Most Own Player: Maikel Franco
Potential Fantasy Bust: Aaron Nola
Prospect to Watch: J.P. Crawford
The Phillies are still in the midst of a total rebuild making next season look as another transitional year in their pursuit to get back on top of the N.L. East. While they will surely not be trotting out the likes of a prime fantasy performers of the past such as Roy Halladay, or Ryan Howard, they still do have some intriguing fantasy pieces.
Long gone are the glory days where the Phillies would be absolutely chock full of premium fantasy options in both the rotation and lineup. But, that does not mean that they cannot be looked at as a team that could offer nice buy low and sleeper candidates in 2016.
The one fantasy asset they do have that will require a mid-round selection next season, will be third basemen Maikel Franco. Franco had a solid 2015 season where he flashed both his power and ability to post a decent average. An injury slowed his progress, but with a clean bill of health heading into 2016, he will be a popular breakout pick this spring.
Looking at the rest of the Phillies infield, it is not pretty fantasy wise. Howard has been a fantasy mainstay for years, but severe injuries have sapped him of the prestigious power we saw from him in his prime. He no longer needs to be drafted, and it even looks as though he may be in a platoon role next season.
Freddy Galvis is more of a slap hitting shortstop who should be well of drafters radar because he does not offer much help offensively in any category. Cesar Hernandez is an intriguing player, as he wound up stealing 19 bases last season after taking over the starting job at second base. His speed is all he offers, so owners should look at him as more of a waiver wire pickup when in need of steals during the season.
Moving to the outfield, unfortunately things do not get better. Peter Bourjos looks to man center field and has been a perennial disappointment. Aaron Altherr is another young player that showed flashes last season that he could stick at the big league level, but it remains to be seen if he can hit enough to fully take advantage of his speed and power skill set.
One of the best storylines for the Phillies last season, was the emergence of Rule-5 pick, Odubel Herrera. Usually the expectations from Rule-5 players are not too high, but Herrera displayed a dynamic skillet and looks to become a full-time starter for the squad. He could be a great late round selection this spring with the potential to even become a, 15 HR/20 SB threat, if he can continue to develop.
The Phillies biggest offseason move was shipping stud reliever Ken Giles to the Astros for a bevy of starting pitchers. Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff were great last season in their debuts, and both should be fantasy selections this spring. Nola is listed above as a potential bust, but that is more of an indication that I do not believe that he will be a fantasy ace next season, but he should be solid regardless and a pitcher to target in the mid rounds.
While the rest of the rotation remains to appear pretty open, pay close attention in spring training to see if Vincent Velasquez can snag a rotation spot. He has a solid upside and showed last season with Houston that he is close to fully breaking out.
The Phillies are more than likely going to struggle the entire season, so picking the starting closer on a bad team is not exactly, exciting. While they have plenty of backend arms that could step in and theoretically be the closer, it looks as though David Hernandez has the inside track on the job. Hernandez has an electric arm, but has battled injuries the last few seasons. Monitor him this spring to see how he looks and if he can secure the job, because at the end of the day Saves count the no matter who they come from.
The one prospect to watch, is young and upcoming shortstop J.P. Crawford. As previously stated, Galvis is not going to blow anyone away and is more of a utility player than starter. Crawford may be delayed getting to the big leagues as the Phillies delay his free agency clock and as he recovers from a thumb injury, but he has shown in the minors that he ready to make his debut. His talent will be hard to ignore in 2016, so fantasy owners monitor him to see if he gets the call up.
The Philly faithful will have to wait another long season as the team continues to amass young talent to get back into playoff contention. The future is not too bleak though, as they have promising young arms and bats knocking at the door to the big leagues.
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