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
2015 Draft Prep Guide
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
 
 
 

2014 Fantasy Outlooks: Tampa Bay Rays

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

With their usual combination of pitching and pixie dust, the Rays weaseled their way into the playoffs for the fourth time in six years in 2013.

They got a boost midseason with the promotion of Wil Myers, the hotly anticipated prospect who Fantasy owners had stashed on their benches since the outset of the season. In a rare example of the production meeting the hype, the 22-year-old hit .293 with 13 homers and an .831 OPS in 335 at-bats, giving the Rays another middle-of-the-order bat to go along with Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist.

Though the parts around them continually change, the Rays opted for continuity this offseason by bringing back first baseman James Loney, the prime beneficiary of their pixie dust last season. Though his lack of home run power buries him in the rankings, his high-contact bat could make him a sneaky source of RBI if he's the one batting behind Zobrist, Longoria and Myers. Outfielders Matt Joyce and David DeJesus are similarly flawed players who seem to have stretches of Fantasy relevance every year but won't generate much interest on Draft Day.

2014 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

If the Rays have one hitter with the skills and role to improve his standing in Fantasy, it's Desmond Jennings, the fourth-year center fielder whose career so far has been defined by injuries and inconsistency. He finished 2013 on a high note, hitting .288 with three homers, two steals, a .404 on-base percentage and a .925 OPS in 73 September at-bats and is still just beginning his prime at age 27, so you never know. He's shown the potential for more in the past, though, only to revert to being the same .250-hitting, 15-homer, 25-steal, middle-round type as always.

Ultimately, the pitching staff will have the greatest say in the team's success, and for now at least, it still has its ace in David Price, who figures to remain on the market during his second-to-last-year of team control. The Rays showed last year they could survive without workhorse James Shields, developing Alex Cobb into a top-of-the-rotation type. Maybe Matt Moore gets his lights-out stuff under control in 2014, easing Price's potential departure. First-in-line Jake Odorizzi profiles as more of a middle-of-the-rotation option, but Chris Archer, who the Rays broke in last year, offers nothing but upside. Jeremy Hellickson has potential as well but has slumped his way out of mixed-league consideration for now.

The Rays have become renowned for manufacturing closers and looked like they may go that route again before signing Grant Balfour late in the winter. He thrived in the role for Oakland the last couple years and should continue to pile up saves for a team built for low-scoring games, especially with Joel Peralta and Jake McGee setting him up.

Breakout ... Wil Myers, outfield

2014 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. David DeJesus LF
2. Ben Zobrist 2B
3. Evan Longoria 3B
4. Wil Myers RF
5. James Loney 1B
6. Desmond Jennings CF
7. Matt Joyce DH
8. Yunel Escobar SS
9. Ryan Hanigan C
Bench Logan Forsythe IF/OF
Bench Sean Rodriguez IF/OF
If Jason Heyward, Eric Hosmer, Yoenis Cespedes and Anthony Rizzo have taught us anything in recent years, it's that the best rookies don't necessarily make the best sophomores. So why call Myers a breakout here? Because more than prognostication, Fantasy Baseball is a game of perception, and if early returns are any indication, nobody's counting their chickens before they hatch with him. Domonic Brown and Heyward are just two of the outfielders going ahead of him in standard Head-to-Head leagues. Brown's breakout last year was really just one month when seemingly everything he hit went out of the park. Heyward has had so many ups and downs already that nobody really knows what to expect from him. That's not to say I'm down on either player -- both I think have elite potential in Fantasy -- but if Myers is going even later than them, the risk is already accounted for. And the reward? The last hitter the Rays brought up with as much talent as Myers was Longoria, and he's been no worse than a second-rounder ever since.

Buyer beware ... Ben Zobrist, second base/shortstop/outfield

Based on nothing more than where he finished among shortstops, you might assume Zobrist was as good as ever in 2013. But tying with Elvis Andrus for the top spot at the position (at least in Head-to-Head leagues) had more to do with what happened to everyone else there than how Zobrist himself performed. Unlike Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Reyes, Everth Cabrera, Jean Segura and anyone else who might have bumped him down a peg, Zobrist managed to stay healthy and was steady from start to finish, but his home runs and stolen bases were his fewest since he first broke through as a Fantasy mainstay in 2009. OK, so he technically had fewer homers in 2010, but only because a neck injury destroyed his numbers in the second half that year. Nothing was physically wrong with Zobrist in 2013. He just wasn't as good. And this year he turns 33, an especially advanced age for a player who spends most of his time up the middle. Zobrist's superior plate discipline should help soften the blow in Head-to-Head leagues, but he only goes down from here.

Sleeper ... Chris Archer, starting pitcher

2014 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. David Price LHP
2. Alex Cobb RHP
3. Matt Moore LHP
4. Chris Archer RHP
5. Jeremy Hellickson RHP
ALT Jake Odorizzi RHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Grant Balfour RHP
2. Joel Peralta RHP
3. Jake McGee LHP
4. Heath Bell RHP
5. Juan Carlos Oviedo RHP
With seemingly more than enough starting pitchers to go around in standard mixed leagues, Archer could get lost in the shuffle in yours. He may not have quite the pedigree of Zack Wheeler, but he had the more impressive rookie campaign of the two. As if the season-long numbers weren't impressive enough, he compiled a 2.84 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 6.9 strikeouts per nine innings over his final 16 starts. Yeah, the strikeout rate left something to be desired, but of greater note, he overcame the control issues that held him back in the minors, issuing more than two walks in only two of those 16 starts. With an average fastball velocity that would have ranked third, behind only Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg, if he had the innings to qualify, Archer clearly has the stuff for more strikeouts once he learns to make better use of his arsenal. Will he make that leap this year? Hard to say. But even just sticking to the status quo, he's a top 40 starting pitcher with a top 80 price tag.

Prospects Report

In addition to Odorizzi, the Rays could turn to Alex Colome, Enny Romero or Mike Montgomery in the starting rotation should a need rise midseason. All three have their warts, but all three are good enough to hold down a rotation spot someday, whether for the Rays or someone else. Colome is probably first in line, with Romero offering the most promise, but don't overlook Montgomery because of his numbers. The former top prospect in the Royals system showed signs of overcoming his control issues in the Arizona Fall League ... Hak-Ju Lee might already be pushing Yunel Escobar if he hadn't torn up his knee last April, costing him the rest of the season. Speed is an important element of his game, but if he's able to regain it, he has the potential to become a Shane Victorino of the middle infield, piling up extra-base hits and stolen bases. He could get his first taste of the majors in the second half ... Taylor Guerrieri offers top-of-the-rotation potential but has had trouble keeping clean, testing positive for a drug of abuse in September, and is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. Think high-risk, high-reward for this 21-year-old.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite .

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
Cardinals call up Mitch Harris option Greg Garcia
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:52 am ET) The Cardinals recalled Mitch Harris from Triple-A Memphis before Saturday's game. 

Harris had a 4.00 ERA and two saves in nine appearances at Memphis. He's appeared in 16 games with the Cardinals earlier this season, going 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA. 

To make room on the roster, the team optioned infielder Greg Garcia to Memphis. Garcia hit .417 with a home run in 10 games with the Cardinals.


Cardinals shuffle lineup prior to Saturday's matchup
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(11:52 am ET) The Cardinals tweaked their lineup prior to Saturday's game against the Padres.

Second baseman Kolten Wong, who has hit from the leadoff spot 39 times this season, will hit from the sixth spot. Replacing Wong at the top of the lineup is center fielder Thomas Pham.

Wong is hitting .314 with four double and six RBI over his last nine games. Pham was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Friday and went 0 for 3 during his debut.


Astros LF Colby Rasmus in lineup for first time since June 27
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(11:34 am ET) Astros left fielder Colby Rasmus will be in the lineup on Saturday against the Red Sox.

Rasmus is returning to the lineup -- where he will bat sixth -- for the first time since June 27. He has been dealing with a lingering skin infection that has kept him out of play. 

Rasmus is hitting .247 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI in 194 at-bats this season.


Rays call up Everett Teaford, option down C.J. Riefenhauser
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:20 am ET) The Rays selected the contract of pitcher Everett Teaford from Triple-A Durham on Sunday. 

Teaford is 4-6 with a 5.56 ERA in 13 starts at Durham. He gave up a run in 2 1/3 innings in his previous appearance for the Rays this year. 

To make room, the Rays optioned pitcher C.J. Riefenhauser to Triple-A. He was 1-0 with a 9.95 ERA in six relief appearances with the Rays. 

The Rays also designated first baseman/outfielder Marc Krauss for assignment, opening a spot on the 40-man roster. Krauss was acquired in a trade with the Angels on June 25. He was 1 for 10 with seven strikeouts in four games with the Rays. 


Rays RF Steven Souza returns to lineup Saturday
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(11:10 am ET) Rays right fielder Steven Souza is in the lineup for Saturday's matchup against division-rivals Yankees.

Souza had not started a game since Wednesday, but has played in pinch-hit opportunities over the past few days.

For the season, Souza is hitting .208 with 14 home runs and 31 RBI in 264 at-bats.


Yankees C Brian McCann out of lineup Saturday
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:58 am ET) One day removed from hitting a walk-off home run, Yankees catcher Brian McCann is out of the lineup against the Rays on Saturday. 

McCann will have the day off after hitting a three-run blast that won the game versus the Rays on Friday night in the 12th inning.

McCann will be replaced by John Ryan Murphy in the lineup.


Yankees LF Ramon Flores to start Saturday against Rays
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:45 am ET) Yankees left fielder Ramon Flores will start on Saturday against the Rays.

Flores, who was recalled from Triple-A on Friday, will hit from the sixth spot in the lineup.

Flores is hitting .241 in 29 at-bats with the Yankees this season.


Fresh off the DL, Red Sox RF Shane Victorino to start Saturday
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:16 am ET) Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino will be in the starting lineup on Saturday against the Astros.

Victorino was activated from the 15-day disabled list before Friday's game against Houston but did not play. He was sidelined with a hamstring injury and has not played since May 23.

In just 55 at-bats this season, Victorino is hitting .255 with one home run and three RBI.


Tigers' Alex Avila to start at first base Saturday
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:05 am ET) Alex Avila will start at first base for the Tigers for only the third time in his career on Saturday against the Blue Jays.

Avila is filling the void left by first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a calf strain on Saturday. Avila has only played out of the catcher position this season, where he has started 21 games to date.

Avila is hitting .194 with two home runs and eight RBI in 62 at-bats this season.


Tigers purchase contract of INF Jefry Marte to fill void
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(9:55 am ET) With first baseman Miguel Cabrera on the 15-day disabled list, the Tigers have purchased the contract of infielder Jefry Marte from Triple-A Toledo to help fill the void Cabrera will leave, the team announced via Twitter.

The 24-year-old Marte was hitting .271 with 13 home runs and 55 RBI in 288 at-bats in Triple-A this season.


 
 
 
Rankings