Are there any players in the Philadelphia Phillies outfield that you want for your fantasy baseball team this year? In contrast to their infield of all veteran All-Stars, the Phillies outfield is still unsettled.
In a previous column, I urged readers to avoid Ben Revere in favor of other outfielders who are going behind him in drafts this spring. In one live draft I was in this month, a manager picked John Mayberry and Domonic Brown in consecutive rounds. After these picks he quipped, “Well one of these guys has to make the lineup.” He’s probably right if Delmon Young is not ready to play at the start of the season, but the question is which one? So let’s look at the candidates to play the corner outfield positions when the season starts. We’ll assume that Ben Revere will play center field and bat low in the lineup.
I was quick to jump on the “Downtown” Domonic Brown bandwagon in 2010, when he was named the top MLB prospect by Baseball America. When he was called up as Shane Victorino went on the DL, I was first to the waiver wire in two fantasy leagues to pick him up. But he hasn’t really lived up to the hype. In 371 ABs over the last two years with the Phils, he has a grand total of 10 HRs and essentially no steals. He strikes out three times for every two walks and has a forgettable batting average. So much for being a five-tool player. But wait, things aren’t that simple. This spring Brown seems to have put on some additional upper body bulk and is ripping it up in spring training. He’s gone 14 for 33 with three HRs.
With Mayberry the last two years have been a little better, as he has had 29 HRs over 708 AB. So he hits a round-tripper every 25 ABs, compared with Brown’s every 37, but Mayberry strikes out three times for every one walk. He does have eligibility his season at both 1B and CF, which is a unique combination.
But the wild card in this discussion is Darin Ruf, the MVP of the Eastern League last year. For AA Reading, he had 38 HRs, 104 RBI, and an OBP of .408. These are certainly numbers that get your attention. The Phils are trying to move Ruf from 1B to the outfield and that is still an experiment in process.
So where does this leave us? I’m thinking that Mayberry will not be a regular starter this year, so that will limit his fantasy value. I’ve already fallen for the Brown hype once. My next two drafts coming up involve rookie keepers, so I’m thinking I will target Ruf. How about you?