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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL AROUND THE CAMPS: TAMPA BAY RAYS

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We remain in the AL East today as we continue our tour around all 30 major league ballparks by looking at the teams from a closer fantasy baseball ankle.  Today we bring you the always underrated Tampa Bay Rays who continue to preach speed and pitching.  Here are five key questions and the sleepers and busts from the Rays roster.

1.  Is it too early to call Wil Myers an outfielder 1 in fantasy baseball terms?
A bit early but Myers could certainly graduate to that plateau in 2014 so vast is his potential.  Power is the name of the game when it comes to Myers who cracked 13 home runs with the Rays in only 335 at-bats.  Myers has a naturally powerful swing that reminds me of Cincinnati's Jay Bruce and 30 home runs is entirely possible this season and eventually a run at 40.  Let's not get too ahead of ourselves yet though as Myers could face somewhat of a sophomore learning curve as many hitters do early on.  What we can say for certain is that the home runs and RBI will be there and Myers will post a solid average as well, although not likely repeating the .293 from last season due to his high K rate.  In addition there is a big of speed here as well as Myers can swipe around 10 bags or so which is a bonus.  Right now Myers is a middle of the pack outfielder 2 in fantasy baseball but like I said earlier the upside to be a 1 is there.

2.  David Price is surprisingly still a Ray and is coming off a 2013 season where he got hurt and lost velocity.  Risky investment?
Price was certainly a sizable letdown in the first half of last season as he hit the DL and was hit hard when on the mound to the tune of horrific ERA's over five each of the first two months.  However once Price returned to the mound he was money as he pitched to a tiny 2.87 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in the second half.  Concerning though is the fact Price's velocity was down all season as he had his worst K rate since turning a pro.  Price has thrown a lot of innings at a young age which makes me worried that his arm has lost some pop and since he still remains in the AL East for now, that has me leery of making an investment since guys like Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke are all safer choices and who have generally the same draft price.  Price also is likely to be traded at some point and we have no idea where that will be which adds more volatility to the equation.

3.  You are in love with Alex Cobb aren't you? 
He had me at hello.  Insider subscribers know that I picked Cobb as my darkhorse 2014 American League Cy Young winner and for good reason.  Cobb was in the midst of an ace-like fantasy baseball season until taking a liner off his skull in a horrific batted ball incident.  That put Cobb on the DL for two months which helped dull the excitement over how great he was when healthy.  Overall Cobb pitched 2.76 ERA and 1.15 WHIP while showing his best K rate ever in striking out 134 batters in only 144.1 innings.  The cheaper than it should draft price makes Cobb a terrific investment as you can the cost for an SP 3 while possibly getting a 1. 

4.  On the flip side your love doesn't extend to Matt Moore huh?
Absolutely not.  First of all throw out the 17 wins last season as Moore had one of the highest rates of run support as any pitcher in the game.  Also Moore's control remains horrible which leads to an inflated WHIP and shorter outings than he is capable of.  In addition Moore has a history of elbow trouble as it flare dup once again last season.  There is a ton of red flags here which makes Moore a guy you want to avoid.

5.  Will Desmond Jennings ever take that next step?
It is staring to not look like it.  Jennings is doing his best B.J. Upton Tampa Bay Rays 2.0 impression with his low averages and solid power/speed numbers.  Now 27 years old, Jennings is right on the cusp of settling into his current level of production which is good but not great and certainly not what was expected when he first arrived on the scene.  Strikeouts have continually been an issue and Jennings even saw a drop in his stolen base efficiency last season which is a concern.  Overall we are looking at around 10-15 home runs and 30 steals which is no doubt useful but only in a low end outfielder 2 way.  Stop waiting for the breakout and price him for who he is at this stage.

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