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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Rays Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Jason Collette from The Process Report.

1) Matt Moore was a super sexy pitcher pick up for fantasy purposes in last year’s draft and left most of his owners disappointed.  Is there any chance at a rebound for him and what are your expectations in terms of production from him for 2013?

Absolutely. Compare Moore in 2012 to Price in 2009. Both had same can’t miss labels on draft day and people overpaid for both at drafts and were annoyed at the end result. Both had bad 1st halves but turned corners in the second half. Moore had a 3.01 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in the second half and got his gopheritis under control allowing just five homers in 78 innings after serving up 13 in his first 100. The Rays tend to tweak pitchers in year two as they introduce the cut fastball as they did with Shields, Davis, Price, and Hellickson in previous seasons. It isn’t a smooth transition (go revisit Hellickson’s early season numbers) but every starter gets the pitch added to their repertoire and I’d expect Moore to get it this year in some capacity. That said, I firmly believe Moore earns at least $20 in 2013 in AL-Only formats.

2) Wil Myers.  I’m excited.  You’re excited.  Grey is downright giddy as you can see from his 2013 Wil Myers fantasy write-up.  But that, of course, is not the question.  What we’d like to know is, when will Myers be in the Rays outfield for 2013 and what are your expectations?

Unless he signs a Longoria 2008 type deal, he should start looking for apartments in Durham, NC right now. The Rays will never burn the extra year of service time on him because the long term future is more important than the short term results. It is very easy to make the case for him on the current depth chart, but if he will be as good as they hope he will be, calling him up too early in 2013 will be quite costly down the line. I feel Grey’s power predictions are a bit aggressive while his runs/rbi are too conservative. Myers has the pop, but Tropicana Field is, for all intents and purposes, Petco Park with a permanent roof.

3) Desmond Jennings was another hyped draft pick in 2012 and though he didn’t exactly kill his fantasy owners, his final line of 13/31 with a .245 average wasn’t what many had in mind.  With all that said, can we expect a bigger year from Desmond and will he be a value pick in the 2013 fantasy draft?

He didn’t have the minor league statistical track record to justify his 2012 ADP/$ and people paid the price for paying for the talent and not the results. Jennings has issues in the strike zone, specifically, with high fastballs. He treats those high fastballs like a college guy trying to score with the hottest chick at the party. He’ll keep swinging for the fences on that pitch with undesirable outcomes but every 50th one, he connects and crushes it and falls back into the same cycle. It is something that was there all throughout 2012, and it then sets him up to pull off hard breaking balls on the outside. He is a terrific baserunner but he gives away at bats with some correctable issues at the plate.

4) As always, the Rays have great pitching and great defense coming into 2013.  However, if Cobb or Niemann struggle or one of their main starters gets hurt, who is the first name the Rays will call on to fill the void and will he be a fantasy-worthy pickup?

Even after moving Shields and Davis, the Rays still have a logjam in the rotation. Price, Hellickson, Moore, Cobb, Niemann, and Archer are all still present. Archer has the options to be sent back down but he’s showed he’s ready to pitch at the majors. If he gets sent back to Durham, he’s the guy. I have my doubts that all 6 guys remain with the team through camp though and that’s not even factoring in what the team will do with Roberto Hernandez-Carmona. If they do move someone, and something else happens, Alex Torres would be the next guy in line.

5) If you were given a copy of the Tampa Bay Times from the future…ok the not too distant future of October of 2013, what would be the likeliest Rays-related thing you’d see?
A) Tampa Bay makes it to the World Series
B) Ryan Roberts gets a tattoo of a tattoo on his tattoo and names it tattoo-ception to beat an already beleaguered joke to death
C) James Loney hits well over .300 for the year (ooooh, pick this one and further fuel my bet with Grey.  I’ll be your friend forever!  Conversely, if you don’t want to be BFF, I’ll promise to never bug you again if you agree).
D) Joe Maddon reveals he’s actually Gene Hackman and he drew all his inspirational coaching style from playing Jimmy McGinty in ‘The Replacements’
E) Longoria plays in over 150 games and hits over 30 HRs on the season.
F) The Rays send a public apology letter to the Royals for scamming them so badly with that Myers/Shields trade that ends with ‘but no take backs!’

C – easily. If the team can turn Casey Kotchman into a respectable hitter for a single season, make Jeff Keppinger look like Ty Cobb at times, certainly they can peel the layers back off the James Loney onion and find some of that talent from earlier parts of his career. He had a lot of success as recently as the final two months of the 2012 season and the Rays are the type of team that will play the matchups and not force feed him lefties like my grandma fed me castor oil in order to fix what ails him.

36 Responses

  1. costaricanchata says:
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    this is a great interview … both questions and answers … with one exception ,
    Razzballers know that there is no “c” .

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Is this like the Matrix? There is no spoon?

  2. The Machine says:
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    How come there isnt the same kind of hype, that Moore had last season, swirling around Matt Harvey?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Harvey plays on a lesser team in terms of chances for wins. Couple that with organizational success with developing young talent that the Rays are known for, Harvey gets a bit less hype. Of course, you know we like Matt Harvey here at Razzball:

      http://razzball.com/matt-harvey-2013-fantasy-outlook/

  3. OaktownSteve says:
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    Not a fantasy comment, but I think the Rays will win the AL East this year. I know Jays are the pick, but I am just not sure the whole will but I can see where it could go wrong. Bautista wrist keeps him from getting to 2010-11 levels, Melky is not the same off the stuff, Rasmus is iff, Encarnacion fails to get back to last year’s breakout, Lawrie is meh, Izturas, Arrencibia, Lind don’t scare anybody. Johnson hurt, Morrow hurt, Romero’s last year is who he is, Dickey suffers from league and park change. Lot could go wrong.

    Meanwhile the Rays, as mentioned here are so deep in their rotation and Madden is such a good manager. I think a lot will hinge on Longoria’s health and Moore’s progress. Put those pieces together and get them playing Rays ball and I think they are dangerous.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      The fact they didn’t make the playoffs last year is a travesty. +120 runs differential (third best in majors) and the Orioles at +7 (MIL, AZ, LAD, LAA all above 40 and miss the playoffs) get in…the fact the Orioles were in the negative in that dept as late as Sept is ridiculous. Bad luck Rays in 2012, better luck Rays in 2013. I’m with you: Rays are battle-tested and have been there before. Even if everyone in Toronto works out, it doesn’t mean come September they’ll know how to handle it.

    • costaricanchata says:
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      @OaktownSteve:

      ok .
      you call him maddon … i call him magoo … lord knows who he is going
      to anoint as closer this year … hasn’t had a repeater since when ??

      and , how about this ==> even out of the 8 or 9 hole , bonifacio scores 111 runs .
      could happen .

      • OaktownSteve says:
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        @costaricanchata:

        Why does it matter who he puts in the closer role. Whoever it is seems to get the job done. Jays are better on paper but the game is played on grass and sometimes plastic grass.

      • JFat says:
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        @costaricanchata: Closer will be Rodney easy unless he gets hurt, Farnsworth would have stayed closer last year if he didn’t have arm issues. It isn’t maddon that changes it yearly it is economics or injury. Oaktown is just pointing to the rays consistency and chemistry, Miami was supposed to have a power house last year with a lot of the same players and it didn’t pan out so well.

        Like the article a lot

      • bossmanjunior says:
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        @costaricanchata:

        I would say its even “crazier” to keep throwing the same guy out there because he has the closer “label” regardless of his effectiveness. Established, effective closers are expensive and there are very few of them. Its not like this method hasn’t worked for the Rays.

        I would say its probably statically impossible for any hitter, even Mike Trout, to score 111 runs out of the 8 or 9 hole. Izturis should be playing over Bonefacio anyways.

  4. bossmanjunior says:
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    Why couldn’t you get Collette guy from draysbay? He would have been a better interview over this other hack!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      There are only about 5 Rays fans in the US and they all suggested I go with Jason.

      • bossmanjunior says:
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        @@Sky: Sky</a

        Correction, there are only 5 fans left at draysbay.

        Much love for by boy Collette, media darling.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Ha, I figured…Yeah, he just emailed me to change that link. was DRays for most of the morning.

    • @bossmanjunior: was hoping they’d get that Cason Jollette guy.

      I’m glad you guys asked me back

      • bossmanjunior says:
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        @Jason Collette:

        haha I should have gone with Cason Jollette. Good times. Really enjoying having the process report and dock of the rays back at full strength. Good stuff as always, Jason. I’m doing my best as the resident “Rays guy” around here.

          • bossmanjunior says:
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            @Jason Collette:

            Please, please, please get sternfan1 on the podcast. My dream is a sternfan and joeyw podcast one day.

  5. bossmanjunior says:
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    Rays I’m targeting:

    Longoria: If I can get Longoria in the 3rd or late the 2nd, the reward outweighs the risk.

    Moore: sitting right around 90, good value there.

    Zobrist: adp has him around 80ish on yahoo, even.with shortstop eligibility

    Jennings: adp around 90 seems much more reasonable than a 4th round pick last year.

    Joyce: good bench bat crushes rhp you can snag real late in a deep league. Does most of his damage the first two months of the season.

    Cobb: Sky agrees with me here, could be a nice safe pick with upside late in the draft.

    Myers and Archer: I’m ignoring them on draft day, but could be key pickup off the waiver when they’re called up.

    Scott: if fully healthy this year, could be a hottest bat to ride off waiver during the year.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Totally with you here.

      • bossmanjunior says:
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        @Sky:

        I’m in love with Rutledge as the next guy, but I’m Zobrist is sitting there in the 9th, I’m going to have a hard time passing that up.

        Its probably clear, but I’ll be passing on Price, Rodney, and Hellickson.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          I’d be surprised if Zobrist slipped that far but I hear ya. I think he went in the 4th or 5th of the Razzball Slow Mock we’re doing on twitter right now. He was the one guy I was willing to target that high for 2B but he was gone by my turn.

          Yeah, same boat for me. Though I think Hellickson’s xFIP ‘luck’ can be somewhat attributed to the Rays and their defensive philosophy, overall there’s not enough upside to warrant the attention he gets. He’s a pass when his number gets called. Closers are closers and Price is…uh priced too high for me. Plenty of arms in the draft sea, no reason to pay that much.

          • bossmanjunior says:
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            @Sky:

            Price doesn’t offer enough strikeouts for me to take him that high, even if I did draft pitchers that high, which I don’t.

            They had a good piece on Fangraphs talking about edge%, a relatively new metric. Basically quantifies the percentage of strikes a pitcher throws on the edge of the strikezone, versus over the plate. Hellickson was one of tops according to this statistic. This would explain why he induces such weak contact without inflating his babip.

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              My first pitcher in the mock came in round 5 with Cliff Lee. I could’ve waited longer for pitching but felt he was the best value on the board at the time.

              Ah, interesting. So he’s taking the Tom Glavine approach. Nothing wrong with that but yeah, nothing I want to buy into either.

              • bossmanjunior says:
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                @Sky:

                Yeah those guys will never be fantasy stars but are capable of giving you good stability in the era/whip/win categories. Some pitchers are able to induce a lot of weak contact without racking up the strikeouts. This is the case for most fip beaters and very few (think Matt Cain) are able to take a step forward with the strikeouts. The difference being he has a plus fastball, while most of these other pitchers are around 90 and are masters of changing speeds.

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  True dat. Yep, those are the guys I never target in the drafts unless they’re late round end of staff types. Because of the ratios, they always go higher than I’m willing to spend on them.

                  • bossmanjunior says:
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                    @Sky:

                    That’s why its ridiculous Weaver is going as an “ace” in most drafts. The drop in velocity, injury concerns, and average k rate are enough red flags to stay away. Statistically, he should be in the Hellickson category.

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Oh no doubt. Where he went in the #razzballmock shocked me. Totally an in name only Ace purchase. He’s an afterthought for me on draft day and has been for a while

  6. Big Magoo says:
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    Looks like that closer run didn’t happen just yet, eh? Better to be a round early than a round late, though. What’s up next, ONC? A speed MI like Alcides? A sagnof OF like de Aza? A fourth starter like Garza/Beckett/Minor/Burnett? Or are you jumping on Ackley?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @Big Magoo: Right now, I’m looking Minor and if he’s not there, Alcides. Don’t really like the other guys. Would like Garza if he weren’t dealing with injury woes. Ackley can wait just a bit longer. My 5th OF if everything plays out is either Cain/De Aza/Revere and my UTIL if I can make it happen is Chris Carter. Think he’s 30 HRs if he gets enough ABs.

      • Big Magoo says:
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        @Sky: I agree with passing on Ackley for now. You’d be giving up value elsewhere. I’d probably go Alcides over Minor though. I think the dropoff after him is steeper than from Minor to some of those other guys I mentioned. I like de Aza too, but Cain/Revere/Marte/Eaton are similar enough if you miss out on him. Oh, I forgot Cuddyer – is he still available? Think he has good value this year.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          @Big Magoo: Surprisingly, yes. I’ve been looking at him contemplating. I’m needing speed, makes it hard to dive in as my 5th OF but I agree he’s a great value right now.

          Alright nabbed Minor. I have a pick in 8. I’d be surprised if Escobar is gone since the RP run didn’t happen. He’s my choice at the turn and if he’s not there, I think I am gonna go with good ‘ole Cuddy.

          • Big Magoo says:
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            @Sky: Sounds like a good plan. I forgot that you drafted Cruz as your #4 outfielder. Either Escobar or Cuddyer would be a solid pick. If they’re both gone, who would you go with? Under the RCL rules, I think that a high-end closer is more valuable than a starter outside of the top-30 or so, due to the games started limit. Something to think about…

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              Yeah, agree. I only went with Nelson because he’d fallen so far and is capable of 30/10. Hard to knock that in the 11th where everyone else was taking 20-25/0 types.

              If both guys are gone, I’ll probably take another closer to get this freaking RP firesale started and start zagging back to my needs. Love the idea of Frieri but I’m not gonna fight the value at this point with the other closers still out there and my team almost already built. Then I have to get serious about Ackley. I have the back end of my rotation set to target later anyways. I like my 4 of Lee/Latos/Morrow/Minor. Some of my late likes such as Gee and Cobb probably aren’t on most people’s radars anyways. I want Estrada bad, hopefully he falls to me. Bugged Grey about him all last year. If he were in a better home park, he’d scare less people. Love his K:BB ratio.

              • Big Magoo says:
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                @Sky: Yeah, I like Estrada too – I just don’t think that he has the upside that others see. The closers have fallen to the point where they’ve become undervalued, I think. I’d be hard-pressed to pass on Nathan if he’s still there unless Escobar is still on the board. If you’re hell-bent on Frieri, just wait a few rounds. There’s no reason to grab him now with the bounty of closers still available.

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  His k/9 is ridiculously good. Hard to resist…

                  Totally agree, it’s probably the strategy

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