Phantasy Philes: Changing Player Values

In the short time since the end of the All-Star break, there have been a good number of changes for the Fightin' Phils. The most noteworthy has obviously been the addition of Mike Williams to the bullpen, but some preexisting members of the club have seen some changes of their own. This week in the Philes, we'll take a look at those changes, as well as offer up a non-Phillie to consider adding to your fantasy rosters.

With his first appearance back with the Phils under his belt, Mike Williams finds himself in a new role with his new/old team. At first glance, Mike's numbers make you wonder how this guy was able to make the All-Star team. I don't know about you, but when I think of All-Star caliber performances, a first half 6.44 ERA doesn't really come into the equation. However, to his credit, Williams has been able to pull out 25 saves in 30 chances. What makes this season seem even worse for Mikey is the fact that he's coming off a career year, where he finished with 46 saves and an ERA of 2.94. So, what's the problem this season? Well, it's hard to pinpoint, but simply put, he's just giving up too many hits and walks (duh). The sad thing is that July has been his worst month yet. His opponents' batting average in that period has been a vomit inducing .387, and his ERA is near double digits, but he's still managed to save four games out of six opportunities. Before cursing Eddie Wade for making this deal, remember the fact that despite Williams' poor stats across the board, he's still been able to get the job done as closer. Though he won't be closer with the Phillies, at least not yet, that kind of clutch performance should come in handy. Plus, like Burrell's sub .200 batting average, the former Pirate should bring his ERA back to a respectable figure.

Since Mike will pitch his innings before the ninth as long as Jose Mesa can get the job done, fantasy owners who had him for his saves should probably go ahead and drop him for a more productive reliever. Don't forget about the bald headed All-Star though, because if Mr. Table does finally fall apart, Williams should become the frontrunner for the closer's role, since he has more experience than anyone else in the pen.

Our last installment of the Philes featured a few predictions on the second half numbers of Pat Burrell. If you remember, we discussed the importance of a hot start after play resumed from the midsummer break and how that could give him the necessary confidence to turn his season around. Well, so far Pat isn't exactly tearing it up, hitting just .238 in the last week, but he is in the midst of a five game hitting streak. This streak, along with the hometown ground cheering his every move in an effort to help him get back on his feet, don't be surprised if he continues to improve over the next week or so. If you have him on your fantasy team's bench, watch the Phillies box scores closely, since he could be worthy of being activated in the not too distant future.

Someone that's shown an unbelievable amount of improvement since the break has been Pat's outfield mate, Bob Abreu. The right fielder has hit .565 with a homer, seven RBIs, and two swiped bases during his present six game-hitting streak. July as a whole has been a great month for Abreu. He's gotten a hit in all but three games, to bring his average for the month up to .391. Now that Bob has his average in the .290s, he's officially doing it all. Sure a five-category guy is a welcome addition to any team, but for those in the basement right now, trading for Abreu could be a big step in the right direction.

Though Brandon Lyon lost his job as the Red Sox' closer a while back, his move to Pittsburgh should allow him a bit more ninth inning work this season. After Williams moved across the state, and before Lyon showed up in the Steel City, Mike Lincoln got the nod to work his magic in the team's save situations. So far, Lincoln is two for two when it comes to saves, which means most fantasy owners have jumped on the bandwagon already. For those that couldn't grab Lincoln, and still need some help in saves, Lyon might be worth a roster spot. The papers in Pittsburgh are saying that Brandon might be used as closer for the Pirates eventually this year, but no word yet on exactly if or when. My guess is that Lincoln will falter sooner or later, giving Lyon, who already has nine saves on the season, a chance to get his foot in the door.

That'll do it for this week folks. Have a fantasy baseball question you want an opinion on? Send ‘em to with "PBN" in the subject line and I'll throw in my two cents. Until next time, I'm out like Ken Griffey Jr. (again).

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