Fantasy Baseball is Back

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, March 11, 2008 12:51 PM Comments: 0

Phillies Nation Fantasy Baseball is back again for the third year. We’re organizing it through ESPN.com and you have to be specifically invited to join a league. We got plenty of spots, so you’re all invited. However, to get your official email invite, you will need to fill out the form on the Phillies Nation Fantasy Baseball Signup page. This year you will be able to request placement in one of our 6 (or more) divisions – so invite some friends. Prizes for the 6 winners last year included Phillies tickets, Howard-Utley ’08 gear, Phillies hats, and Phillies travel bags.

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Fantasy Update

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, July 12, 2007 06:32 AM Comments: 0

Being that we are at the halfway point of the baseball season, I thought it would be appropriate to give an update on the fantasy baseball season.  As you remember we have six divisions and here are the first-place teams and their owners:

  • Schuylkill – Shadyside Swingers, Julie Michael
  • Delaware – Mark the Shark, Mark McClure
  • Poquessing – Chevy Chase Hill Raiders, Hank Park
  • Cobbs Creek – Kruk and Nails, Parker Dixon
  • Pennypack – Let’s Play Two, Larry Beckler
  • Wissahickon – Flatutory Apes, Rocco Qatar

The Chevy Chases Hill Raiders lead the entire league with a score of 108, though the Flatutory Apes are not far behind at 107.5.  Remember the overall winner will take home a Phillies grab bag of merchandise.  So stop neglecting your team like I do and get those injured players out of the starting lineup.

Speaking of injuries, the second half of the season has got to be more favorable to the Phils when it comes to the disabled list.  Jon Lieber, Matt Smith and Freddy Garcia are already done for the season; but Brett Myers and Tom Gordon should be back by the end of the month.  Although Jayson Werth is the only current casualty of the lineup, there’s always a chance Ryan Howard would have to return to the DL – same with Rowand and Burrell.  Baseball executives sometimes like to say that having a player return from the DL is as good as a trade in the second half of the season.  But with Myers and Gordon slated for the bullpen, the Phillies will still need to make a move for a starter.


Howard’s Hole

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, March 26, 2007 10:04 AM Comments: 0

Don’t look now, but the Phillies are quietly having an awful spring.  Although they looked strong against the Yankees last week, they certainly have not been playing quality baseball as a team.  Going into Monday the Phils are 9-15-2 this spring, which is good enough for the third to last spot in the Grapefruit League standings.  If it helps any, the Mets have an even worse record at 9-18, but the Braves are cruising along at 15-9.




























































Most everyone agrees that if the Phillies do not get off to a hot start (or at least not a cold start), there will be a slim chance of making the playoffs.  This is precisely why it troubles me that the team is doing so poorly in Florida.  If my memory serves me correct, the Phillies have had only one Spring Training above .500 since in 1993.  But although there is no direct correlation between a successful Spring and playing in October, there is no denying the fact that this does not bode well for the start of the season. 

In particular, the lackluster performance of a few key players this March might be a cause of concern.  Here are the team’s stats prior to Sunday’s 10-2 victory over the Twins; one in which Chase Utley hit 2 home runs in a Cole Hamels win. 

The first three batters in the lineup have put up some impressive numbers thus far, and last week’s scouting session confirms this.  Rollins, Utley and Victorino have been making good contact, moving each other around the bases, and scoring runs.  The concern lies in the next three batters, Howard, Burrell and Rowand.  Ryan Howard began Spring Training hot but has since fizzled out (e.g. his recent 0 for 17 slump) while piling up the Ks.  Last week, after another 0 for 4 game with two strikeouts, Howard stayed late for some extra BP.  Everyone seems to think his numbers will drop this year, let’s just hope Spring is not an indication of how far.  As for Burrell and Rowand, well, they are Burrell and Rowand.  So far this March they share 24 strikeouts in 100 combined at bats.  Should we be worried?

Phillies Nation Fantasy League Update:  Thanks to everyone who has signed up so far, there are over 70 participants in 6 leagues.  If you have received an invite but have not yet signed up – you must do it today or your spot will be lost.  There about a dozen people still waiting for invites and rather than open another league, we’d prefer to make sure the current ones get filled.  If you’re one of the people waiting, don’t worry, you’ll get your invite tomorrow.  Links to all the leagues can be found on our Fantasy Baseball page.  Finally, don’t forget this Thursday, March 29th is draft day, check your league to find out your exact time.


Phils Luke Warm in Florida

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, March 12, 2007 09:58 AM Comments: 0

Interested in a quick recap of this weekend’s games?  That’s whats on tap for today along with an update on some exciting Phillies Nation promotions.  Of course, we start with baseball.

In yesterday’s game, Jamie Moyer pitched five scoreless innings but was let down by the bullpen, namely Fabio Castro who gave up 4 runs in the seventh in a 5-3 loss to Detroit.  The Phils offense was powered by a Chase Utley home run and a show of speed from the top of the lineup.  With two outs in the fourth, Jimmy Rollins made it to first, stole second, and was subsequently driven in on a Shane Victorino single.  On the radio, Sarge mentioned that, "Two-out runs are what separate men from boys."  Still, it was the Phillies’ second loss of the Spring to the Tigers and they now stand at 5-7 in the Grapefruit League.

On Saturday, the Phillies medium-term catching prospect, Jason Jaramillo, hit a 3-run home run to propel the club to a 6-4 victory over Tampa Bay in a split-squad game.  Elsewhere that day, the rest of the team dropped a 3-2 decision to the Astros in 10 innings.  Houston (7-4) travels to Clearwater today to take on the Phils.

Regarding the fantasy leagues, everyone who signed before 9 am on Sunday should have received an email invite.  If you haven’t but think you should, please email us.  The rest of the invites will go out within the next couple of days.  We have also added two new leagues.  In addition to the Schuylkill and Delaware divisions, we now have Poquessing and Cobbs Creek.  If you still would like to request an invite, submit your email in the box below or to the left.

Finally, a friendly reminder that Phillies Nation will be broadcasting live from Clearwater starting on Wednesday.  We’ll bring you first hand accounts of the rotation controversy, prospects for improving the bullpen, and up-and-coming Phillies, including an answer to the question, who is Greg Dobbs?  But even before that, another big Phillies Nation announcement comes tomorrow, so make sure you stop by again.


Phillies Nation Fantasy League 2007

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, March 09, 2007 02:15 PM Comments: 0

Phillies Nation Fantasy Baseball is back again for the second year.  This time around we’ll be organizing it through ESPN.com.  The system is a bit different in that you have to be specifically invited to join a league.  We got plenty of spots, so you’re all invited.  However, to get your official email invite, you will need to enter your email in the form below and on the following page make sure to check the "I want a Phillies Nation fantasy invite" box when finishing your submission.  It’s kind of a process, I know, but it’s worth it – this year there will be prizes.

Join the Phillies Nation Fantasy League 
As of now, there are two leagues set up, just like last year: Delaware Division and Schuylkill Division.  There will likely be more.  When you sign up you will be randomlly assigned a league, but if you want a specific league for yourself or your friends, just send me an email and I will send you the appropriate invites.  You can get all the rest of the details when you sign up.  This should be a lot of fun, so sign up now.
In other news, the Phils are battling with the Red Sox down in Clearwater today, and they’re currently down 4-3 in the third.  The Phillies 3-run first inning was capped off by a Wes Helms homer run, his second of the spring.


Lots of Phillies News

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, October 10, 2006 10:17 AM Comments: 0

The internet just got turned on at my new house in DC, so I have a backlog of Phillies news to report.  Let’s just dive right in.

  • The major stories coming out of the first round of the playoffs revolve around the Tigers knocking off the Yankees.  Let me first say, for those that watched the Tigers celebrate on TV, that looked like a lot of fun (even though they didn’t technically win anything).  Speculation out of New York and the Yankees HQ in Tampa Bay points towards the firing of the legendary Yankees skipper, Joe Torre.  Upon hearing the news, I immediately pictured him as the next Phillies manager.  It seems that will have to wait until next year with Uncle Charlie set to return to the Phils.  All signs still point to him as manager, despite his own recommendation to allow someone else to manage the Phillies next year.  Still, think of the possibility of having Torre fill one of the Phillies coaching vacancies.  How funny would it be with Larry Bowa directing third-base traffic in the Bronx if Joe Torre would land in South Philly.  The early odds though put Torre either heading to Texas or staying with the Yankees.
  • In case you missed it, check out Phillies Nation contributor Julie Michael in the Delco Times talking about the Phillies’ future.  
  • A recent interview with Jamie Moyer has his return in question.  When asked if he will stay in Philadelphia or desires to return to Seattle, he responded, "We have a mutual option, and at this point I don’t know what I’m going to do."
  • A Dodgers writer thinks Randy Wolf would be a good choice for the Angels.
  • Check out the off-season feature over at A Citizen’s Blog.  It features the 1950 Phillies, affectionately known as the Wiz Kids, with profiles of Phillies greats including Robin Roberts, Richie Ashburn, Jim Konstanty, Curt Simmons, and Del Ennis, coach Eddie Sawyer
  • If the Red Sox deal Manny in the offseason (which they never do) they will certainly consider picking up Pat Burrell as a replacement.  Perhaps a trade for Trot Nixon might even be in the cards?
  • The Phillies have added Florida State University to their 2007 spring training schedule.  The game will be on February 28 in Clearwater. 
  • Based on the relationship between wins and salaries, Baseball Prospectus released its Marginal Wins report.  The Marlins had the most bang for Jeffrey Loria’s buck; Dave Montgomery paid a bit too much.
  • Finally, congratulations goes out to the two division winners of the Phillies Nation Fantasy League.  In the Schuykill Division, it was the "Ligers" who took home the crown and in the Deleware Divsion, "kruk rules" proved most worthy.  Nice work everyone.

Monday Morning Notes

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, March 13, 2006 08:27 AM Comments: 0

First allow me to apologize for a slow past week.  Myself and a few other Phillies Nation staff were preoccupied ripping though the seedy underbellies of London and Amsterdam and well, as you can imagine, computers were not always accessible.  But we’re back in full force and ready to start enjoying and commenting on some Spring Training and WBC Phillies baseball.

Two quick reminders first before we play catch up on the latest Phillies news.  First, Phillies Nation will be sponsoring a tailgate party on Opening Day, April 3rd.  Details can be found at our myspace.com shadow site.  So, if you like free beer and hanging out with fun Phillies fans, I strongly suggest you attend – even if you don’t have tickets to the game.  Second, the two divisions of the Phillies Nation Fantasy League (Delaware and Schuykill) will be holding drafts over the course of the next few weeks, so be sure to keep an eye on the Yahoo! pages for info.  More draft details will be posted as the dates near, but if you’ve signed up and are not planning on participating, please delete your team as we having others still looking to join.  Now to some Phillies news.

The Phils have amassed a 7-4 record so far in the Grapefruit League, but have been plagued by sloppy play and injuries.  While some comfort may be found in the Phils’ ability to overcome adversity and win ball games, the plethora of mistakes are certainly troubling.  It is unlikely that during the regular season it will be as easy to win games featuring a host of errors, baserunning gaffes, and bunting mistakes as the Phils have experienced these past two weeks.  Nonetheless, there is not much need for concern on these issues as yet, the team is just shaking off the winter cobwebs.  Like we said in the last post, the Phils need to come out of the gate strong this season and the momentum of a successful spring training can only help.  I would like to see Jon Lieber and Jimmy Rollins in particular perform as well as they did in the closing months of last season.  Lieber is 10-1 with a 2.55 ERA in 13 starts in September and October over the last two regular seasons with the Phillies and Yankees and of course JRoll finished on fire with a 36-game hitting streak.

Speaking of starting with strength, two Phils have been flexing their muscles recently in Florida.  Ryan Howard, while beginning to make contact against lefty pitchers is still crushing the ball against righties.  He has smashed six homers so far despite battling a high fever during the first week.  Similarly, Alex Gonzalez, who only hit 9 HRs all of last season, has belted three dingers so far.  Hitting like this could greatly increase his chances to play more at third base.  With the extent of David Bell’s back injury still unknown, Charlie Manuel will continue to evaluate potential replacements.  To that end, Ruben Amaro, Jr. has mentioned that trade talks involving sending Tomas Perez to the Marlins have been put on hold.  Still, even with Bell out of the picture the Phils have a lot of backup infielders, so don’t be surprised if those talks resume shortly.

Finally, I wanted to share two things that have left me scratching my head.  The first involved Chase Utley’s Ryan Howard impersonation during the WBC game versus Scott Mathieson and Team Canada.  Upon smacking a towering drive to deep centerfield in the eighth inning, Utley prematurely raised his arms in celebration.  The ball was eventually caught at the warning track, leaving Utley looking foolish.  Though WBC games might have a different sense of competition about them, I’m puzzled by the move from the otherwise level-headed Utley.  Not that it’s a big deal as I’m sure we all forgive Chase, it was just a bit uncharacteristic for a guy everyone is looking to as the team leader.  The last puzzling piece of this post pertains to the 2006 Phillies slogan:  "Red Means Go."  While I can appreciate the traffic light pun, the line seems cornier than usual and not very catchy.  How about using the color in its more traditional sense, like "red hot" or idiomatically, like "paint the league red," or perhaps just something simple like "World Series or Bust."  Slogans might not seem like a big deal, but then again, why do phrases like "Whatever it Takes, Dude," "Ya Gotta Believe," or "Cowboy Up" invoke a sense of determination that "Red Means Go" does not?  Anyone have a suggestion for something better?


Phillies Nation Fantasy II: Adrian’s Revenge

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, February 09, 2006 07:37 PM Comments: 0

Due to popular demand, we have created a second fantasy baseball league.  Hence forth this new league will be known as the Schuylkill Division, while the first signups will be part of the Delaware Division.  As stated earlier a grand prize will be awarded to the winner – just now there is more competition.  Have no fear, the stakes will raise accordingly assuming we fill up both leagues.

To sign up for the Schuykill Division, click this link and enter the information below:

League ID:   75457
Password:   wildthing

The draft for the Schuykill Division is tentatively scheduled for March 29 at 8pm.  Sign up now!


Fantasy Baseball with Phillies Nation Friends

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, February 09, 2006 06:04 AM Comments: 0

The official Phillies Nation sponsored Fantasy Baseball league has been established and ready for signup.  There is room for 11 more teams so signup soon before it’s too late.  The draft will be sometime in March so if you sign up now you’ll have plenty of time to read the latest editions of both The Bill James Handbook and Baseball Prospectus 2006 and develop your cunning strategy.  A prize will be awarded to the winner courtesy of PhilliesNation.com but I’m not sure what it will be yet.  At first I thought tickets, but quickly realized the fantasy and real seasons end at the same time – though Phillies playoff tickets might still be a possibility.  But seriously folks, it’ll probably be some Phillies paraphernalia from the Phillies Nation store.

Ok, so the name of the league is Phillies Fans Invitational.  To join, click on the link and enter the following information (You’ll also need a Yahoo! account to signup):

League ID: 30962
Password: harryk

Remember there’s just 52 days until Opening Day.  Good luck.


High Expectations for Shane Victorino

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, February 01, 2006 07:53 PM Comments: 0

Though there will be several new faces on the Phillies 2006 roster, some of the best potential for new contributors lay in those players that were on the club last season but will be seeing more playing time.  While Chase Utley is the obvious example here, with the departures of Jason Michaels, Kenny Lofton, and Endy Chavez, there will be a lot more of Shane Victorino in the lineup.  Earlier today the Baseball Prospectus 2006 preview made it around to the Phillies and Jeff Hildebrand (of the under-construction Phillies Foul Balls) noted that Victorino is due for a breakout season:

Last year’s PECOTA projection didn’t see much future for [Victorino], projecting a .240 EQA and a -2.2 VORP.  In light of all that, this year’s PECOTA projection is nothing short of astounding, with an EQA of .266 and an a VORP of 18.4. What accounts for the change? In short, he finally put together the ability to handle the strike zone with a respectable amount of power. During his previous seasons he had occasionally shown decent plate discipline or a flash of power, but never both at the same time. Something fell into place last season and he was able to put up a .377 OBP at Scranton while still hitting 59 extra base hits.

…and as we all remember his 21 games for the Phillies at the end end of the season showed that he can contribute regularly and on occasion be counted on in the clutch.

So there will be a little bit of pressure riding on Shane this season.  He will see regular playing time in all the outfield positions - especially if Charlie Manuel reads our last post about giving Abreu a few days rest next year, but also if Burrell relieves Howard at first for any number of games.  If the latter does actually happen when a lefty is on the mound for the opposition, it could be a win-win situation in sitting Howard.  In switch-hitting Shane Victorino’s one and only AB versus a lefty last season he hit a 3-run home run.  Now of course that can’t happen all the time, nor should Howard not be given the chance to learn to hit lefties but it is nonetheless an interesting fact for Manuel to keep in mind when drafting the lineup.  Thus he should be a more than adequate replacement for Jason Michaels with significantly less off field drama.

Finally, a quick announcement:  Phillies Nation will be hosting a fantasy baseball league for the 2006 season – so order the new Baseball Prospectus, pop your Excel sheets open and get ready for a marathon year of roto fun.  More details as to where it will be organized through, prizes and availability will be coming in the next month but feel free to start getting excited now!

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