2019 Fantasy Baseball: Philadelphia Phillies Team Outlook

Senior Fantasy Baseball Expert Shawn Childs previews the Philadelphia Phillies as we inch closer to Opening Day of the MLB season!
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Philadelphia Phillies

(Updated: February 28)

The Phillies have missed the playoffs over the last seven seasons while extending their losing streak to six years. Last year they finished with 80-82 record, which is getting closer to being a competitive franchise. Philadelphia has two World Series titles in the team’s 136-year history with only 14 playoff appearances.

They’ve scored under 700 runs in each of their missed postseason years. Last season Philly ranked 22nd in runs, 15th in HRs (186), and last in the majors in batting average (.234). They posted a 4.14 ERA (18th) with 44 saves and 12 shutouts.

In 2018, the Phillies tried to micromanage their starting lineup over the last two months of the season after acquiring some veteran bats at the trade deadline, which led to many players losing momentum and a poor September (8-20).

In the offseason, they acquired SS Jean Segura from the Mariners for 1B Carlos Santana and SS J.P. Crawford. They signed OF Andrew McCutchen to add depth and experience to their starting lineup. OF Bryce Harper finally signed with the Phillies, which gives them a foundation bat for the next decade. Philadelphia acquired C J.T. Realmuto for C Jorge Alfaro and top SP prospect Sixto Sanchez.

Philly lost C Wilson Ramos, 1B Justin Bour, 2B Asdrubal Cabrera, and OF Jose Bautista to free agency.

The only pitcher of interest added was closer David Robertson who a two-year contract for $23 million.

The offense has the talent to be much improved while having depth and some help not far away in the minors. The bullpen is going to be sneaky good with enough arms to bridge the last three innings of games to many wins.

The depth of their starting rotation will determine their ability to make the postseason. Aaron Nola is an ace while Jake Arrieta needs to regain some of his lost form. Philly may need to add another veteran arm in-season to drive the bus to the top of the NL East.

Batting Order

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Last year McCutchen hit between first and third in the batting for the Giants and the Yankees in 567 of his 569 at-bats. His best approach came batting leadoff (OBP – .414) with a 41 to 44 walk to strikeout ratio. His walk rate (13.9) remains a huge plus with some fade in his K rate (21.3 – highest of his career). Andrew failed to match the success in his CTBA that he showcased from 2012 to 2015 (.421, .384, .397, and .381) over the last three seasons (.336, .350, and .342). His average hit rate (1.662) has never been in an area to deliver 30+ HRs consistently. Last year McCutchen lacked production in May (.281 with no HRs, eight RBI, and one SBs over 96 at-bats) and July (.227 with two HRs, seven RBI, and three SBs over 90 at-bats). His HR/FB rate (13.0) almost matched his career average (13.1). A nice veteran bat that can be had in the 10th round in most 15-team drafts in the high-stakes market. His bat isn’t where it was in his prime, but he does have the foundation skill set to have a slight rebound. If he does bat leadoff, I expect 100+ runs with 20+ HRs, 75+ RBI, and 10+ steals with a chance at a neutral batting average. He looks to be undervalued at the draft table.

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Over the last three seasons, Segura hit .308 with 273 runs, 41 HRs, 172 RBI, and 75 SBs over 1,747 at-bats. His breakout in power (20 HRs) in 2016 was short lived due to regression in his average hit rate (1.365) and his ground ball swing (51.5 percent in 2018 and 56.2 percent in his career). Jean continues to have a short walk rate (5.1) while setting a career best in his K rate (10.9). His bat played well against righties (.300 BAA) and lefties (.313). Last year he had the most success before the All-Star break (.323 with seven HRs, 47 RBI, and 14 SBs over 371 at-bats). Segura has a fading CTBA (.344) and HR/FB rate (6.6). Nice player with his best value coming in runs and batting average. The change to a hitter’s park should help his value in power despite lacking a power swing path. I’ll set his bar at .300+ BA with 100+ runs, 15 HRs, 60+ RBI, and 25+ RBIs.

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Harper played the most games of his career in 2018 leading to a career high in only three categories (RBI – 100, walks – 130, and Ks – 169). His walk rate (18.7) is one of the best in the game. Bryce lost value in his CTBA (.360) and his K rate (24.3), which killed his batting average for the second time in three seasons. Harper had a 40+ HRs swing based on his average hit rate (1.993), but his fly ball rate (38.0) and HR/FB rate (23.1) fell short of his 2015 season (39.3 and 27.3). Bryce had a great approach in April (38 walks and 21 Ks over 131 at-bats), but he only hit .247 with strength in his production (23 runs, eight HRs, and 19 RBI). In May, he pounded out ten HRs with 21 RBI with a huge step back in his walks (10 over 116 at-bats). At the All-Star break, Harper was only hitting .214 with 23 HRs and 54 RBI. He hit .300 over the remained of the season while giving up some power (11 HRs and 46 RBI over 223 at-bats). Bryce is a great player just reaching his prime, but Fantasy owners don’t trust him to difference maker piece to the puzzle in 2019. His ADP (17) is in a favorable area, which may move up after he signs. His lack of respect in the free agent market may lead to the best season of his career. Easy target for me with a chance at a .300+ BA with 120+ runs, 40+ HRs, 120+ RBI, and double-digit steals.

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In his first full season in the majors, Hoskins posted nice stats in runs (89), HRs (34), RBI (96), and SBs (5), but he did fall short of expectation in batting average (.246). His K rate (22.7) was only slightly below his short resume in the majors in 2017 (21.7) while continuing to have strength in his walk rate (13.2). The decline in batting average was tied to a drop in his CTBA (.336) and a spike in his fly ball rate (51.7), which led to too many easy outs in the outfield. His HR/FB rate (16.0) was well below his explosive number in 2017 (31.6) with the Phillies. Rhys struggled vs. lefties (.192 with three HRs and 16 RBI over 120 at-bats). The previous year he had six HRs and 16 RBI over 41 at-bats against LH pitching, but he only hit .171. Hoskins played his best ball in June and July (.291 with 33 runs, 15 HRs, and 42 RBI over 182 at-bats). His batting average came in short in May (.161), August (.216), and September (.214). Rhys was a special player in 2016 and 2017. He dominated at AA in 2016 (.281 with 95 runs, 38 HRs, 116, RBI, and eight SBs over 498 at-bats) while having follow through at AAA last year (.284 with 78 runs, 29 HRs, 91 RBI, and four SBs over 401 at-bats). Hoskins' bat was even more electric in the majors (.259 with 37 runs, 18 HRs, and 48 RBI over 170 at-bats). His combined total in 2017 was quite impressive (115 runs, 47 HRs, and 139 RBI). His walk rate (11.0) was lower in the minors with more strength in his K rate (18.5). A high upside power hitter with a flyball swing. His swing path does restrict his ceiling in batting average without a low K rate. Next step: 40+ HRs with 90+ runs, 110+ RBI, and a handful of steals with a run at a neutral batting average.

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Realmuto improved in each year in the majors. His average hit rate (1.750) had a major spike over the last two seasons. His K rate (19.6) was a career-high while remaining better than the league average. J.T. took the most walks (7.2 percent) of his career while continuing to offer strength in his CTBA (.354). Even with his growth last year, Realmuto failed against lefties (.204 with three HRs and eight RBI over 108 at-bats). Over the first four months of the season, he hit .308 with 14 HRs, 53 RBI, and one SB over 318 at-bats. His batting average (.214) lost value in August and September while still delivering power (seven HRs and 21 RBI). His swing path added loft in 2018 (37.4 percent fly ball rate) while his HR/FB rate (14.9) continues to gain value. Even with his new home being unknown, Fantasy owners continue to draft him as the top catcher in 2019 with an ADP of 57 in the high-stakes market. Four category edge player with underlying upside in speed. Very tempting, but I need to know where he’ll hit in the batting order plus the value of his new offense. Start the bidding at .290 with 75+ runs, 15+ HRs, 85+ RBI, and 5+ SBs.

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Herrera is one of the tougher players in baseball to figure out from a Fantasy perspective. In 2016, he appeared to be on the rise with a nice combination in HRs (15) and SBs (25). Batting average (.288) was an asset over his first three years in the majors. Odubel flashed a rise in his average hit rate (1.608) in 2017 while hitting 42 double with 14 HRs over 526 at-bats. Last year he set a career high in HRs (22) with more growth in his AVH (1.650) with continued fade in his speed (five SBs). Over the first three months of the year, Herrera hit .286 with 42 runs, 14 HRs, 46 RBI, and four SBs over 308 at-bats. After a slight fade in July (.253 with five HRs and 12 RBI over 99 at-bats), the Phillies decided to add some bats at the All-Star break. His step back in playing time led to a poor finish to the year (.189 with 11 runs, three HRs, and 13 RBI over 143 at-bats). Odubel had a sharp decline in his CTBA (.327) on the year. His K rate (20.4) improved with a below-par walk rate (6.4). Surprisingly, he had more success against lefties (.288 with four HRs and 22 RBI over 132 at-bats) compared to RH pitching (.244 with 18 HRs and 49 RBI over 418 at-bats). Herrera lost some of his line drive swing while setting a career high in his HR/FB rate (13.9). Getting better, but it’s tough to trust his value in the counting stats. Solid .280 hitter with enough success vs. lefties to be in the lineup every day. Buy him with the idea of a 70/15/70/10 skill set while hoping for more upside in multiple areas.

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The Phillies lack a commitment to Franco. Last year he had a respectable start to the year over the first three months (.258 with ten HRs and 38 RBI over 233 at-bats), but he did miss time in June when the Phillies had an extra infield bat. Maikel played well in July (.330 with 14 runs, seven HRs, and 15 RBI over 91 at-bats). A right wrist injury led a short August (.244 with five HRs and 13 RBI over 90 at-bats) with minimal playing time in September (.263 with no HRs and two RBI over 19 at-bats). Franco made 43 errors over the last three seasons. His K rate (13.3) was a career-best with some weakness in his walk rate (6.2). Maikel has strength in his average hit rate (1.726) with a short CTBA (.315). He has a quick bat with a rising HR/FB rate (17.5), but last year he hit the most ground balls (49.2 percent) of his career. This season Philly will give him some nights off as they try to rotate in Scott Kingery. Franco should offer a neutral batting average with 30+ HRs and 90+ RBI if he’s able to secure 550 at-bats and if he regains some loft on his swing. He’s dead in speed with minimal upside in runs.

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Over the last two seasons, Hernandez did a nice job adding power to his game. Last year he set a career high in at-bats (605), runs (91), HRs (15), and RBI (60). Even with a spike in power, his average hit rate (1.431) slid slightly while striking out at his highest rate (21.9) since earning starting at-bats. As a result, Cesar had a five-year low in his CTBA (.340). Over the first two months of the year, he hit .268 with 38 runs, seven HRs, 21 RBI, and ten SBs over 205 at-bats, but his bat wasn’t starting worthy over the next three months (.245 with 44 runs, four HRs, 21 RBI, and seven SBs over 302 at-bats). Hernandez added more loft to his swing path last year (33.6 percent fly ball rate compared to 25.2 percent in his career). 2018 was the first season that he had a ground ball rate (45.9) under 50 percent in the majors. This season Cesar has an ADP of 179 in the high-stakes market in early February. I don’t respect his growth in power. His higher K rate and midseason fade will lead to lost playing time to Scott Kingery who will have a much higher ceiling when he finds his approach in the majors. Pencil in Hernandez in for 450 at-bats with 65 runs, eight HRs, 40 RBI, and 15 SBs.

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Kingery gained momentum in drafts last year due to his step forward in 2017 between AA and AAA (.304 with 26 HRs, 65 RBI, and 29 SBs over 543 at-bats). His success was much higher than his first two years in the minors (.271 with eight HRs, 67 RBI, and 41 SBs over 783 at-bats). His walk rate (6.6) was below average with strength in his K rate (16.5). With about a half season of experience at AAA (.294 with eight HRs, 21 RBI, and ten SBs over 265 at-bats), Scott made the Phillies in 2018 with a strong showing in spring training. His bat wasn’t major league ready, but he did get plenty of at-bats (359) over the first four months of the season (.228 with five HRs, 30 RBI, and 30 RBI). Kingery had a much weaker approach (K rate – 26.0 and walk rate – 5.0) with Philadelphia, which led to short chances over the last two months of the year (.215 with three HRs, five RBI, and two SBs over 93 at-bats). This season he’ll come off the bench until he moves ahead of Cesar Hernandez on the depth chart. Only a bench flier with a nice combination of power and speed with growth expected in his game.

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Williams is the player most hurt for playing time if the Phillies do end up signing Bryce Harper. Last year he had a bump in playing time (407 at-bats), but he fell short of his rookie season in CTBA (.351) even with an improvement in his approach (K rate – 24.8 and walk rate – 7.1). His average hit rate (1.663) fell in line with his previous resume with a downturn in his RBI rate (13.0). Nick struggled against lefties (.232 with two HRs and seven RBI over 82 at-bats). In September, he missed much of the month with right hand and right shoulder injuries. Williams had his best season of his career between AAA and the majors in 2017. He hit .284 with 88 runs, 27 HRs, 99 RBI, and six SBs over 595 at-bats. As great as this looks, he did strike out 187 times (28.8 percent) with higher failure in the majors (29.4 percent). Nick doesn't take many walks (5.0 percent). Over six seasons in the minors, he hit .286 with 77 HRs, 324 RBI, and 53 SBs in 2,283 at-bats. A free swinger who hits the ball hard when he makes contact. His power will continue to grow, but Williams needs to clean up his approach to earn more playing time.

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Altherr never found his rhythm with the bat last year due to a huge K rate (31.9) and failure in is CTBA (.289). He did set a career high in his walk rate (12.6) with respectable value in HRs (8) and RBI (38) considering his low number of at-bats (243). Over five seasons in the majors, Aaron hit .227 with 36 HRs, 147 RBI, and 21 SBs over 955 at-bats. Decent power source if given a better chance at-bats while offering some underlying speed. Only an injury replacement if he works his way into short-term starting at-bats.

Other Options

Andrew Knapp (C) – Knapp will try to earn the backup catching job in Philly again in 2019. Over his two seasons in the majors, he hit only .226 with seven HRs and 28 RBI over 358 at-bats while posting a massive K rate (31.3). Over five seasons in the minors, he hit .275 with 31 HRs, 186 RBI, and 14 SBs over 1,464 at-bats with a much lower K rate (22.7).

Roman Quinn (OF) – Quinn hit .278 with 27 HRs, 144 RBI, and 183 SBs over 1,675 at-bats in his seven seasons in the minors. Last year with Philly hit .267 with two HRs, ten RBI, and ten SBs over 131 at-bats. Roman will compete for a bench role in 2019.

Pitching Staff

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Nola moved to ace status after his breakthrough season. Both his walk rate (2.5) and K rate (9.5) came in line with his career averages while his pitches gained value. Aaron had the best fastball (92.4) of his career with both his four-seamer (.212 BAA) and sinker (.189 BAA) grading well. His best pitch remains his curveball (.156 BAA) while owing a changeup (.243 BAA) of value. Nola held an edge against righties (.207 BAA) and lefties (.187 BAA). He’s a high-volume groundball pitcher (50.6) with only one negative mark on last year’s resume (nine HRs allowed over his last 36.1 innings in September). Batters hit under .220 against him in every month last year. His success last year fell in his line with his brief minor league resume (15-7 with a 2.47 ERA and 147 Ks over 175 innings). Top arm with the command and stuff to be a consistent ace going forward. 15+ wins with 225+ Ks and a nice edge in ERA and WHIP. His pitch strike rate (69) is now elite.

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In his first season in Philadelphia, Arrieta continued to bleed back his edge created with his great 2015 year (22-6 with a 1.77 ERA and 236 Ks over 229 innings). Over his last three seasons, his ERA trickled backward (3.10, 3.53, and 3.96) where he can no longer be considered an asset to a Fantasy team. Jake lost his strikeout ability in 2018 (7.2) while barely beating his career average in walks (3.0 to 3.1). His failure is tied to struggles with lefties (.281 BAA). Other than one bad start on April 30th (six runs and ten baserunners over 3.2 innings), Arrieta threw the ball well in his first ten starts (2.16 ERA, .230 BAA, and 40 Ks over 58.1 innings). He posted a 4.88 ERA over his last 21 starts covering 114.1 innings with 89 Ks and 19 HRs allowed, but Jake never allowed more than five runs in any game. His AFB (93.0) came in with at the league average fastball, which was better than 2017 (92.1) but much lower than 2015 (94.6). Both his slider (.216 BAA) and changeup (.227 BAA) offer plus value, but he lost the feel of his curveball (.299 BAA) with less value in his sinker (.270 BAA). Even with a groundball approach (51.6 percent), his HR/FB rate (14.3) continues to rise. Even with some rebound, I wouldn’t think of him owning a skill set higher than a 3.75 ERA with only 165 Ks and WHIP risk if he made 30+ starts.

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Pivetta flashed enough upside in 2017 in the majors (140 Ks over 133 innings) for Fantasy owners to believe in playable value last year. He finished 2018 with growth in his walk rate (2.8) and his K rate (10.3), but his ERA (4.77) didn’t fall in line due to too many disaster starts. Nick allowed two runs or fewer in 18 of his 33 starts and five runs or more in seven outings. After posting a 3.48 ERA over his first 12 starts, Pivetta went 3-10 over his last 102 innings with a 5.56 ERA and 118 Ks. Over this span, he walked 34 batters while serving up 19 HRs. He needs improvement against lefties (.276 BAA). His AFB (94.8) improved from 2017 (94.4), but it was easy to hit (four-seam – .292 BAA and sinker – .318 BAA). Nick has an excellent curveball (.208 BAA) and strength in his slider (.231 BAA). There is upside in the arm, but he needs to be more consistent from game to game while minimizing the damage in HRs (1.3 per nine). Next step: sub 4.00 ERA with 200+ Ks while his base skill set gives him a chance to beat last season by a wide margin with better location of his fastball in the strike zone. Overpriced for me in 2019 based on his ADP (156).

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As talented as Velasquez may be, he’s struggled over his four seasons in the majors (20-26 with a 4.60 ERA and 439 Ks over 405.1 innings). His K rate (9.9) came in strong while continuing to add risk in walks (3.6 per nine). Over his first 27 games, he had a 4.10 ERA and 148 Ks over 134 innings. His below par results came from two disaster starts (16 runs and 20 baserunners over 7.2 innings). Without those outings, Velasquez had a 3.20 ERA and 1.117 WHIP over this period. His season ended on a bad note over the last four games (18 runs and 29 baserunners over 12.2 innings). Vincent had a tough time against lefties (.288 with 13 HRs allowed over 274 at-bats). His AFB (93.8) fell in line with his previous two seasons. When on his game, Velasquez offered a plus four-seam fastball (.227 BAA) and elite slider (.200 BAA). His risk comes from a questionable curveball (.312 BAA), sinker (.340 BAA), and changeup (.308 BAA). Only a backend option with the talent to get his ERA under 3.50 especially if he figures out how to throw more strikes while eliminating poor starts. The downside of his arm is that Vincent has never thrown over 150 innings in the majors.

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2018 was a lost season for Eickhoff due to a yearlong battle with a lat injury. He only made three poor appearances (four runs and 11 baserunners over 5.1 innings), but he did show K ability (11). After the season, Jerad had surgery on his right wrist to correct a carpal tunnel issue. Here’s a look at his 2017 profile:

Eickoff looked sharp of his first four starts (2.55 ERA with 25 Ks over 24.2 innings). Over his nine starts, he crushed Fantasy owner's ERA and WHIP (0-6 with a 6.65 ERA and 1.804 WHIP). A back issue led to three missed weeks in late June and early July. Jerad reversed the tide over his next ten starts (3.25 ERA), but his WHIP (1.428) was still a negative part of his game. He suffered a hand injury in late August that ended his season. On the year, Eickhoff had a drop in his walk rate (3.7 - 1.9 in 2016) while seeing a bump in his K rate (8.3). His AFB (90.5) was a career low with decline as the year went on due to his hand injury. Jerad has plus curveball (.166 BAA) with failure in his slider (.347 BAA) and his sinker (.410 BAA). Mid-level arm with a nice 2016 season (3.65 ERA) on his resume, but his soft-tossing style will lead to disaster outings when he's not throwing strikes. About a 4.00 ERA with risk in home runs allowed as well. He needs to correct his decline against lefties (.314 with 11 HRs allowed over 271 at-bats).

This season Eickhoff will be found in the free agent pool after draft day.

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Eflin pitched well over seven seasons in the minors (34-28 with a 3.47 ERA and 371 Ks over 529 innings). He has a soft tosser skill set (K rate – 6.3 and walk rate – 2.0). The Phillies gave him 46 starts over the last three years, but Zach posted only a 5.10 ERA and 1.338 WHIP over 255.2 innings. In the majors, he walked 2.3 batters per nine with a weak K rate (6.7). In 2018, he had a jump in strikeouts (8.6 per nine) while showing failure vs. LH batters (.286 BAA). Eflin had an ERA of 4.50 or higher in every month in the majors except June (5-0 with a 1.76 ERA and 28 Ks over 30.2 innings). His AFB (94.3) was 1.6 mph higher than in 2017. He throws a slider (.215 BAA) as his best pitch followed by a low volume curveball (.154 BAA). Interesting arm as his gain in velocity may lead to growth in his game if he finds a swing and miss pitch.

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Over four seasons in the minors, De Los Santos went 34-16 with a 3.40 ERA and 416 Ks over 460 innings. Last year his stuff played well at AAA (10-5 with a 2.63 ERA and 110 Ks over 126.2 innings), but he did have some regression in his walk rate (3.1) and K rate (7.8). Philly gave him seven appearances in the majors last year leading to a 4.74 ERA and 15 Ks over 19 innings. His AFB (94.7) came in strong with his best pitch being a changeup (.211 BAA) followed by a curveball and low volume slider. Live arm with upside, but he does need more experience in the majors while needing his off-speed pitches to gain value.

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After earning 123 saves from 2014 and 2017 with Yankees and the White Sox, Roberton pitched in a set role over the last year and a half in New York. In his 11 seasons in the majors, David went 53-32 with a 2.88 ERA and 874 Ks over 657 innings while converting 137 saves. His K rate (11.8) remains strong with a below-par walk rate (3.4). He had success against both RH (.188 BAA) and LH (.176 BAA) batters. Last year he did struggle in May (5.56 ERA), July (4.09 ERA), and September (5.06 ERA). His AFB (92.3) was his best since 2011 (93.1). Robertson throws an elite curveball (.143 BAA) while adding a low volume slider (.048 BAA) in 2018. He relies heavily on his cutter (.258 BAA), which lost value compared to 2017 (.206 BAA). His job to lose in the 9th. Possible career high in saves with plus Ks.

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After signing as a 17-year old with the Phillies as a starter, Dominguez was transitioned to the bullpen in 2018. His arm played well over 16.2 innings between AA and AAA (1.62 ERA and 21 Ks) earning him a chance in the majors. With Philly, Seranthony picked 16 saves in 20 chances with a 2.95 ERA and 74 Ks over 58 innings. Batters only hit .157 against him with both righties (.126 BAA) and lefties (.188 BAA) struggling to make contact. Dominguez did have a much weaker BB:K ratio (14:30) to LH batters. Over his first 34 games with the Phillies, he had a 1.85 ERA, 49 Ks, and 12 saves over 39 innings. Seranthony struggled in five of his next 13 appearances leading to a 7.62 ERA and three blown saves in five chances. His AFB (98.1) is elite and closer-worthy. Batters struggled to hit his four-seamer (.202 BAA) and slider (.066 BAA) plus he offered a low usage changeup (.077 BAA) of value. Over seven seasons in the minors, Dominguez had a 3.03 ERA and 299 Ks over 326.2 innings. His walk rate had risk in the minors (3.8) with some improvement in Philadelphia (3.4). Future closer who will drop down a notch to an arm with more experience. Excellent buy and hold for a team looking for a closer in waiting.

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Neris ended up being a trap last year. He flashed upside in 2017 when he converted 26 of 29 saves with a 3.01 ERA and 86 Ks over 74.2 innings. Last year Hector finished with a career-high in his K rate (14.3) and a career average walk rate (3.0). After struggling in his first game in 2018 (three runs, three baserunners, and one HR over two-thirds of an inning), he had success in eight of his first ten saves with a 1.93 ERA and 19 Ks over 14 innings. Neris pitched his way out of the 9th and to the minors over his next 17 games (9.98 ERA and .338 BAA) due to ten HRs allowed over 15.1 innings. When he returned to Philly in mid-August, his arm looked electric over his last 17.2 innings (2.04 ERA, five walks, 35 Ks, and no HRs allowed). His AFB (94.6) almost matched 2017 (94.7) while featuring an edge split-finger fastball (.196 BAA). This season Hector will be one of the Phillies’ top arms in the seventh innings while offering K ability and some closing experience.

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