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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.

Favorite baseball read – Tom Tango’s The Book blog. Favorite book – It Ain’t Cheating If You Don’t Get Caught by Dan Gutman

From Around The Web

  1. 2 Giant rings says:
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    There is a push amongst Devil Rays fans to force the removal of the word HELL from Jeremy Hellickson’s last name.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @2 Giant rings: Mediocreckson doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @2 Giant rings: nice…someone’s been paying attention :)

  2. Wake Up says:
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    Any update on when Will Rhymes’ album will be dropping?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Wake Up: ha!

      he could call it My Beautiful Dark Twisted Hair

      • Wake Up says:
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        @Mike: nice…

        My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Baseball…

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          @Wake Up: haha good one

  3. Spammer Jay says:
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    My fave baseball read is Razzball.

  4. Brian says:
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    Torn onWil Myers as a keeper. Five keepers, him or Billy Hamilton? I mean, what’s a guy to do here?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Brian: I’d go with Myers

  5. Brian says:
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    Hey Mike great read. Wondering what your thoughts are on Longoria and Jennings?

    I saw Grey’s projections for both- just wanted to see if you had anything to add.

    Longoria was serviceable in the second half, but far from an elite top 10/20 guy. I was on board thinking last year was finally “the year” and it wasn’t (not that he was a bust either, just not what I paid for). My thought is he’s going to still be drafted around 15 in a snake format, and around $35-$40 in my auction league (12-team standard 5×5, $260 budget). My gut tells me there’s not enough fire power around him to get him back over 100 RBI or runs, and he doesn’t seem to be a threat to hit .300 anymore. What say you? Buying in again?

    For Jennings, he had that great breakthrough second half when he came up, but has been a serviceable 4th OF since. Gets you steals and a little pop, but his average doesn’t help and he doesn’t score runs like a lead off guy with his skill set should. Maybe it’s just an indictment on the Rays offense- think there’s any chance he gets to 95-100 runs? He seems to be one of those guys who gets labeled as undervalued by experts but always ends up getting drafted high based on his perceived potential/high ceiling. Dors everything click for him this year? If he starts slow, are the Rays going to be quick dropping him in the order?

    Any expanded thoughts on what Grey already offered in his rankings would be much appreciated!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Brian: thanks Brian… Good questions.

      Maybe it’s oversimplifying it, but I think Longoria has a better chance of earning $30-35 in value than Jennings does of earning $15-20. You are right in that people will continue to pay for what Jennings could/should do, but undervalued isn’t how I would approach him since he hasn’t really shown any reasons to think a big breakout is coming. To put it another way, I’d rather put my dollars in Longoria’s floor than bet on Jennings’ ceiling.

    • bossmanjunior says:
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      @Brian:

      Remember too that Longoria dealt with plantar faciitis the entire year last year yet still played in 160 games. With a full offseason of rest, there stands a good chance he puts that injury behind him and comes back stronger next year. Longoria also saw a spike in k% last year, possibly due to the injury, and at the end of the year swore he would improve that facet of his game. Lastly, Longoria has a terrible month long stretch that negatively scewed his overall numbers. wOBA by month: .384, .382, .407, .276, .357, .353.

      Jennings is an example of a player who carries more value in real life, primarily due to his defense. The problem for projecting runs for Jennings is where he bats in the line up. In the second half of the season, Jennings only batted lead off versus LHP while DeJesus hit lead off versus RHP. Unless Jennings gets off to a hot start, I expect to see more of the same next year. Jennings may not have much more upside left, but there is room for growth.

      Lastly, don’t sleep on the Rays offense. They were surprisingly a top 10 offense last year, with much of their value coming from walks and aggressive in baserunning. Even as so, they were actually top 10 in HR as well. With a full season of Myers and Hannigan, it could be even better. Unfortunately they had some bad luck last year manufacturing runs and were very streaky.

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