Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rays Fantasy Value

- “So, what do you do for work?”
- “Oh, I manage a baseball team”
- “ Little League?”
- “Nah…..fantasy”

Instead of the typical midseason report card, let’s take a look at the Tampa Bay Rays and their value to your fantasy baseball team. This review will be based on a standard head-to-head league with 5 position categories and 5 pitching categories. The categories are as follows: .Avg/Hits, RBI, HR, steals, runs, wins, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, and saves.


1B - Carlos Pena - If you manage your team well, ‘Los can be quite an asset to your team. Clearly he is not going to win you the average and steals categories, but he gets on base a lot and hits home runs. Both of these will lead to RBIs and runs, which makes Pena a very solid player for 3 of 5 categories. He is currently 2nd in home runs and runs scored to the machine that is Albert Pujols.

2B - Ben Zobrist - What can’t Zorilla do? For a second baseman, the answer is not much. Zorilla hits for average and power, and has surprising speed with 11 steals. His 17 homers are 2nd at the position and his 52 RBI are only 9 behind Chase Utley for the most at 2nd base. Zobrist has been one of the best waiver wire pickups all year.

3B - Evan Longoria - Longo was arguably the MVP of fantasy through the month of May. He has since cooled off from his torrid pace, but is still one of the top 3 third basemen in the game. His 68 RBI are the most of anyone at his position, and his 17 home runs rank 6th. Longoria isn’t worth much in terms of steals, and his average and runs scored don’t jump off the page, but in terms of overall well-rounded value it doesn’t get much better then Evan.

SS - Jason Bartlett - With career highs of 5 home runs, 43 RBIs, and 23 steals, you would not expect to see Jason Bartlett being drafted anywhere in the top 20 rounds or so. Clearly, you were all mistaken. JB has already surpassed his career high in long balls with 8 in the first half of the season, and is just 5 RBI short of his career high. Oh yea, he is also 3rd in the league in batting average (we added those hand full of at-bats he needs to qualify). Bartlett has established himself as a top 5 fantasy shortstop for the first half, and there is not reason he can’t keep it up in the second half.

OF - B.J. Upton - Upton was one of those him as a top OF. He is a 5 category threat, and even with a slow start he ranks at the players that you drafted very high, then spent the next 2 months trying to convince yourself not to drop or trade him. After a terrible start, Upton is starting to become the player everyone had hoped for when they drafted him as a top outfielder. Most of Upton’s value comes from steals and runs, but he is starting to get his swing back and should be a threat for average and home runs as the season goes on.

OF - Carl Crawford - Crawford has been everything and more for fantasy owners so far this season. He is hitting over .300, leads all of baseball in steals, and is top 5 in runs scored. You can’t expect too many home runs from CC, but that’s not why you draft him. His overall value is unmatched by any one outfielder except for his neighbor in the field, BJ (when he plays to his potential).

OF - Gabe Grosslsar - Gross and Kapler are great role players for Joe Maddon’s style of baseball. Unfortunately, Maddon is most likely not the manager of your fantasy squad. Unless you are in a deep AL only league, these guys have no business being on your team right now.

C - Dioner Navarro - Hitting in the low .200’s, last in home runs by a regular catcher, few RBIs and too fat to steal. I can justify having Navi as your catcher this year if you are in a 30 team league.


SP - James Shields - Shields has been the recipient of absolutely horrible run support this year. He should have 10 wins on the season, but has to settle for 6 instead. Even so, his ERA is very repectable at 2.42 and he is close to 100 strikeouts. He walks very few batters, which is great for his WHIP. Overall, Shields is a solid #2 guy on your fantasy staff.

SP - Matt Garza - Garza started off great, but has since looked very shaky. His ERA is starting to creep towards 4, but his 100+ strikeouts give him good value as a # 2-3 starter. He should definitely be owned, but if he doesn’t start to show the stuff he had earlier in the season, you may want to start playing him on a matchup basis.

SP - Scott Kazmir - Let’s give Kazmir a compliment sandwich, where we say something good, then something not so good, and then another something good. Kazmir has the ability to strike out any batter he wants to. He sucks and doesn’t want to, he would rather walk them then give up a home run. He has nice hair. That’s as nice as I can be for now.

RP - Howell/Balfour/Wheeler/Chadford/Chode/Nelson - Of these guys, the only one that should really be owned is Howell. He is starting to see more save opportunities, and is giving up very few runs. He could be a top 15 closer the rest of the year. Unless you are in a deep league or a league that counts holds, the other guys are basically worthless.

Just for fun, I decided to add up the Rays normal position players’ stats to see where I would rank in my own fantasy league for each category. We will include Howell and Choate as the closers since they have the most saves on the team.

Runs - 393 - 10/10
Hits - 651 - 10/10
RBI - 387 - 8/10
HR - 98 - 9/10
Steals - 121 - 1/10

Wins - 35 - 10/10
Losses ( instead of WHIP in my league) 34 - 6/10
Saves: hard to judge because the rays use so many relievers, still safe to say it would be dead last.
ERA - 4.15 - 9/10
K - 456 - 10/10

Okay so I thought that would be closer then it actually was. Bottom line, it’s called fantasy baseball for a reason. Don’t draft every player from a single team.

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