Phillies Fantasy Impact: the Bullpen


In this next segment on how the 2015 Phillies might impact your fantasy baseball roster, a look at the improving bullpen, which could be pretty salty.

As our own Alex Cheremeteff states in an earlier article; “For the first time in recent memory, the bullpen is stacked with power arms capable of shutting down the opposition, one high-leverage situation at a time.”  Coming off their 2014 season, it’s not hard to see why he feels that way.

The 2014 Phillies bullpen averaged 9.49 strikeouts per 9 innings, while walking just 3.74 batters per 9. That was good enough to finish 4th and 6th respectively in the majors.  These strong numbers were accomplished as a collective group.

More from Phillies News

What we need to find out now is, which individuals from that strong group could be an impact for fans in their fantasy leagues.  The Phillies will once again have some really good arms coming out of the pen, but below are the main pitchers on which fantasy players should focus..

There are a lot of categories that can be used in fantasy leagues, but the most important ones for relievers are usually Saves, Holds, Wins, ERA, and Strikeouts.  Barring an injury or trade, the first player to look at  it is obviously Jonathan Papelbon, set to be the closer again this season.

Paps had 43 save opportunities last season and successfully converted 39 of them. That was good for a fabulous 90.7% success rate.  He also had a strong 2.53 ERA, besting his 2013 by over a half a run.  His strikeout rate isn’t what it used to be, but he’s certainly still a guy you’d like to have starting in your fantasy bullpen on draft day.

Since the Fightin Phils are in a rebuilding mode, I would doubt that Papelbon finishes the season with the team.  Once he is dealt, the next man in line to close out games should be 24-year old righthander Ken Giles.

Giles can be downright filthy on the mound.  Owning a 1.18 ERA, a 12/2, K-BB rate per 9 innings, and 13 Holds last season, and an arm that can hit triple digits, “100-Miles Giles” is a guy that you’ll want to make sure is on your radar.  The numbers and stuff make him worth taking in many leagues any way, but his overall value this season could be that he appears to be the heir apparent at closer.

For the first time in recent memory, the bullpen is stacked with power arms capable of shutting down the opposition” ~ Alex Cheremeteff

Jake Diekman should continue to get the bulk of the Holds again this year. Diek is another guy with the power for getting punch-outs, fanning 100 in 71 innings last year.  His value is greatest for Holds and Strikeouts in the fantasy game, and he could even increase his team-leading 18 Holds from a year ago if Giles is moved into the closer’s role.

Fantasy impact from the Phils pen hinges on the status of the still-effective Papelbon.

(Photo Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports)

Another name to keep an eye on is Justin De Fratus.  Justin could see the importance of his role increase this year by moving into an even more prominent setup role. His stock could further rise if he is able to continue the improvements made from 2013 – 2014. He lowered his ERA by more than a run and a half, and perhaps most importantly he halved his Walks total.

In the fantasy game, De Fratus could see an increase in opportunities for Holds this year.  Outside of keeper leagues that are larger in size, Justin is probably not a guy that will warrant a ton of attention to start out the season.  Again, like other arms in the Phillies bullpen, a lot will hinge on what happens with Papelbon.

The Phillies have some more promising arms in their pen beyond these, and even more on the horizon coming from the minor leagues.  Right now, it is the team’s obvious strength. However, for the sake of having any fantasy impact this season, I wouldn’t dig much further than the names Papelbon, Giles, Diekman, and De Fratus.