Hey, don’t forget to check out the 2014 Razzball Reader Survey! Help us help you!
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 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Rays Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Jason Collette from The Process Report.
1) Wil Myers was impressive in his 2013 debut hitting .293/.354/.478 with 13 home runs and 5 steals in just 88 games. What do you think fantasy owners should expect from him in his sophomore season?
Myers hit .294/.368/.506 in the second half of the season as he stopped swinging at everything as he did when he was called up. Better selectivity led to more power, and there was a stretch in July where he saved the season for the team. Put me down for .280, 25 HRs, 90 RBI, 85 runs scored, and 5 steals.
2) As usual, the Rays come into the 2014 season with a talented young starting rotation. Which starter do you think will take the biggest step forward this year and why?
As the rotation stands now, Chris Archer would be that guy, unless you’ll allow me to say Jeremy Hellickson will retake the two steps he took backwards last year. Archer turned a corner last year and has the talent and smarts to keep that going. If Jake Odorizzi gets a spot with a trade of David Price, then he gets the title by default because he has a bigger gap between his current status and his ceiling.
3) The Rays signed James Loney to a 3-year deal this offseason. While he doesn’t have the power fantasy owners might crave in their first baseman, do you see Loney having value in standard 5×5 fantasy leagues in 2014?
The Rays don’t care if Loney hits for power. They encourage him to use all parts of the field and do what he can to drive in runs. The good thing about him is he is incredibly stable in that he rakes righties, and typically struggles vs lefties. His numbers last year weren’t as much flukish as the fact he hit lefties for the first time in a long time. He can hit .285 with 12-15 homers, drive in 70, and score 60. Low end value in standard 5×5/12 leagues.
4) With several viable options in their bullpen, why do you think the Rays went after Heath Bell?
Heath Bell can be fixed. If this staff can make Troy Percival, Kyle Farnsworth, and Fernando Rodney valuable, they can clean up Heath Bell as well. Bell improved his K% last season while halving his BB%, but the ballpark he pitched in did him no favors. Flyballs die in Tropicana Field unless they’re pulled, so that will help. Bell can throw his fastball for a high percentage of strikes; some sequencing and a nice dose of pitch framing from Molina & Hanigan will help.
5) The Extra 2% is one of my favorite baseball reads. It’s an inside look at the business of Rays baseball and how the organization got turned around. Which Ray will provide fantasy owners with the most bang for their buck in 2014, and what’s your favorite baseball read?
Ryan Hanigan is coming off a very down year due to injury. He his a better hitter than that, and knows how to get on base. There’s value there as a second catcher in mixed leagues if you like to go cheap with your second catcher spot. Also, buy Hellickson on a bounceback buy. His struggles came from poor mechanics out of the stretch and that is very fixable.