Philadelphia Phillies 2019 Fantasy Projections – Flying High in Philly
A pretty sunny forecast for the 2019 Philadelphia baseball season suddenly got even brighter. Nearly every baseball prediction sheet has the Phillies as a top team in the National League. When you add one of the best players in baseball, things immediately become very sunny in Philadelphia. Here's a look back at last season, and the fantasy outlook for the Phillies in 2019.
Philadelphia Phillies 2018 Recap
Philadelphia chased the 2018 NL East division title right through most of September. The Phillies bombed down the stretch, winning only two meaningless final games over Atlanta after a nine game swoon obliterated their playoff hopes.
Part of the season-killing slide was a four-game sweep at the hands of the eventual division winning Braves. Philadelphia followed up that four-game nightmare with another, even more horrific display out in Colorado.
The Rockies earned themselves a wildcard spot, knocking around Philadelphia pitching for double-digit runs three times in a four-game stretch. These bumps were part of a total of eight wins in the month of September.
The result was what began as a hopeful start to September, ending with a final record two games below .500. While it was a rebuilding season, the taste of post-season has Philadelphia fans eagerly anticipating 2019.
2019 Fantasy Pitchers Projections – The Best of the Phillies' Pitchers
Pitching stats over the 2018 for the Phillies' staff were mixed. They struck out the sixth most hitters in baseball, but below the midpoint in team ERA and opponent's batting average. A lot of this was due to some hiccups in the bullpen.
Another part of the problem was the unseemliness of giving up home runs. The Philadelphia ranking fell even further down the ladder for long balls allowed. They will bring back the same rotation from 2018, so experience and familiarity are bonuses.
The Phillies also have a bullpen with three arms that have closer experience. David Robertson should be the number one ninth inning guy, but Pat Neshek and Seranthony Dominguez are capable relievers with closer-like stuff.
Since relief pitching is usually a second-thought for fantasy purposes, none are priority owns. However, they do add support for the Philadelphia's starting staff. The end of the rotation has three arms that are second-tier fantasy starters.
Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez all have potential. Velasquez should be high on a watch list out of the three. The top two fantasy starters in a Philadelphia uniform are strong. One may be in line for some bounce-back numbers that could inch him back to the top-tier level.
Aaron Nola SP – Aaron Nola ranks in the same tier as last year's AL Cy Young winner, and five other starters who are preseason mentions for this year's best pitcher. He sits third in the National League behind only Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom.
Nola topped 200 innings last year, and was incredibly stingy with allowing base runners. He fanned over 200, plus had a WHIP below 1.00. His win total with Philadelphia is possibly his strongest asset, and blends perfectly with the rest of his statistical projections.
Jake Arrieta SP – It's difficult to believe a pitcher who was 22-6 only three years ago would be considered to be on the slide. Arrieta seems to have lost a little of mastery. However, he will pitch for a strong team, and no longer will face the opposition's number one starter.
Every fantasy-worthy statistic has drifted in the wrong direction the last two seasons, but there is talk that the already impeccable work ethic Arrieta is known for has been rekindled. This is a consummate professional pitcher that will enter 2019 with something to prove.
2019 Fantasy Hitter Projections – The Best Bats in Philly
There was a number of fascinating fantasy bats in Philadelphia before last week. Now every single hitter in the Phillies' order has an even greater value. That is what Bryce Harper does to a lineup.
For all his talent, however, he sat at only 16th overall in the fantasy big board prior to his signing with Philadelphia. That may not change, but it should. This is a final piece in GM Matt Klentak's master plan to retool, not rebuild the Phillies.
With Harper's addition, head coach Gabe Kapler will have four new veteran bats in the lineup. JT Realmuto is the number one rated fantasy catcher, and for good reason. Jean Segura comes in from Seattle, and Andrew McCutchen is a prime comeback player candidate.
Don't lose sight of the idea McCutchen can still hit, and he'll probably hit second in front of Harper. In fact, Harper is slotted only a handful of spots above a young Phillies superstar in the making, Rhys Hoskins who will bat cleanup.
Segura is down on the shortstop rating list, but that's because the position is loaded. Originally he was pegged for the two-hole in the Philadelphia order, but he may drop depending on match ups. There will be a pair of formidable hitters at the seven and eight spots in the order as well.
Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera at the end of this order presents an ominous thought for opposing pitchers. Opponents will only get a respite when they get to the pitcher's spot in the Philadelphia order. This was a good lineup prior to adding Harper, now it's as imposing a batting order as there is in baseball.
Bryce Harper OF - Sitting in the middle of what was already a productive lineup, Bryce Harper now pushes towards the top-spot for all fantasy hitters. The most common spot he has landed in the OF rankings was sixth.
While there hasn't been an adjustment with his signing in Philadelphia, it appears to be common sense that he is going to be more productive inside a power-packed lineup. Two details can't be overlooked either. His batting average has skipped seasons.
He hit over .300, only to fall down to around .250 the following year. Last year he hit only .243 with the Nationals, so don't be surprised if his average jumps a lot. He also struck out more than any point in his career, leading some to sense his head wasn't in the game.
Bryce Harper could potentially erase every single one of his career bests in his first season in Philadelphia. He is clearly a candidate to score over 100 and knock in over a 100. He has 30-plus home run potential, with gap power to add doubles.
Rhys Hoskins 1B/OF – Hoskins is a must-own fantasy player because of his production. He sits fourth behind three of the best already fantasy producers in baseball at the first base position. However, there is quite a bit of intrigue attached to his dual-eligibility.
In dynasty formats, he has enough worth to potentially jump to the top of the list. Only the Dodgers Cody Bellinger has position flexibility like Hoskins does. When we talk strictly numbers, Hoskins potential is insane.
While he may be hard-pressed to match the whirlwind storm that he took baseball with when he arrived a season ago, there is little doubt of his talent. He will press for 40 home runs and 100 RBIs, with his RBI prowess get a big boost from Harper's addition to the lineup.
JT Realmuto C – Realmuto is added here because he is part of the Phillies lineup, plus he is the highest rated catcher in fantasy baseball. This ranking held true even when he played for the woeful Miami Marlins. There is little doubt Realmuto will be a productive hitter with the Phillies.
His home run totals have increased every season, and his batting average is very consistent. No fantasy vision should miss the fact he also swipes a few bases. This is an almost unheard-of bonus from a fantasy catcher.
Fantasy Rank for Philadelphia
The Phillies are as loaded offensively as any team in baseball. Only the Boston Red Sox lineup can rival Philadelphia for fantasy value. They have a potential fantasy bat at every spot in their order.
The placement of a few of these players since the arrival of Bryce Harper makes Philly hitters even more intriguing. The pitching staff is also manned by a full roster of potential fantasy starters. Nola is a must-own and Arrieta is a wily veteran now.
The Bottom Line for the Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies were deemed an NL East contender before they inked Bryce Harper. They now must be considered a clear favorite to win their division, if not represent the NL in the World Series. They have that much potential.
There are two veterans who could prove critical to how successful Philadelphia is. Both Andrew McCutchen and Jake Arrieta are whispered as comeback player of the year candidates. If they produce and the rest of the Phillies lineup lives up to expectations, Philly may be the Boston Red Sox of 2019.