Following our most recent article in this series focusing on the Philadelphia Phillies’ outfield, it’s time to turn our attention inward to the infield dirt. The players we talk about today are the ones more likely to be covered in sand, dirt, and clay at the end of the day, as opposed to the outfielder’s chances of being covered in grass stains. The pitchers, let’s be honest, they seldom get dirty (but they do occasionally!)
Getting right into it, let’s set the baseline: the Phillies’ five starters across the infield all have fantasy baseball value worth considering as we enter the 2024 season.
Unless an injury arises, no one on the bench has any current fantasy value of worth and should not be drafted. As such, however, that means we have five potential draft targets to talk about, so let’s get to it.
Phillies Infield Rankings
Trea Turner (SS)
Trea Turner is currently slated as the #13 overall pick on Fantasy Pros Consensus Rankings for 2024. He is surrounded by talents such as Shohei Ohtani (batter) at #12 and Jose Ramirez at #14. Among the top 12 ahead of Turner are two other shortstop-eligible players, Bobby Witt Jr. and Mookie Betts, who are both top-five caliber players in their own right.
Clearly, Turner did not have a great start to his 2023 season and Phillies tenure. Despite that, he turned it around into a strong season across the 5×5 grid.
|Rank Among Position
Turner is an across-the-board offensive talent at shortstop. Even in 2023, he was among the top six at his position across the grid. And 2023 was his worst season across the board since when he was a rookie in 2015. The ceiling is high for the shortstop.
His ranking indicates that Turner will go in the late first or early second round, depending on your league’s configuration. If he gives clocks in the same year as 2023, there’s some disappointment in play there. If not, if Turner returns to his 2022-caliber season in Los Angeles or if he drops into the middle of the second, then you have no reason not to draft Turner.
Bryce Harper (1B/DH)
Sitting a little further down in the second round is an old friend of Turner’s, and now the mitt that he will be throwing to all season long at first.
Bryce Harper is a first baseman now, and he seems to have no plans of going anywhere else. I have to admit, from a fantasy perspective, it would totally change Harper’s value if he were still considered eligible to play in the outfield, but those days have seemingly passed.
Regardless, the MV3, number 3, playing the third position, is the third-highest ranking player at his position. Slated #18 overall, Freddie Freeman and Matt Olson are the two ahead of him on the list, standing at #7 and #15, respectively.
Admittedly, Olson and Harper are really a coin flip between the two of them. Given, however, that this is Philly Sports Network, if you are reading this, you are likely to take Harper over Olson if given the choice.
Moving on from team biases, let’s look at the numbers for the Phillies first baseman.
|Rank Among Position
Despite returning in May last season, Harper really did not find his stride at the plate until the second half of the season. His average remained consistent from the first half to the second half (.291 up to .296), and he swiped the same amount of bags each half.
But Harper’s true value is in the power and run production of his bat. During the first half of the season, across 56 games played, Bryce Harper only hit three home runs. He scored 33 runs while only batting in 23.
The second half? 18 home runs, 51 runs scored, and 49 RBI over 70 games played. Extrapolate Harper’s second half to a full healthy season, and you get the .293 average with close to 40 home runs, over 100 runs scored, and approximately 90 RBI. These are the numbers the Phillies expect to see from their best player.
Harper still has it, and now, fully healthy after a clean offseason, he will be ready to show the Majors what he has in 2024.
(On an unrelated note, if you intend to draft Shohei Ohtani’s bat in 2024, expect a similar issue in offensive production early on. While not a major power source, the elbow is still very much involved in a batter’s swing.)
J.T. Realmuto (C)
Catchers are always a very intriguing position to talk about in fantasy baseball. A catcher’s true value to a team is based on defense, pop speed, how they manage their pitchers, command a game, and how they frame the strike zone (at least until the automatic strike zone takes that away whenever it inevitably arrives).
That being said, any value a catcher brings to the table offensively is normally extra icing on the cake for the organization. In fantasy baseball, the offense is truly all that matters. And regardless of where J.T. Realmuto’s defense continues to progress as he ages (he is still among the best in the game), it’s his offensive production we are here to talk about.
|Rank Among Position
Top-ten in most of the grid, first in steals for some added value. And 2023 was a seemingly down year for Realmuto as his average was a career-low .252 (nearly a full 20 points lower than his previous three years with the Phillies).
Regardless of 2023, Realmuto is still highly ranked amongst his fellow catchers. Adley Rutschman is the top-ranked fantasy catcher going into 2024, sitting at #50 overall in consensus. Realmuto stands next on the list at #73, with Will Smith and William Contreras as the other two catchers in the top 100 at #80 and #83, respectively. Realistically, if you want plus-value out of your catcher, those are the five to get. Otherwise, wait and grab one later on.
For Realmuto, that places him in the 7th or 8th round of the draft, depending on league size. If you want value from your catcher position, there is no reason not to grab Realmuto if he is present, especially if he falls to round 8 or 9.
Bryson Stott (2B)
When it comes to Turner, Harper, and Realmuto, all three have proven their value time and again to fantasy owners everywhere. Bryson Stott, on the other hand, is still very new and less of a surefire pick for fantasy purposes.
On the field, Stott sports a great glove at first and a consistent bat in the bottom half of the lineup for the Phillies. Unfortunately, the lower half of the lineup tends to bring a fantasy player’s value down as chances of scoring and RBI opportunities don’t often trickle down well.
That being said, Stott is still slated as a top-ten fantasy second baseman for 2024. Tenth among the position and #105 overall, Stott is likely to go anywhere from the 9th to the 11th round of your fantasy draft, depending on league size. With a top-three finish in both average (.280) and stolen bases (31), Stott gives you all that a traditional fantasy player expects from their second baseman right there.
Should Stott be moved up in the Phillies’s order in 2024, however? As his runs scored and chances for RBI increase, you just might have a potential breakout candidate at second in Stott.
Alec Bohm (3B/1B)
Now, for the final member of the Phillies’ infield: Alec Bohm. Among third-base-eligible players, Bohm is #15 overall and #151 on the consensus rankings. If you draft Alec Bohm as your starting third baseman, unless you are in an NL-only league or a 16-team league, you are in trouble.
Bohm’s .274 average, 20 home runs, 74 runs scored, and 97 RBI are all respectable in their own right and match up relatively well with some other players in this article. Here is the issue, however: third base is one of the deepest positions in fantasy baseball. Jose Ramirez, Austin Riley, Rafael Devers, Gunnar Henderson, and Elly De La Cruz are the top-five fantasy third basemen.
Despite the ranking, however, I am pegging Alec Bohm for a specific need on your fantasy baseball team in 2024. Turner, Harper, and Realmuto all automatically become cornerstones in their position for you on your team. Stott, meanwhile, is a bit of a sleeper at second base.
Bohm, with his 1B/3B eligibility, is a great bench grab for your corner infield, with the potential to work into your lineup as a utility player throughout the season.
No one wants to see one of their top fantasy players go down with an injury, along with the inevitable hunt to replace the player on the waiver wire. Drafting Bohm (likely in rounds 13 through 16) is a great depth grab. And, if Bohm finds the secret sauce to return to his near-Rookie of the Year season in 2020, his value at that draft slot would skyrocket for your team as well.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Previously in this series, we looked at the Phillies starting pitchers and outfielders. Unless otherwise stated, assume any analysis is primarily meant for 5×5 category leagues. Adjust accordingly to your specific fantasy team’s settings.