this spring. "It's two innings in spring training, so I'm going to need innings if I want to show why I deserve to be here and hopefully have a shot at being in Houston at some point this season," he said. 


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(5:54 pm ET) Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco threw two innings in a "B" game against the Reds on Thursday morning. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway was pleased with what he saw from the right-handed pitcher.

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(5:47 pm ET) Phillies pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez didn't make a strong impression Thursday against the Astros in his first attempt to win a spot in the team's rotation. However, manager Ryne Sandberg wasn't just focused on the results of Gonzalez's spring debut.

“The best stuff I’ve seen since he’s come over here [from Cuba],” Sandberg said, per The Journal News. “It looks like he’s healthy. Looks like he has some zip on his fastball. That can get better as he goes here. Compared to last year, night and day.”

The right-hander allowed two runs on four hits in two relief innings. He entered the game after Cliff Lee threw two scoreless innings. Gonzalez struck out one and gave up a home run.

“It doesn’t matter about the line,” Gonzalez said through a translator. “My plan that I had all along was to show my work ethic today. I don’t look at the numbers.”


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(5:43 pm ET) The Major League Baseball Players Association issued a statement about leaked information regarding Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, MLB.com reports.

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The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that an arbitrator would be needed to break the league's split on whether Hamilton should enter a rehab program for substance abuse. It was reported early Thursday that the decision on whether the league will suspend the outfielder could come as early as next week.


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(5:43 pm ET) Giants outfielder Hunter Pence left Thursday's game after being hit in the hand with a pitch, according to CSN.

Pence walked down to first base, but a team trainer took him out of the game. The team will send Pence for X-rays on his hand. It's unclear how much time he'll miss, if any, due to the issue.

The 31-year-old hit .277/.332/.445 over 650 at-bats last season. 


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(5:35 pm ET) Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Thursday that pitcher Elvis Araujo has impressed in his two outings this spring, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

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Araujo made his spring debut in Sunday's exhibition loss to the University of Tampa, striking out the side in his one inning of action. He went 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA and 50:28 K:BB ratio in 50 innings with high Class A Carolina and Double-A Akron.


Padres' James Shields to make spring debut on Saturday
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(5:33 pm ET) Padres pitcher James Shields will make his spring debut on Saturday, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune

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The 33-year-old posted a 3.21 ERA over 227 innings last season. 


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(5:30 pm ET) Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Thursday third baseman Chris Johnson would move over to first base during the regular season on the days he wants to rest first baseman Freddie Freeman, particularly against a tough left-handed pitcher.

“Chris Johnson will be that guy, and you’re going to see him play some first base in spring training,” Gonzalez said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He took some ground balls there the last couple of years, and ended up moving over there in that one game (last season) where Freddie got thrown out. I’m not going to carry a guy (just to) be a backup (to Freeman).

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