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How to be the envy of your Yahoo fantasy league.

SAFE! Whiteside, eat your heart out.
SAFE! Whiteside, eat your heart out.
Drew Hallowell

By subscribing to my column, and following the simple guidelines herein, you will quickly become the envy of your fantasy baseball league.

Phirstly, you must phind a suitable name phor your squad. Prepherably a Phillies-phocused phlag, eg my own Phortress of Phortitude. Phortunately, phlags phly phorever.... ok, I'll stop.

Second comes the trash talk. You must thoroughly intimidate your opponents. Call attention to your notable fantasy achievements from prior seasons. This should demoralize them suitably, if not, feel free to embellish. "Back in '27, I was able to draft Ruth in the fifth round!" They're not gonna know. Trust me.

Finally comes the draft. There are two schools of thought. On one hand, you can superultramegaoverprepare like the nerd version of that TV show, with your spreadsheets and statistics and charts and rankings, but, it was my understanding, that there would be no math... (scroll down, trust me). On the other hand, you can try to have fun. Winging it, in the parlance of our times, a strategy that's served me reasonably well, from a certain point of view. Take the current edition of the Phortress of Phortitude, for example:

The pitching staff is headlined by aces Roy Halladay and R.A. Dickey, because awesome, that's why. Halladay has certainly struggled mightily over the last year (even moreso this spring), but, guy's, he's Roy effin' Halladay. And Dickey? Also awesome (knuckleballs and Kilimanjaro), and also no longer a Metropolitan. Tim Lincecum (major rebound potential), Wade Miley (should of been Rookie of the Year) and Andrew Cashner (100MPH OMGz) provide a solid core; while Edwin Jackson (eight walk no-hitter), who allowed a certain homerun, rounds out the rotation.

In the 'pen, Mariano Rivera appears to be well enough recovered from his injury last year to anchor the relief corps. He is a Yankee, but the Yankees appear to be moving to a less bro-centered team concept. Plus, he's classy with lowercase letters. Mike Adams and Antonio Bastardo are the mainstays of the bullpen, because Phillies, mostly. They're both also well-suited to our league format, which relies on Ks and FIP and a made up stat called BLPNRY (saves plus holds minus blown saves), which values middle relief to a much greater degree than most leagues.

I'm also presently carrying three minor league pitchers; Gerrit Cole is gonna be awesome when he can avoid Super Two status; Jameson Taillon is also gonna be good, plus his name. And Chad... excuse me, I'll be right back.

Moving on to the lineup, catching duties will be handled by A.J. Ellis and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, mostly because Carlos Ruiz was already drafted and Erik Kratz won't get regular starts.

I'm a solid believer in carrying extra first basemen for some reason. Adam Dunn (good sleeper) will see most of the action there, but Michael Young is 1B eligible. Young's a special case, actually. In addition to being a Phillies, he is also a former Alaska Goldpanner. If you know me, you know why that matters. Young is not going to tear the cover off the ball, but in a league that won't penalize me for his defense, he's a decent late round (14th, in this case) pick. He will mostly be used at third, of course, giving Dunn and Mark Reynolds most of the reps at first.

"Second baseman, Chase Utley..."

Enough said.

At shortstop are J.J. Hardy and Jean Segura, again, mostly because Jimmy Rollins was unavailable, and Freddy Galvis isn't gonna get many at-bats. Are you beginning to see a pattern here?

The outfield is constructed along slightly different lines. Ryan Braun is the clear standout, but the real team leaders are Domonic Brown (11th round sleeper pick!) and Raul Ibanez (19th round mistake pick; honestly), for obvious reasons. Brown's gonna be a legitimate fantasy player, not top ten or anything like that, but a solid OBP and 20+ homeruns are well within reason for him. And Raul, well... Former Phillies are almost as good as current Phillies. Extra bonus for Mariners.

Rounding out the OF are Shin-Soo Choo and Chris Davis. Choo is the modern day Johnny Callison. Ok, they're really nothing alike, but both meet that "solid man of the outfield" description. And Davis, well, after our own Wilson Valdez made history for his 19th inning pitching appearance, Davis one-upped him with a two inning outing. Plus, he's just a cool guy.

Dustin Ackley is another special case. He's not a Phillie, and he struggled mightily last year. But I was there for his Major League debut, and he reminded me of a young Utley. Really. And, filling another minor league slot, there's a kid named Jonathan Singleton. Huh.

I'm not going to win our league. Not a chance. Well, maybe... no. Definitely no. Not a chance. But I'm gonna have fun losing, because I've constructed a roster of guys I already want to root for. I refuse to be drawn into rooting for success from guys I don't like. Given the choice between Erik Kratz and MVP Evil McRapist, well, I'm going with Kratz. Swap out Mr. McRapist for Mr. Guyonateam Ijustdontlike, and that equation still balances.

And you know what? If I don't win, I don't care. If I finish 16th of 16 teams (quite likely), I don't care, because this roster is fun. And, hell, if you built a real team around this roster, you'd probably win a few games.

What's that? Oh, you wanted to win? Well, sadly, I can't really help you there. Talk to Joecatz.

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