Phantasy Philes: Who's Hot and Who's Not

In this week's Philes, we'll take another look at who's hot and who's not. This is where we decide who to start, bench, add, or drop, so if your fantasy team is in need of a shot in the arm, I suggest you end the game of solitaire and pay close attention. Along with all that, as always, we have our non-Phillie of the week. I hate to jump ahead, but I bet you'll never guess who's in the "not" section. Here's a hint, his name starts with a "P" and ends with a "at Burrell."

June must be Marlon Byrd's favorite month of the year, because he's been hotter than Andy Reid in a winter coat on a 90-degree day. Though Marlon is still without a home run this season, he's brought has average up almost 100 points since his return from that lacerated knee. That batting average turn around has a 15/31 (.484) June to thank. Even though Byrd has been hitting so well, he has still yet to reach double digit RBI this season, however his place in the batting order is largely responsible for that statistic. With the average coming around, I wouldn't be surprised to see Bowa move Marlon up in the lineup, which would only help his stats across the board. For now, Byrd is just an NL only, or extremely deep league pick up, but should he start to hit for some power and find himself in a more favorable position in the order, Marlon could quickly become a strong addition in any league.

Randy Wolf is the man. It's as simple as that. Currently ranking in the NL top 10 in six different categories, and just three wins away from tying his career high, Randy looks to be a no brainer for All-Star consideration. Despite a bumps in the road before and after that inexplicable five inning outing against the Mets a few weeks back, Wolf has been able to keep his cool and get right back to business with three straight wins. On pace for 19 wins and over 200 strikeouts by season's end, Randy appears to be quietly creeping into the top ten pitchers to have on your fantasy team with relatively few people realizes. To exemplify how little respect Wolf is getting in some leagues, I offer this. In one league, and this is the truth, Randy was traded straight up for our beloved Joe Table. That's right, a guy who can help a fantasy team across the board in pitching categories was dealt for a guy that can barely contribute in one. If the Wolf owner in your league is like the pitiful one in this example, then I suggest you stop reading this right now, and go offer that man/woman a trade. By the way, the Wolf Pack's fantasy value is sky high also, so if you league counts Veterans Stadium fan groups, then I feel sorry for you.

Who's not:

If you couldn't figure out which Phillie I was hinting at in the opening, it was Pat Burrell. What's that you say? Surprised Burrell would be considered as someone that isn't lighting it up this season? Well, believe it or not, some fantasy owners just don't appreciate stat lines of .198/11/28 from one of their top picks. Seriously though, Pat stinks. To make matters worse, Burrell doesn't appear to be getting any better at the plate. His .171/1/3 June stat line hardly looks like that of a player worth a Major League roster spot, let alone a fantasy league one. That being said, I still think Burrell will find his stroke eventually. The man just has way too much talent to keep this horrid pace up all season, so for now, I would just bench him and wait for things to click.

As we predicted a while back, Brett Myers has hit one of those rookie speed bumps. Though three of his last four starts have been losses, and his ERA has steadily risen since late May, I wouldn't worry just yet. The reason (or at least part of it) for his recent troubles is a pretty simple one. In his last six starts, Brett has allowed six home runs, obviously significantly higher than the two he allowed in his first six starts of the season. Now, there's probably more to it than that, but I doubt it's anything that Joe Kerrigan can't fix. The bottom line here is that those of you with Myers on a fantasy team shouldn't hit the panic button yet, since he should pull out of this funk soon.

Think of this week's non-Phillie as an insurance policy on Myers, or any other struggling starter for that matter, just incase that worst case scenario does come true. In fact, our non-Phillie has actually faced the Phillies twice in a row this season with a pretty good amount of success. Just two years older than Mr. Myers, Brandon Webb is also having a successful rookie season. The extreme groundball pitcher with a great sinker, so great that Mark Grace has said it's the best he's ever seen, has found himself in a key role for the D'backs now that RJ and Schilling are on the shelf with injuries. Webb will help your team out in pretty much every pitching category. The only negative associated with Brandon so far this season has been his lack of run support, which is a hard variable to predict, so the wins might one shaky spot. Aside from that though, Webb is a fine addition to any fantasy staff.

Alright, that'll do it for this week folks. If you have any fantasy baseball questions you need an opinion on, feel free to send ‘em over to qwaz21@aol.com with "PBN" in the subject line. Until next week, I'm out like the New Jersey Nets.


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