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Sunday, February 17, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING REPORT: PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

By Michael Wong

Clearwater, Fla.--As of this writing, the Philadelphia Phillies have still not officially signed either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado despite the former at least rumored to be nearing a deal.  Even without those two though, the Phillies did some nice things over the winter such as trading for shortstop Jean Segura and signing outfielder Andrew McCutchen and prospective closer David Robertson.  Given the offensive leanings of their ballpark, the Phillies present a bunch of fantasy baseball-friendly options for their potential new owners this spring.

1.  The hype machine went into overdrive last spring when it came to Phillies 1B/outfielder Rhys Hoskins as he came off a ridiculously potent half-season debut the year prior as visions of an easy 40 home runs danced in the heads of many when drafts got underway last March.  Alas, Hoskins had a bit of a slow start to the year and overall let some of his owners down despite 34home runs and 96 RBI.  The .246 average in particular was ugly for Hoskins as his fly ball rate was a very high 51.5 percent.  On the flip side though, Hoskins' 13.2 BB/9 rate was terrific and his 22.7 K/9 was not awful by any means for a pure slugger.  While the draft price remains high here, Hoskins can very easily go past the 40 homer mark this season with an average that improves to .260 or better as his unlucky .272 BABIP figures to move back somewhat towards the mean.

2.  Underrated on a yearly basis, shortstop Segura is primed for another very good season in moving from spacious Safeco Field to the much more potent launching pad in Philadelphia.  Turning just 29 in March, Segura continues to help in all five standard ROTO categories as he did in 2018.  The 10 home runs Segura hit last season should improve in his new digs and the fact he swiped 20 bags a year ago show the speed is still very much a factor.  Also having hit .300 or better each of the last three seasons, Segura's boring veteran label makes him a terrific buy after Round 2.

3.  The arrival of the veteran Robertson to the back of the Phillies' pen should have him in the closing conversation with hard-throwing youngster Seranthony Dominguez.  Be that as it may, manager Gabe Kapler seems to relish not having an official closer and so both guys could see time finishing games.  Robertson does have the vast experience edge over Dominguez though and so you need to go with the former Yankee if you have just one spot to use. 

4.  Another boring veteran who is still quite productive is McCutchen who is now going to his fourth team in one season-plus.  While the steals could vanish for good as soon as this season, McCutchen is money in the bank in terms of 20-plus home runs and 80-plus numbers in RBI and runs scored.  Given the durability here as well, McCutchen's top OF 3 status holds true for at least another season.

5.  Having just donned a Phillies uniform a week ago, All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto separated himself from the rest of the catching pack even more from an offensive standpoint.  Realmuto's move from Miami to Philly puts him in a much better ballpark in terms of numbers and 20 bombs with 80 RBI and runs are going to be in play.  While we wouldn't bank on many steals anymore, it is easy to see that Realmuto stands alone in terms of being a high-end hitting catcher this season. 


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