We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Phillies Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Elizabeth Roscher from The Good Phight.
1) It was a rough year for the Phillies in 2012 both in real and in fantasy baseball. One of the biggest letdowns on the year in both terms had to be Roy Halladay, whose 2012 season was probably the worst one he’s had since 2004. Of course an injured shoulder can do that to anyone, even Roy, but given his age (36) and the wear and tear of his career (8 seasons with 220 IP or more), how leery should we be of drafting the Doc and what are your expectations for him in 2013?
Watching Halladay in 2012 was a painful, painful experience. I constantly asked myself (and others) “Is this the end of the Roy Halladay the world has known? Is this the new Roy? Has age caught up to him?” Recently, Doc has admitted that he injured his back early last year and it affected his velocity for the entire season. He’s also changed his training regimen and admitted that he’s mortal and subject to wear and tear and aging and injuries just like the rest of us. I see all of these things as positive developments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m wary of Halladay. He’s 36 and his return to form is far from a sure thing. It all depends on his velocity, so I’m waiting until spring training gets started before I start my Roy Halladay soothsaying. If his velocity is where it used to be, in the low 90s, then I think there’s a good chance of him being effective in 2013. If his velocity is in the upper 80s like it was for much of 2012, then we have a problem. But if there’s any one player I’d bet on bouncing back, it would be Roy Halladay.
2) Speaking of bad 2012’s, I dare say Ryan Howard topped the Doc in that department. After having a 2011 achilles injury follow him into 2012, he found himself ahead of schedule to return only to be felled by an infection of the same achilles. When he finally reached the field, he put up some of the worst walk and strikeout rates of his career, finishing his year with a .219 average and – of all things – a broken toe from dropping the lead pipe he swings during batting warmup. Seriously, how snake-bitten can one man be for a given season? But I digress, with all of this, Howard will be turning 34 at the end of the year and people are saying he’s washed up in the fantasy world. So what’s your take: is Howard a fantasy sleeper or should we just leave the big man alone on draft day in 2013?
I don’t know about fantasy sleeper, but you could certainly do worse at first base than Ryan Howard. His 2012 was unbelievably awful. Just really, really bad. But it seems like the result of a freak series of events. Howard is healthy coming into spring training this year, and a healthy Howard makes a difference. I’d put him decidedly in the middle of the first base pack, so I definitely don’t think he’s washed up in fantasy. How can he be washed up when there are players like Michael Young (oof), Yonder Alonso, and Mark Reynolds eligible for first base? If you miss out on one of the top first basemen, you could absolutely do worse than Ryan Howard.
3) The Phillies signed Delmon Young to a low-risk, high reward one year deal for $750K. Delmon has had all the talent in the world but has had off-field issues and a perception that he’s lazy. With all that said, how excited are you to have Young in LF and what can fantasy players expect from him in 2013?
I am not excited about Delmon Young in any way and would advise anyone who doesn’t want to lose their league to stay away from him on draft day. There are just so many problems with Delmon Young I don’t know where to start. His weight is such an issue that the Phillies put a weight incentive into his contract. He’s also injured right now, and will probably start the season on the DL. Then there’s the whole “he hasn’t played right field since he was 21” thing, which is also not good. And his off-field issues involved an anti-Semitic hate crime. But beyond all of that, he’s just not all that great a player. He’s nothing to get excited about. It’s thought of as a low-risk, high reward move, but there’s also the hidden third option: making the Phillies look like jackasses.
4) Ben Revere can fly. It’s here where many would refer back to his great, great, great Uncle (<—not true) Paul Revere and how he could fly on his horse but I’m not going to do that. I’m here for facts and the fact I wanna know is this: if I’m drafting Revere, can I reasonably expect at least 90 runs and 40 steals from Ben in 2013?
Yes to 40 steals. The Phillies are a smart base stealing team, and I think that will only improve Revere’s abilities. As far as 90 runs? I’m not sure. While it partially depends on Revere’s ability to get on base, it also depends on his teammates’ ability to actually hit balls and move him over without getting themselves out. That’s what’s really in question – the quality of the team behind him, and is that team better or worse than the 2012 Minnesota Twins. And that is what we don’t yet know. (And also don’t really want to speculate about, since I’m not sure I’ll like the answer.)
5) It’s the middle of Summer and the Phils are in the race for the NL East pennant. What’s the biggest headline driving this comeback season for the 2013 Phils?
A) Chase Utley is healthy and on pace for 20+ HRs, 15+ SBs and hitting .280
B) It is found that Philly Cheese Steaks are a performance enhancing food, or PEF if you will, and becomes the staple diet of the entire Phillies lineup (it will eventually be banned in 2020 after Doc wins his 7th straight Cy Young in his early 40s)
C) Cliff Lee gets a little bit luckier with his win/loss record and is on pace for a 20 win season
D) Carlos Ruiz comes back after his 25 game suspension completely focused…ok, ‘focused’ isn’t the best word to use. Ruiz’ unique catching style simply called ‘oooh, look a squirrel’ confuses/frightens hitters in the batters box and all 5 Philly starters have a K/9 of 10+ in his starts…or should I say, the games he remembers he’s the starter.
E) Domonic Brown is having an unspectacular but effective year and is on pace for 15 homeruns and steals while batting .275
The answer is absolutely A. While Chase Utley’s performance isn’t what will determine whether or not the Phillies can compete, it’s certainly a factor. The lineup has sorely missed his contributions, and having him back at full strength could make a big difference in how the offense looks. (Good instead of bad!) I have also missed him, and having him back will make the games more enjoyable to watch, win or lose.