Phantasy Philes: Getting Past The Big Names

This week's edition of the Philes goes out to all you NL only and/or really deep leaguers. Instead of discussing all the big names like Jim Thome and Billy Wagner, we'll delve into the lesser-known Phillies that may end up becoming a part of your team in the later rounds of the draft.

When you get down to the nitty gritty of an NL only draft, or maybe in a league that has 14 or more teams, you may have to look toward backup closers in an effort to scrounge up as many saves as possible. After all, the pool of closers is cut in half, so those remaining guys are going to be spread thin throughout the league. Thanks to Ed Wade, the Phils actually have a few guys that could take over as closer should Billy Wagner get hurt. The first we'll look at, and probably the most likely candidate to step in should there be a need, is Tim Worrell. Since Rob Nen was out for much of last year, Worrell found himself as a team's closer for the first time in his career. Though he did take his lumps along the way, Worrell was about to come out with 38 saves in 45 attempts. Those seven blown saves may not bee too reassuring, but it's important to remember that this was his first time in such a situation. Given the opportunity I'd be willing to bet that Tim would be able to seal the deal on a greater percentage of save chances now that he has more experience under his belt. Even if Wagner does stay healthy all year and doesn't miss a beat, Worrell will probably end up with a handful of saves from the days Bowa wants to rest Billy. Also, if your league counts holds, look for Worrell to rack up a good number (he had 23 in 2002).

The other new Fightin' Phil that could end up with a few saves is Roberto Hernandez. Despite being 39 years old, and coming off the first season without a save since his rookie year, Roberto will probably catch a save or two that falls through the cracks. Going back to the hypothetical where Wagner gets hurt though, should Worrell prove unreliable, Hernandez will most likely be third in line to take over. Roberto is another bullpen arm that could end up with some holds as well. He compiled 19 with the Braves last season. Unless you're desperate for the odd save or the holds, then you'll probably want to stay away from Hernandez. He's had an ERA over 4.00 for the last three-year in a row, and isn't getting any younger.

On the offense, one guy you might want to consider in the final rounds of your NL only draft is Shawn Wooten. Though Wooten would probably be most effective as a DH, he will serve the Phillies as a pinch hitter that can plan first, third and catch should the need arise. With good power and a .281 batting average, Wooten could be worth something if an infielder went down with an injury. If you take his career numbers and average them out over 162 games, you'll see that Shawn would have a line of .281/13/58, which is actually worth something in NL only. The only problem for Wooten will be getting the at bats, but if he can take care of that, then his fantasy owners will be very happy.

Finally, we have the most obvious bench player of value in Chase Utley. If Utley does in fact spend the season with the Phillies and not in Scranton, then chances are Larry Bowa will find a way to work him in the lineup as much as possible. We all know how much potential Chase has, and how he's torn up the minors, so now it's time for him to prove his worth in the majors. In 134 at bats last year, Utley had a meager .239 average, with two homers, two steals and 21 RBI. Like Wooten, Utley's success is obviously dependent upon how many at bats he can get. Should the at bats fall in his lap, look for Chase to improve significantly over last season's performance.

That'll do it for this edition folks. Until next time, I'm out like A.J. Feeley.

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