Fantasy Baseball: Team Previews

By Jason Fukao

Philadelphia Phillies

Projected Line-Ups

SS: Jimmy Rollins

RF: Shane Victorino

2B: Chase Utley

1B: Ryan Howard

LF: Pat Burrell

CF: Aaron Rowand

3B: Wes Helms

C: Rod Barajas

Projected Rotation

Freddy Garcia

Brett Myers

Jamie Moyer

Cole Hamels

Adam Eaton/Jon Lieber

Closer: Tom Gordon

Player Spotlight

RF: Shane Victorino – Victorino will finally have a consistent spot in the starting lineup. Last year, he broke into the starting right field role after Bobby Abreu was traded to the New York Yankees in late July, and since then to the end of the season, he hit .311 and scored 42 times in 233 AB. This was done mostly in the 2 hole between Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Expect even bigger numbers this year as he will be penciled in as the second batter and protected by Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell.

SP: Freddy Garcia – The “chief” will be bringing his slider to the National League this season for the first time in his career. After nine seasons with the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox, Garcia joins the Phillies rotation as the ace and will be expected to bring the same kind of success he had in the American League. The switch should help lower his ERA (career 4.01 ERA) and WHIP (career 1.29 WHIP) and even increase his win total. Even with a mediocre ERA and WHIP, Garcia has always been able to win, compiling 16+ wins four times in his nine-year career with an all-time record of 116-71. He comes to a tough ballpark for pitchers, but this shouldn’t affect Garcia since he was in a similar situation in hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field.

Seattle Mariners

Projected Line-Up

CF: Ichiro Suzuki

3B: Adrian Beltre

CF: Raul Ibanez

1B: Richie Sexson

RF: Jose Guillen

DH: Jose Vidro

C: Kenji Johjima

2B: Jose Lopez

SS: Yuniesky Betancourt

Projected Rotation

Felix Hernandez

Jarrod Washburn

Miguel Batista

Jeff Weaver

Horacio Ramirez

Closer: J.J. Putz

Player Spotlight

CF: Raul Ibanez – Ibanez had a career year last year with the Mariners, producing career-highs of 33 homeruns, 123 RBI and 103 runs scored. These numbers caught the attention of fantasy owners last season and has risen his stock this year, but be cautious. He is now 35 years old, and not many have career years this late in their career (excluding super-naturals like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens). If Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson can finally put it together, they will definitely help Ibanez. However, be cautious of Ichiro Suzuki, who seems discontent with being in Seattle and possibly wants out. An unhappy Ichiro can only mean decreased numbers for Ibanez.

C: Kenji Johjima – The first catcher ever to be imported from Japan didn’t have much trouble adjusting to the major leagues last season. He slugged 18 homeruns, drove in 76 runs and hit at a solid .291 clip while only striking out 46 times in 506 AB. The homers and RBIs ranked him 7th among catchers last year in those categories. Expect a hike in those numbers, especially his batting average. He does not let the language barrier get in the way of his studies, as he is known among his peers for being a student of the game. He is known to keep two black binders: one to record information on his pitching staff, and the other on opposing pitchers.

Images courtesy of AP Photo.

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