Number 4 in our series of 30 Starting Pitching Projections articles covers the Phillies. You will find two great options to take early in your drafts to start the process of building a rotation for your fantasy teams. What about the other options? Read on to discover what I believe.
Starting Pitching Rotation Analysis
Potential Rotation Alternatives
ADP designated by * indicates no reported ADP as of date of publication. Projections are based on a compilation of several sources (ZiPS, Oliver, Steamer, RotoChamp), given equal weight.
If I am in the fourth round of my draft and I see Cliff Lee sitting there, I am going to jump on him as my SP1 without hesitation. Yes, he is now 32, and losing speed on his fastball, but he had a nice bounce back in the win column (14) last season after racking up just 6 in 2012 for a not extremely exciting Phillies team. His non-counting stats will be top notch, and if he can meet the projection in strikeouts, you should have no complaints about this residing on your roster.
Cole Hamels is suffering from arm fatigue this spring, and pitching in April is not assured at this point. Last season, Hamels was the hard luck recipient of just 8 wins, although he pitched much better than that, with a K/BB ratio of better than 4.0, and a 3.60 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Once he can take his regular turn in the rotation, he will be extremely valuable as a SP2 or very late SP1.
Although there was talk of retirement, A. J. Burnett decided to accept the Phillies' offer to become an important part of their rotation. The 37 year old veteran showed no signs of decay last season, tossing nearly 200 innings despite losing nearly a month to a calf injury. He is an elite strikeout artist, putting up better than a strikeout per inning last season, to go with a 3.30 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, fine numbers for a third option in the Philadelphia rotation. With an ADP putting him toward the end of standard drafts, you can wait to snap him up, just don't wait too long.
Both Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez have little if any fantasy relevance. Adding a pitcher that will destroy your ERA and WHIP, without providing any significant strikeouts is a recipe for disaster, and you can find better options elsewhere.
Pettibone was shut down due to shoulder soreness, and unless he gets some significant work in during spring training, you can let him languish on the wire for the early part of the season. It could be that either Kendrick or Hernandez will pitch their way out of the rotation, and in that event, Pettibone gets the nod, especially with the struggles that Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has experienced early on. Expect Gonzalez to begin the season in the minors, working on his velocity. Not that it is a huge surprise that the Cuban is not MLB ready, as he missed all of 2012 and 2013 in his homeland dealing with suspensions related to defection attempts and bone spur surgery on his elbow. The Phillies had hoped his Instructional League work this winter would get him ready for the season, but he is not yet ready to take the mound for Philadelphia.
If you disagree with my assessments, or just want to discuss starting pitching, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I enjoy comments and am more than willing to engage in discussion about fantasy baseball, so feel free to write.