Fantasy

Ibanez hot, but I'm not sold yet

Raul Ibanez is batting .342 with 18 runs scored, six HRs, 16 RBIs and an OPS of 1.087.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The new left fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, is currently the "toast of the town" which is hard to do with the fickle Philadelphia fans. But he's playing well and more importantly, hustling which is what Phillies fans require.

Ibanez won last night's game with a grand slam in the eighth inning and has been hitting the ball solidly all season. He's batting .342 with 18 runs scored, six HRs, 16 RBIs and an OPS of 1.087. He's also playing a better outfield than the man he replaced - Pat Burrell.

With all that, I'm still not convinced he was the right off-season move. And I'm not sure by season's end that Ibanez will have as high a fantasy value as he has today.

Here's what would concern me as a fantasy owner with Ibanez on my roster.

Ibanez is just 2-for-11 against lefthanders with no home runs and two RBIs. And for his career, he is just a .267 hitter against southpaws versus .294 against righties.

Why is that so important?

Because the opposition is going to throw lefthanders against the Phillies as much as possible this season. They must do this because when a righthander goes to the mound, the Phillies lineup is much more dangerous.

In 2008, the Phillies were 60-48 against righties and 29-27 against lefties. That lineup included right-handed hitting Burrell. But Burrell is in Tampa Bay and the heart of the Phillies lineup is unbalanced towards the left side with Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Ibanez.

The only way the Phillies will be successful this season and in turn Ibanez will see enough right-handed pitching to keep his statistics high, is if Werth stays healthy and continues to pound right-handed pitching like he did in 2008 (Werth hit 16 HRs against lefties in just 155 at-bats and his OPS was an outstanding 253 points higher). If Werth should falter in any way, the team will get a steady diet of lefties all year long.

For me it's a gamble and I might be tempted to trade Ibanez while I can get the most for him.

Phillies Lineup Three through Six - Career Splits

Player OPS vs. Right OPS vs. Left
Chase Utley 0.920 0.867
Ryan Howard 1.063 0.783
Jayson Werth 0.758 0.927
Raul Ibanez 0.855 0.731


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.