Welcome to the kickoff (or I guess I should say "first pitch") of my 2016 fantasy team previews. I will be breaking down 2016 prospects for the relevant fantasy players on all 30 teams, one team at a time. Check back throughout the offseason for new team previews. Because there are 30 teams to cover in limited time, I have to get started now, even though there will certainly be some trades that move players around and open up larger roles for existing players. Hopefully you can bear with me on those issues and remember that these were written before those trades occurred.
I am starting at the bottom of the standings and working my way up, so, to nobody's surprise, I'm starting with the Phillies. In each team preview, I will attempt to follow the same layout. First, there will be two tables of stats for hitters followed by quick analysis of the most fantasy relevant of those hitters (relevance at my discretion). After that, two tables for the pitching stats and some pitcher analysis. I will then present one breakout player (aka sleeper) and one breakdown player (or bust, if you prefer) for the team. Got it? Ok, let's get started.
|Andres Blanco||2B, 3B, SS*||261||7||32||25||1||1||8.0%||16.9%||0.292||0.360||0.502|
|Odubel Herrera||OF, SS*||537||8||64||41||16||8||5.2%||24.0%||0.297||0.344||0.418|
|Darin Ruf||1B, OF||297||12||30||39||1||0||7.1%||23.2%||0.235||0.300||0.414|
|Cesar Hernandez||OF*, 3B*, SS*, 2B||452||1||57||35||19||5||8.8%||19.0%||0.272||0.339||0.348|
|Cody Asche||3B, OF||456||12||41||39||1||2||5.7%||24.3%||0.245||0.294||0.395|
|Darnell Sweeney||OF, 2B||98||3||9||11||0||2||13.3%||27.6%||0.176||0.286||0.353|
|Name||BABIP||LD%||GB%||FB%||HR/FB||SwStr%||Soft%||Med%||Hard%||ESPN Player Rater**|
*Will lose this eligibility in 2016
**The ESPN player rater is based on a player's standard 5 x 5 category performance relative to average. A score of 0 is replacement level and negative values mean the player is actually hurting your team. Values in the 1-2 range generally are for your worst starting player, unless you are unlucky. There are no positional adjustments, though, so shortstops and catchers will often have very low scores relative to everyone else. It is normalized so that guys with little playing time can be compared to guys that played all year.
Well, starting at the bottom of the standings means you have to deal with some terrible teams. There is very little fantasy relevance on this roster. Ryan Howard still has some limited value as a corner infielder or in very deep leagues, but he can't hit lefties at all anymore, his OBP is bad, and the Phillies may not keep batting him cleanup. There is nothing particularly unusual about his numbers this year, looking at the advanced stats. He hit a lot of line drives and very few weakly hit balls, but still posted a below average BABIP and a 0.229 average. That's hard to do. It looks like the decline will continue again next year and perhaps get worse.
I'm not a Cody Asche fan, so he won't get any love here. Maikel Franco had a great debut season, but his high % of soft hits and high number of grounders tell me he might regress a little next year and lose some power. Despite that, he is still the best hitter on this team and the most ownable. He is not a top-10 third baseman yet, but is still very young and despite those warning signs of a step back next year, his power has some room to grow if he can start hitting more fly balls.
Watch out for Odubel Herrera. That BABIP isn't going to stay there next year and his value will plummet if his average is something like 0.250. Also, losing shortstop eligibility will kill almost all his value, anyway.
Despite good years, the 2016 Steamer projections don't like Cesar Hernandez, Andres Blanco, or Freddy Galvis. I tend to agree and see regression for all three. I like Darin Ruf as a platoon corner infielder in deep leagues, look at his % of hard hits. He hits the ball hard every time. If he could hit fewer grounders, I could see him with 20 homers.
There are two late season call-ups to monitor. First, there is J.P. Crawford, the best shortstop in the minors and a top five prospect. I expect he will be up by September at the latest, mid-summer at the earliest. I wouldn't expect too much from him in 2016 (there's only one Carlos Correa). Jorge Alfaro is another hitter that might debut, but catchers take a long time to develop, so I wouldn't count on it. He has lots of power and athleticism, but is still raw.
Finally, there is Aaron Altherr. More on him later.
|Justin De Fratus||RP||80||5.51||4.28||4.46||1.55||0.335||66.20%||44.00%||10.10%|
|Name||SV||HLD||K%||BB%||Soft%||Med%||Hard%||ESPN Player Rater*|
|Justin De Fratus||0||1||18.80%||8.80%||11.30%||59.50%||29.20%||#N/A|
*If they were outside the top 550 pitchers on the player rater, they will show up as #N/A
Just as with the hitters, there isn't much to work with here. I'm going to pull out the starters that I care about first. Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff. That's it. That's the list. Both of these guys are mixed league relevant and should be owned in all leagues. I see lots to like with both guys, although their skill sets are very different. Eickhoff doesn't produce groundballs, but has great swing-and-miss stuff. He has a very low WHIP, but gave up a high % of hard-hit balls. That is the biggest concern I have for him. If he continues to allow that many hard hits, his ERA could shoot up, despite his strikeout stuff. Especially since he is a flyball-heavy pitcher. Those hard hit fly balls can easily turn into extra base hits.
Aaron Nola produces a good number of grounders, but has average strikeout stuff. He didn't allow as many hard hits as Eickhoff. Both have good xFIP values of around 3.6. Both also allowed very low BABIPs so I expect them to give up more hits next year than this year and, especially in Eickhoff's case, more runs and a higher ERA.
The rest of the starters are not worth discussing here. Jake Thompson is a good pitching prospect that the Phils got from Texas this summer as part of the Cole Hamels trade. He likely won't debut this year, but it is possible. He isn't a top-20 prospect, but does have some potential. Jesse Biddle is a former top-50 prospect that fell on hard times last year and will likely debut in 2016, but he would be a risky choice for your team.
As for the bullpen, Ken Giles continued to be an excellent reliever, taking the closer job when Jonathon Papelbon left for Washington. He is a rock-steady closer option on a bad team, so he's likely among the 7-10 group of closers overall. Behind Giles is a mess of mediocre relievers. Dalier Hinojosa was the set-up man at the end of the season and Jeanmar Gomez handled the 7th, but neither posted xFIP values below 3.9. Luis Garcia led the team in holds, but walked too many guys to be consistent. He is my pick to be the second best reliever in this 'pen in 2016, though, since he has excellent strikeout and groundball stuff, and the lowest xFIP on the team after Giles.
This guy excelled in only 161 PAs this year. He showed power, speed, patience, and plate discipline. It was a very small sample size, but since K% and BB% stabilize in as few as 80 PAs, these are very good signs. He will only be 25 next season and shouldn't have too much competition in that outfield with the likes of Jeff Francoeur and Dom Brown still around. He has as much upside as any hitter on this team not named Franco. Double digit steals and homers is very likely here, with a good OBP to boot. Don't spend much, and you won't have to, but keep an eye out for this young Phillie next year.
Despite an excellent 2015 season, this former rule 5 pick is due for some regression. A 0.387 BABIP just can't stick around forever. His high groundball rate, propensity to get caught stealing, and low walk rate, will doom him to a return to being just another guy on the roster and nothing special. Avoid him in 2016.
Check back soon for the next team preview as we keep moving up the standings. Tschus!