2010 Philadelphia Phillies Preview

Roy Halladay, RHP
Cole Hamels, LHP
Joe Blanton, RHP
J.A. Happ, LHP
Jamie Moyer, LHP

Closers and Setup
Brad Lidge, RHP
Ryan Madson, RHP

Starting Lineup
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Placido Polanco, 3B
Chase Utley, 2B
Ryan Howard, 1B
Jayson Werth, RF
Raul Ibanez, LF
Shane Victorino, CF
Carlos Ruiz, C

Player in Decline

Many owners expect Jimmy Rollins to bat .300 and add 25-plus homers to his steal totals. That won’t happen anymore. Rollins career .274 average is a good benchmark to set, as is 20 homers.

Player on the Rise

Now that he is firmly the No. 1 catcher, Carlos Ruiz can use his power to the best of his ability. A 15-homer season with solid RBI numbers could be on the horizon, if you’re willing to take on his sub-par batting average.

Top 5 Fantasy Players
Chase Utley – Elite
Ryan Howard – Elite
Roy Halladay – Elite
Jayson Werth – Elite
Shane Victorino – Elite

Top 10 Prospects
1. Domonic Brown, OF
2. Phillippe Aumont, RHP
3. Trevor May, RHP
4. Juan Ramirez, RHP
5. Sebastian Valle, C
6. Brody Colvin, RHP
7. Tyson Gillies, OF
8. Anthony Gose, OF
9. Antonio Bastardo, LHP
10. John Mayberry Jr., OF

Overall Team Outlook: The Phillies came home with the World Series crown in 2008, but fell just short in 2009. The organization didn’t stand still, making some moves that it feels will have improved the big-league club. They’ll be looking to make it back to the big series again in 2010.

The Starting Rotation: Acquired from the Blue Jays this offseason for a package of prospects, Roy Halladay will head up the Phillies rotation heading into 2010. This is Halladay’s first year in the NL, and his vast arsenal of pitches should lead to utter dominance and competition for the Cy Young award. Cole Hamels was somewhat of a disappointment last year, but wasn’t as bad as everyone thought. He should bounce back a bit in 2010 and be a great No. 2 starter for the Phils.

Joe Blanton will be back to eat some innings and try to keep the Phillies offense in the game. After impressing in the rotation and out of the bullpen last year, J.A. Happ will likely spend an entire season in the starting rotation. Hitters will now have a book on Happ, so he’ll have to adjust in his sophomore season. Jamie Moyer, aka “Old Man River”, will try to give the Phillies one more year of soft-tossing in the five hole, but he’s also coming back from some pretty serious health issues that required hospitalization in the offseason.

The Bullpen: After a dominant 2008, Brad Lidge returned to his old self last year and has forced the Phillies to consider other options for the ninth inning. Ryan Madson is waiting to take over the role, but Philadelphia doesn’t seem convinced he’s the answer. Newly acquired Danys Baez has experience as a closer, and could be asked to take over. With lefty J.C. Romero in the pen all year, they should be able to lock down more games this season.

The Starting Lineup: The club has tailored its lineup to fit the home ballpark, and it has paid dividends. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Raul Ibanez all provide left-handed pop and the ability to drive in runs with ease. Utley is also a base-stealing threat and an excellent defender to boot. Howard continues to be a Three True Outcome guy, and needs to hit lefties better to balance out the lineup. Jimmy Rollins will be topping the lineup and should cross home plate quite often. Former No. 2 hitter Shane Victorino is being moved down in the order to accommodate newly acquired third baseman Placido Polanco. Polanco played with the Phillies in the past, and his high-average/low-strikeout game seemed favorable to GM Ruben Amaro this offseason, but his power output is below average for his new position. (He played second base in Detroit).

Victorino should still create havoc on the base paths for opposing teams, but he will also have the chance to knock in some runs this time around. All-around stud Jayson Werth will be counted on to mash lefties and bring balance to the lineup, as well as play stellar defense in right field. Loveable catcher Carlos Ruiz will be back and starting for the Phillies and is better than many may think. His adequate power and above-average walk rate make him a great hitter to have at the bottom of the order, as he can drive in runs before the pitcher comes to the dish.

The Bench: The Phillies made attempts to change the bench after last season. Ben Francisco, acquired in the Cliff Lee trade, will be the fourth outfielder and will be the first right-handed bat off the bench. Ross Gload will back up Ryan Howard, and Juan Castro will provide insurance at the rest of the infield spots. Veteran Brian Schneider will be the No. 2 catcher, with corner infielder Greg Dobbs and outfielder John Mayberry completing the bench.

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Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.

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