The Philadelphia Phillies, who in 2012 scored their fewest runs as a team (684) in 15 years, made two deals in the past week in an attempt to address their offense.
First, they found their new center fielder and possible leadoff hitter, acquiring Ben Revere from the Minnesota Twins Thursday in exchange for right-handed starting pitchers Vance Worley and Trevor May. Then, in a deal finally approved by Michael Young on Saturday -- as a 10-and-5 player he had the right to refuse a trade -- the Phillies acquired Young from the Texas Rangers in exchange for right-handed relievers Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla.
Revere was the highest-rated in either deal on the 2012 Player Rater, finishing 98th overall. By moving from Minnesota to Philadelphia, at worst he merely diminished any prospects of regression from his numbers. As the potential leadoff man for a Phillies team with a chance at getting a full season from Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Young, Revere's runs scored total should be at least the 79 he scored in 147 games between the Twins and Triple-A Rochester. He might also rival the 46 stolen bases he had in those contests, being that the Phillies lineup is still lacking enough firepower to sit back and wait only for home runs. They'll need to get creative at times; utilizing Revere is a way they can do it.
Revere's .294 batting average and .333 on-base percentage might be the best he'll fare, however, being that he's more of a slap-hitting groundballer who uses his speed to leg out base hits. He was second in the majors in infield hits with 32, per FanGraphs. He isn't as free-swinging as you might think; his 25 percent chase rate (swings at pitches outside the strike zone) ranked 43rd out of 144 qualified hitters. Revere is selective enough that, even on the lower end, he might manage a .270 batting average and .310 on-base percentage. In that event, the only concern for his fantasy value would be if the Phillies opted to bat him eighth.
Perhaps a steals/runs player might sound exciting to fantasy owners -- it might warrant comparisons to a 2012 Phillies outfielder, Juan Pierre -- but in fantasy, that has a heck of a lot more value than in the real game. Pierre routinely contended for top-50-overall status during his prime, and while Revere might not get there, he has a legitimate shot at a top-100 finish on the 2013 Player Rater.
Young, meanwhile, should occupy a run-producing spot for the Phillies, perhaps between Utley and Howard but more likely in the fifth or sixth slot. Considering Utley has a .377 on-base percentage and Howard .339 since their 30th birthdays, that means a healthy number of runners on base to drive home. Young's 67 RBIs last season might have been his fewest in 10 seasons, but during the past decade he has averaged an RBI per eight plate appearances, and he might yet approach that level in 2013 if he can merely restore some of his lost batting average.
Young's .277 mark was also a 10-year low, and he had a higher rate of ground balls in 2012 (53.0 percent) than in any of the three years before it, his rate rising in each season since 2009. Young quietly seemed to transform into a platoon hitter -- he batted .333/.371/.423 against left-handers, but he hit only .257/.291/.352 against righties -- so we'll see whether the change of scenery will help reverse the trend. Citizens Bank Park isn't as extreme a hitters' park as Rangers Ballpark and in fact has increasingly leaned towards pitching in recent seasons, but it's also not a bad destination for Young.
A thought: Could it be that scuttling all over the infield in Texas might've created an unnecessary distraction, but having a clear, committed role from the start in Philadelphia might help? It's possible, and fantasy owners who take a chance on him can exploit his first base-third base eligibility -- and second base if your league has a 10-game requirement. Young should man third base every day for the Phillies, and he's worth drafting under the hopes he'll rebound to at least .280-12-80 numbers.
With the move, Young vaults into my top 250 overall players, placing 247th, which makes him the No. 30 first baseman and No. 22 third baseman. Don't forget about him if he lingers into the mixed league final rounds.
Among the lesser names impacted by the deals:
Worley: If healthy, he'll be one of the Twins' starters. Though the move to the American League isn't desirable, landing in Minnesota should soften the blow, considering the relative strength (or lack thereof) of the divisional competition as well as the team's pitching-friendly ballpark. It's picking arbitrary endpoints, yes, but from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, Worley had 12 wins, a 3.08 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 8.47 K's per nine innings in 28 games (26 starts). Armed with an improved cutter, Worley showed the ability to be slightly more than a matchups candidate in fantasy, and a strong spring could make him a late-round sleeper.
May: One of the Phillies' top prospects, May had a mediocre year in Double-A, posting a 4.87 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 28 starts for Reading. His command has been a question throughout his career -- he has averaged 4.73 walks per nine as a pro -- and he's at least a year away from being a fantasy option.
Lindblom: He'll join the Rangers' stable of late-inning relievers, ranking noticeably behind Joe Nathan and Joakim Soria. Though Lindblom has the skills to one day be a saves candidate, he shouldn't be more than an AL-only ratio helper in 2013.