Fantasy Baseball Draft 2014: Team Preview - Tampa Bay Rays
Jason's Fantasy Baseball Analysis: Team Preview - Tampa Bay Rays
March 13, 2014
Team Preview - Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are a baseball enigma in the sense that they have very little star power yet they are constantly in playoff contention. It takes good players to win and since there are very few superstars on this team, that means there is great fantasy value on this roster.
Can't Miss Picks: Evan Longoria has become the face of the Rays' franchise and he is also their most dependable fantasy player. Longoria can be penciled in for around 30 home runs, 100 RBI, and a solid .275 average. There is a chance Longoria's numbers could go up this year since he will have Will Meyers giving him some lineup protection. Longoria is a solid second round pick this year, and he will make an excellent asset to any fantasy team.
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Sleepers and Value Picks: The Rays are a team that make their living by finding pitching prospects and undervalued veterans and that formula is driving this team again. Grant Balfour is the undervalued veteran that was brought in to be their closer, and given the number of close games the Rays are in every year, Balfour could be on the verge of a career year. Matt Moore and Chris Archer are two pitching prospects that are being undervalued this season. Both Moore and Archer are up and coming pitchers that should out produce their current draft day price.
Breakouts: Alex Cobb had a mini breakout season last year, but he was only able to pitch a total of 143.1 innings. Cobb had excellent numbers last year with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP to go along with his 11-3 record. Cobb should be able to go 200+ innings in 2014 and that means he is ready to have a high profile breakout season. Cobb's numbers show that he has the potential to be a top 10 fantasy pitcher and 2014 could be the last time that he can be drafted at a discount price.
Busts: Ben Zobrist has been a solid player for many years now, but some of his numbers are starting to trend in the wrong direction. Zobrist has the feeling of a 20/20 player, but he has actually never had a 20/20 season. Last year Zobrist only hit 12 home runs and only stole 11 bases despite having over 600 at bats. Zobrist still has multiple positions eligibilty which helps to increase his fantasy value, but Zobrist will most likely perform at a level that is lower than his draft day price.
Bounce Back Candidates: This team is full of consistent players so there is really no one on this team that is in need of a "rebound" season, but David Price is a player that could stand to improve on last year. Price's wins and strikeouts took major dives last year, but his ERA and WHIP were right on par with his career averages. Price had a very rough start last year, but he was able to rebound over the course of the season as his post all-star ERA (2.87) was a run lower than his first half ERA (3.94). Price's decreased strikeout rate is a concern, but he showed he can be a dominant pitcher in the second half last season without a high strikeout rate. Fantasy owners will be a little hesitant to pull the trigger to get Price on draft day and that means he could become a draft day bargain.
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