Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2011 Fantasy outlooks: Tampa Bay Rays

  •  

Listen to our latest Fantasy Baseball Podcast!

For the second time in three years, the winner of the AL East wasn't the Yankees or Red Sox. It was the Rays, who have done their best to compete with that elite duo despite not having near the history or resources.

But it may have finally caught up to them.

Granted, they're still in good shape long-term. They still have a minor-league system brimming with prospects like Desmond Jennings and Matt Moore, and they still have a strong nucleus in place with Evan Longoria and David Price. But anytime a team loses players of the caliber of Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza and Rafael Soriano, you have to expect it to fall off a bit.

The Rays haven't completely waved the white flag, signing Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez late in the offseason just in case the Yankees' suspect pitching leaves the door open for the wild card. But other than having household names, the two aren't so different from the other castoffs littering the roster.

At least the exodus of talent creates new opportunities for players who might not get to contribute otherwise. Matt Joyce and Dan Johnson offer intriguing OPS potential, and new middle infielders Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac could provide some cheap pop. But the Rays will likely spend much of the year shuffling different players in and out of the lineup, looking for a perfect combination that isn't there.

If nothing else, you can still count on their pitching staff. Starters Price, James Shields, Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis and Jeremy Hellickson (who is, by all indications, the next great thing), all deserve roster spots in Fantasy. And eventually, hard-throwing left-hander Jake McGee should be able to fill Soriano's void at closer even if he has to split opportunities with Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Peralta right out of the gate.

Bounce-back player ... Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF

Zobrist's performance last year prompted an "I told you so" from everyone who thought his 2009 season was a mirage -- and yeah, maybe it was too good to be true. But his 2010 was equally too bad to be true. He hit only .177 in the second half, which was clearly an anomaly for a player who hit .318 during his minor-league career. So what was his excuse? He had a sore back all year that no doubt affected his swing. With an offseason to recover and regroup, he should be able to continue his high-OPS ways, which actually began in 2008, well before anyone gave him any notice in Fantasy. True, he may never hit 27 homers again, but with his high walk rate and ability to steal 20 bases, he only needs to hit 15 or so to be a high-end Fantasy performer. The expected rebound in batting average should be enough to get him there.

Breakout ... Jeremy Hellickson, SP

Follow us on ...
Get the latest news and analysis from the most informed Fantasy staff in the industry by following us on Twitter and Facebook.
@cbsfantasynews
facebook.com/cbssportsfantasy

The Rays kind of took all the drama out of this pick by giving us a sneak peak at Hellickson last year. The results were impressive even for a prospect of his caliber. He posted a 2.05 ERA and 0.76 WHIP in four starts before Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis returned from injuries. His time in the bullpen, where he clearly doesn't belong, is the only reason his ERA finished as high as it did. His walk rate of 2.0 per nine innings is almost inconceivable for a rookie and would have ranked him in the top 10 if he had enough innings to qualify. By keeping his pitch count low, he should be able to pitch six and seven innings consistently, avoiding some of the usual pitfalls for rookies. Then again, he shouldn't have to do much on-the-job learning of any sort. Hellickson will slip into the middle rounds just because he's a rookie, but he has ace written all over him.

Sleeper ... Matt Joyce, OF

Yeah, the Rays kind of messed up Joyce's golden opportunity by signing Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez late in the offseason, but nobody really thinks they're going to meet the team's offensive needs, do they? Neither looked particularly good down the stretch, and neither is young enough to play every day. In other words, Joyce is still getting his chance, and if his trial run last year is any indication, he's ready to take advantage. If you're having trouble seeing the potential here, look beyond the .241 batting average. The guy is an OPS machine in the making. His walk rate is impressive, and he showed the power to hit 25-plus homers over a full season. The Rays have been waiting for this kind of performance from him since they acquired him for Edwin Jackson in 2008, so you can bet he's getting the nod at the lineup's first opening. If you can afford to stash him in a deeper league, you won't regret it.

Tampa Bay Rays Fantasy Outlook
Projected Lineup Pos. Projected Rotation
1 John Jaso C 1 David Price LH
2 Johnny Damon LF 2 James Shields RH
3 Ben Zobrist RF 3 Jeff Niemann RH
4 Evan Longoria 3B 4 Wade Davis RH
5 Manny Ramirez DH 5 Jeremy Hellickson RH
6 B.J. Upton CF Alt Andy Sonnanstine RH
7 Dan Johnson 1B
Bullpen Breakdown
8 Sean Rodriguez 2B CL Jake McGee LH
9 Reid Brignac SS SU Joel Peralta RH
Top bench options RP Kyle Farnsworth RH
R Matt Joyce OF RP Mike Ekstrom RH
R Kelly Shoppach C RP Adam Russell RH
Rookies/Prospects Age Pos. 2010 high Destination
1 Jeremy Hellickson 23 SP Majors Majors
Rays cleared spot for him by trading Garza to Cubs. Could challenge Price for title of staff ace.
2 Desmond Jennings 24 OF Majors Triple-A
Ramirez, Damon signings will delay him. Still considered long-term solution to Crawford's departure.
3 Jake McGee 24 RP Majors Majors
Former starting pitcher prospect was lights-out in 'pen. Will close eventually, if not right away.
4 Matt Moore 21 SP Class A Double-A
Overshadowed by Hellickson just like Hellickson was overshadowed by Price. An ace in his own right.
5 Chris Archer 22 SP Double-A Triple-A
Likely would reach majors this year if had stayed with Cubs. Still not far off after 2.34 ERA last year.
Best of the rest: Alexander Colome, SP; Alex Torres, SP; Josh Sale, OF; Jake Thompson, SP; Hak-Ju Lee, SS; Alex Cobb, SP; Brandon Guyer, OF; Cesar Ramos, RP; Justin O'Conner, C; Drew Vettleson, OF; Leslie Anderson, 1B; Tim Beckham, SS; Elliot Johnson, SS; Rob Delaney, RP; Justin Ruggiano, OF; Jose Lobaton, C; and Robinson Chirinos, C.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com . Be sure to put Team outlooks in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Report: Adam Wainwright 'should have normal offseason'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10/20/2014) Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright had his elbow examined following the team's elimination, and it checked out "optimistically," general manager John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Wainwright "should have a normal offseason," Mozeliak added.

Michael Morse to DH in World Series
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10/20/2014) Giants outfielder Michael Morse will serve as the team's designated hitter in the World Series games in Kansas City, manager Bruce Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News. Morse batted .279 with 16 homers and 61 RBI in 131 games.

He missed the NLDS with an oblique injury, but hit a tying homer in Game 5 of the NLCS.


Giants announce World Series rotation
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10/18/2014) Giants manager Bruce Bochy will maintain his current rotation for the World Series, which means Madison Bumgarner and Jake Peavy will start Games 1 and 2 in Kansas City, the San Francisco Chronicle reports Saturday. Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong will pitch Games 3 and 4 at home.

Bochy is also expected to keep veteran Tim Lincecum on the roster. Lincecum has yet to make an appearance this postseason for San Francisco.


Royals tab Shields, Ventura for World Series Games 1, 2
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/18/2014) The Royals will start pitchers James Shields in Game 1 and Yordano Ventura in Game 2 of the World Series, Yahoo! Sports reports. The Royals are making their first World Series appearance in 29 years.

Cord Phelps elects free agency
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/18/2014) Orioles infielder Cord Phelps has elected free agency. Phelps hit .259/.361/.388 with seven home runs, 51 RBI and two stolen bases in 343 at-bats with Triple-A Norfolk.

Kelvin De La Cruz elects free agency
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/18/2014) Orioles pitcher Kelvin De La Cruz has elected free agency. He delivered a 5.98 ERA and 49:31 K:BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings with Triple-A Norfolk.

Julio DePaula elects free agency
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/18/2014) Orioles pitcher Julio DePaula has elected free agency. DePaula, whose only work as a major-league game in 2007 with the Twins, posted a 4.97 ERA and 43:13 K:BB ratio in 38 innings with Double-A Bowie.

Reds pitcher Trevor Bell elects free agency
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/17/2014) Reds pitcher Trevor Bell has elected to become a free-agent.

Bell pitched just two-thirds of an inning in the majors last season due to elbow inflammation. He'll seek a deal with another club during the offseason.


Cardinals may not be able to keep Pat Neshek
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/17/2014) Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek may have to test the open market this winter, according to MLB.com.

After his performance last season, there's a sense that Neshek has priced himself out of St. Louis' bullpen. Neshek was exceptional with the club, posting a 1.87 ERA over 67 1/3 innings. The performance earned him a trip to the All-Star Game. The team will likely attempt to re-sign Neshek, but there's a sense he can get a more lucrative deal elsewhere. 


Report: Former Orioles infielder Brian Roberts to retire
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/17/2014) Former Orioles infielder Brian Roberts is set to retire, according to MASN.

Roberts played 14 seasons in the majors, all but one of which came with Baltimore. He finished out his career with the Yankees last season. Roberts was elected to two All-Star teams during his tenure in Baltimore. He finished 18th in the MVP voting in 2005 after hitting .314/.387/.515. Injuries kept him down the last few seasons of his career. Roberts suffered two concussions, which contributed to him missing time in both 2010, 2011 and 2012. 

He retires with a career .276/.347/.409 batting line over 5,531 at-bats. 


 
 
 
Rankings