If you play in NL-only formats, you appreciate this even more. The Phillies are good. Manager Charlie Manuel is so patient with struggling hitters that they employed the fewest different hitters in the NL last year despite logging the second-highest number of team plate appearances. Five of their regulars ranked in the top 15 Senior Circuit batters in plate appearances.
Nor is volume the only virtue offered to the fantasy owner by the Fightin' Phils. Manuel has proven he's willing to run, and base-running instructor Davey Lopes has led the team to three straight seasons with the best stolen base percentage in the NL. The team also made the fewest outs on base-running plays, meaning they don't often run any of their sensational hitters out of RBI chances.
Obviously, because of the team's great offense, Phillies pitchers can post wins. Manuel was able to let his pitchers pitch: Only the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds had their hurlers throw 100 or more pitches more times than Philly. J.A. Happ and Cole Hamels combined for five complete games.
That's the good news. The bad news: Citizens Bank Park is a hitter's haven. It appears the park augmented home runs by 16 percent on flyballs and by 4 percent on line drives, though the former came largely at the expense of doubles.
Manuel gave up on Brad Lidge briefly last year, but Manuel's confidence in him has proven tough to shake. It will be interesting to see how Manuel feels about loyalty this year and in years beyond.
Departed third baseman Pedro Feliz was great with the glove, but a returning Placido Polanco has may end up even better. The defensive infield is stellar, so don't worry, Roy Halladay's sinker will remain effective.
The outfield is full of good but unspectacular fielders. Two of the three Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth - have great arms. Fantasy owners for Philly's pitchers would prefer players who can prevent hits from falling in to begin with, though. The ordinarily reliable duo of Victorino and Werth came out as subpar in that respect. Raul Ibanez's solid rating is a product of their presence.
About Matt Trueblood
Matt is a journalism student at Loyola University Chicago. The guest contributor is a featured Chicago Cubs columnist on the Bleacher Report as well as a contributor to hotstove.com. Matt envisions himself as both a writer and analyst and strives to deliver pieces that are both well-researched and thought-provoking. He work first appeared on KFFL.com in February 2010.
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