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Sunday, February 15, 2015

2015 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: STEVEN SOUZA OUTFIELDER TAMPA BAY RAYS

The 2015 fantasy baseball season has already begun for some which makes it all the more imperative to continue taking a look at some of the prime sleepers left that we haven't already discussed.  One guy that has not gotten hardly any attention but who should as the season draws near is Tampa Bay Rays 25-year-old outfielder Steven Souza Jr.?  Who?  Exactly.  Many surely are asking that question as Souza is pretty much known for making a spectacular catch in the season finale last year in his 21-game rookie campaign with the Washington Nationals where he was the team's third round pick in 2007.  Souza was the key piece for the Rays in being part of the three-team trade that was highlighted by the San Diego Padres getting Wil Myers.  The Rays plan on the multi-talented Souza being their everyday leftfielder which means on opportunity alone the kid has appeal.  Despite taking some time to make it to the major leagues, Souza has skills that translate well to fantasy baseball if he can in fact adjust quickly enough to the better caliber of pitching he will see on an everyday basis.  So with little to nothing to go on when it comes to major league performance, we have to go back to the farm and take a look at what Souza did in his 2014 season at Triple-A.  It was here where Souza strongly hinted that he was ready for prime time as he batted a ridiculous .350 with 18 home runs and 26 stolen bases.  Even going back to Double-A in 2013, Souza batted .300 with 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases.  So as you can see Souza has the goods to be a power/speed/help and it is that combination that we all fight over each other for when it comes to the draft.  We don't include Souza as an average help yet due to the fact that despite the string of .300 marks in the minors, his K rate was pretty unsightly at times, hovering at 18 and 23 percent during those noted seasons.  Strikeouts will likely be an issue in 2015 but Souza has the speed to beat the BABIP curve to give himself a chance at .280.  Think Carlos Gomez here but at a lower level obviously since the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder is a standout player. 

When you put things all together, Steven Souza has terrific appeal as a cheap late round grab who can put up some nice power/speed numbers on a Tampa Bay team desperate for some help in their lineup.  We won't go overboard here predicting stardom but the tools are there for Souza to put his name on the fantasy baseball map. 

2015 PROJECTION:  .277 14 HR 57 RBI 73 R 25 SB

 

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