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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
Phillies officially deal Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman to Rangers
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:12 pm ET) The Phillies and Rangers finally completed their blockbuster trade Friday.

The Rangers will receive starting pitcher Cole Hamels, reliever Jake Diekman and cash considerations in exchange for starting pitcher Matt Harrison, outfield prospect Nick Williams, catcher prospect Jorge Alfaro, starting pitcher prospect Jake Thompson, starting pitcher prospect Alec Asher and starting pitcher prospect Jerad Eickhoff.

The 31-year-old Hamels, who will make his Texas debut Saturday against the Giants, has compiled a 114-90 record, 3.30 ERA and 1.15 WHIP over 10 seasons in the majors -- all with the Phillies. The three-time All-Star is under contract through 2018 on a seven-year, $159 million deal. He also has a $20 million option ($6 million buyout) for 2019.

The 28-year-old Diekman is in his fourth MLB season. He has compiled a 9-11 record, 3.84 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 191 career relief appearances for Philadelphia. He is striking out 11.7 batters per nine innings.


Brewers dispatch RP Jonathan Broxton to Cardinals
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:02 pm ET) Veteran reliever Jonathan Broxton has been traded from the Brewers to the Cardinals, CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman has confirmed. The Brewers are receiving minor-league outfielder Malik Collymore in the deal.

The 31-year-old Broxton has been pitching well lately with seven consecutive scoreless appearances. But his ERA on the season is 5.89. He has allowed 41 hits in 36 2/3 innings.


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(11:17 am ET) Giants veteran right-hander Tim Hudson has been booted from the rotation in the wake of the trade that brought Mike Leake over from Cincinnati, per the San Jose Mercury News. That word came down from general manager Bobby Evans, who informed Hudson of the decision.

The 40-year-old Hudson, who is coming off a strong start in a defeat of Oakland, is 6-8 with a 4.80 ERA that would be the second-worst of his career if maintained.


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by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:00 am ET) Slumping Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett is downplaying his struggles, which reached a new low in a miserable outing Thursday against Cincinnati.

"I don't think it's a rough patch, man," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Just had a bad day, that's all."

Burnett allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings in taking his second straight loss. That was the worst of three outings in which he has given up 18 runs on a whopping 32 hits in 16 innings pitched.

He had not surrendered more than four runs in any start in the first half of the season. He has yielded at least five in every start since the All-Star break. His ERA has risen from 2.11 to 3.06 since then.


Brewers send LF Gerardo Parra to Orioles for SP Zach Davies
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:47 am ET) The Brewers have traded left fielder Gerardo Parra to the Orioles for highly touted pitching prospect Zach Davies, per CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. Only successful physicals are holding up its completion.

It was thought at one time that Baltimore would need to give up more to land Parra, who is on a 13-game hitting streak and has sweetened his slash line on the year to .326/.369/.517.

Davies has progressed through the system every year. He is enjoying arguably his finest season at Triple-A Norfolk with a 2.84 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 101 1/3 innings.


Manager assures Indians SP Carlos Carrasco he won't be dealt
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(10:27 am ET) Terry Francona has assured Indians starter Carlos Carrasco that he will not be traded.

Carrasco, who hurled a complete-game victory Thursday night in Oakland, had been rumored to be headed to Toronto, but reports have claimed that deal fell through and that the Blue Jays have given up their pursuit.

"[Francona] told me, "We're not going to trade you,'" Carrasco told MLB.com. "That's what he told me. ... I don't care what I hear about whether they're going to trade me. I'm still here and I'm still working. That's what I need to do."

Carrasco has arguably been the team's second-best starter behind Corey Kluber, but he's been inconsistent. He is 11-8 with a 4.03 ERA.


Report: Braves almost certainly won't trade C A.J. Pierzynski
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(10:16 am ET) Surprising catcher A.J. Pierzynski will be sticking around unless the Braves are overwhelmed with an offer, according to USA Today, which is claiming that he has become too valuable to the organization on and off the field. He had previously been rumored to be on the trading block.

Pierzynski seemed to be winding down his career as a backup upon his arrival in Atlanta, but he quickly wrested the starting job away from Christian Bethancourt and has been performing well ever since. He has even batted cleanup on occasion.

He has compiled a slash line of .287/.325/.425 on the year and is currently on a six-game hitting streak.

 


Arodys Vizcaino to serve as Braves closer following Jim Johnson trade
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:29 am ET) After the trade of Jim Johnson to the Dodgers, Arodys Vizcaino will serve as the Braves closer, according to MLB.com.

The 24-year-old right-hander has not recorded a save in his MLB career. He is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 10 appearances (nine innings) in 2015. He has eight strikeouts and four walks.

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Rockies' Nick Hundley hits game-tying home run in loss Thursday
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Hundley has been swinging the bat well over the past two weeks or so. In his last 14 games, the backstop is hitting .358 with two home runs and nine RBI. 


Pirates outright OF Gorkys Hernandez to Triple-A
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